The aim of the Hands Up for Trad Community Music awards is to showcase and celebrate the outstanding practice and great things going on in Scotland’s community music sector to the wider public and media.
Congratulations to David Nicholson who have been nominated in the Young Community Musician/s of the Year category. Vote for David here! We asked DAvid Nicholson the following questions.
Tell us more about yourself.
I’m David and I’m a young fiddle player from Fife who has Aspergers Syndrome. I have been playing the fiddle since 2000 when I got the inspiration to start from hearing a fiddler perform at the Uist Accordion and Fiddle Club. This was when I was on holiday in the area. I spent a year at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton (2007-2008) before embarking on a Law and Politics degree at the University of Stirling (2008-12). In 2016 I joined the Fife Strathspey and Reel Society. In June 2017 I successfully gained a place in the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. I am very passionate about making sure music and traditional music in particular are as accessible as possible to people with all sorts of disabilities including those on the autism spectrum.
How long have you or your group organisation been involved in this work and tell us a wee bit about how it all started?
The work that I have been doing has been going on for around 2 years. This was when I felt that there was a lack of disabled musicians actively participating in the music scene within Scotland and beyond. That did not seem right to me as an autistic musician. I therefore felt I had a real duty and responsibility to do something about it. That is why I started to plan an event at the Scottish Parliament to bring the issue to the minds of politicians and other relevant stakeholders.
What have you or your group/organisation got planned for the next 12 months?
The next 12 months is going to be very busy. I am at the early stages of starting my own folk music ensemble. The aim of this will be to do a CD and then a small tour afterwards to promote music, raise a bit of autism awareness and highlight how music is so beneficial to those with disabilities. I will also be continuing to work with Creative Scotland and other agencies, musicians etc to make sure the music community here in Scotland truly embraces the fantastic talents that disabled musicians have and to make sure that this rich talent is giving the opportunity to perform in venues across Scotland. I’ll also be busy performing with the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra too across different venues in Scotland.
What has been the highlight of your or your group/organisation’s experience to date?
The highlight of the work that I have been doing has undoubtedly been the “Loud and clear: Let Disabled Peoples Music Be Heard” event that I organised at the Scottish Parliament in conjunction with Drake Music Scotland and Robert MacBean, Policy Officer at the RCSLT (Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists). Rachael Hamilton MSP was the Parliamentary sponsor of the event. This event was held in February and featured performances from disabled musicians as well as a panel discussion around ways we can get more disabled musicians actively participating within our musical community.
How does it feel to be nominated for this award?
It feels totally overwhelming (in a good way!!) to be nominated for this award. It is a humbling experience. It gives me the encouragement, as an autistic fiddle player, to keep going with my music. It makes me even more determined to continue with the work that I am doing in making music and the opportunities to perform music much more accessible for disabled people right across our nation. I have a deep and lifelong duty to my fellow disabled musicians to do what I can ensure that music can be a place where their talents can be nurtured and used in a very positive way.
Read more about David Nicholson at their website
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