A LEADING Scottish composer has given a young Cardrona musician some sound advice as part of a new short film.

Sir James MacMillan, vice president of St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, met recently with 17-year-old Tom Aitken, a piano and composition pupil, to share his composing experience as the teenager develops as a musician.

In the second of a series of four short films, which focuses on the journeys of pupils as they move towards mastery of their chosen instruments and music creation, Tom, who has been at the school since 2012, discusses his life as a budding composer in the episode simply entitled Composing.

Sir James MacMillan said: “St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh is one of the most precious jewels in the musical ecology of Scotland.

“I’m delighted to have a close association with them, and especially with the young composers who are being nurtured in the school.

“This film gives a wonderful glimpse into the creativity and imagination that is being cultivated in this special place.”

The Peeblesshire teenager has already received recognition for his composition work.

Tom was only 15-years-old when his Piano Quintet No.1 was performed by the RSNO ensemble and pianist Julia Lynch at the official opening of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen in July 2015.

Tom said: “It was a great inspiration to work with someone so highly regarded in the compositional world. As a teacher and educator he gives so much, communicating his passion. I loved it.”

The commentary in the four films has been provided by one of St Mary’s Music School’s most famous past pupils, television personality and singer, Alexander Armstrong.

Dr Kenneth Taylor, headteacher at St Mary’s Music School, said: “Composing highlights the work of one of our S6 pupils whose journey is likely to be of interest to all budding composers and all young people who are interested in learning how music is composed.

“The films are available to view online on the school website and our first film Practising has proved very popular, with over 20,000 views since its release in November 2017.”