Cumbria Music Service

This month we're featuring Taran - a young Cumbrian fiddler, currently studying Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

What instruments do you play? I play fiddle and I sing. I used to play mandolin, bouzouki and guitar too but I’m a little out of practice! How and when did you first become interested in music? I’ve been going to music festivals with my parents for as long as I can remember, and we always had an eclectic mix of music on at home. From listening to 70s prog rock with my dad to acoustic singer-songwriters and musicals with my mum I had a very varied musical education. When I was 7 we all had to pick an instrument to learn in school, so I picked fiddle and then loved it so much I carried on with it! I used to go to the Folkworks summer schools in Durham and having the opportunity to be taught by so many professional fiddle players really inspired me to become the fiddle player I am. What’s the best thing about being a musician? I’ve always loved making music with other people. I get a real sense of connection with the other musicians I play with, and it’s not a feeling you can get anywhere else. I also learn so much every day from everyone I play with, I think in this job you never stop learning and developing, it’s amazing to be able to improve every day and now when I listen back to recordings of me even a few months ago, I can hear how much I’ve changed in such a short time. What’s your most memorable musical experience? There’s so many! From playing at the Newcastle torch relay ceremony and as part of the BT River of Music Festival in 2012, to playing alongside the RCS Symphony Orchestra at Celtic Connections this year with Phil Cunningham. Do you have any other interests? I like baking (well I like eating so baking has to come first!). I like to travel as well, I spent 12 months living on the island of Chiloé in Chile when I left school and it’s made me want to travel as much as I can now. What are your top tips for other young musicians? Play what you enjoy! I was never very interested in playing classical music in my lessons and it put me off for a long time. When I started playing more folk music and playing the music that I grew up listening to I was more interested in practicing and playing for enjoyment, not just because I had to.