About me

Michael Starkey with banjoI’m Michael Starkey. I’m an experienced music tutor offering lessons for 5 string banjo and acoustic guitar in Edinburgh, Scotland. These are for individuals and groups of all ages and abilities who maybe don’t know how to get started with their playing; feel stuck with where their playing is at; or are looking to hone their skills further by developing specific playing techniques.

I help musicians (and aspiring musicians):

  • Get their playing off the ground by learning the basic skills needed to begin making music
  • Appreciate their existing skills and build on these by offering advice and ways to move forward with their playing
  • Gain confidence making music with other people
  • Develop techniques specific to old time clawhammer banjo playing, fingerpicking folk and country-blues acoustic guitar and acoustic guitar accompaniment for traditional folk music

My reasons for teaching:

I believe that music has had a very positive impact on my life. I started playing as a young teenager and have always been in bands and going out to gigs and sessions since. For me, it’s a good way to spend time with other people but also with myself. I find that when I’m playing, I’m less likely to be worrying about other things. A bit later on, I came across clawhammer banjo and old time stringband music and got obsessed. I found that there weren’t that many people to play with or learn from where I live so I decided to take up banjo teaching. I like to travel in the US, learn from musicians there, pickup new tricks and tunes and then bring them back over here to share.

My experience:

I am a full time musician, teacher (and gardener). I had my first guitar student when I was a teenager. I work with individual students from my home in Leith and also teach group classes for the Scots Music Group in Edinburgh. In recent years as a community gardener I have worked in therapeutic horticulture with people struggling with their mental health and with individuals with Autism. I’ve also worked as a tree planter. I play in a number of different bands, have toured and gigged across the UK and have made a number of recordings. I also co-host a weekly old time music session in Edinburgh.

Check out my personal website – michaelstarkeymusic.com to see and hear my latest projects.


Get in touch…..

If you are interested in banjo and/or guitar lessons then I’d like to hear from you. Please use the contact form or have a look at the other pages on the site to find out more about banjo lessons or guitar lessons. There is also a page with some field recordings and more information about old time music.

I’ll leave you with this clip of fiddle player Jeri Foreman and myself playing the old-time tune, Five Miles of Ellum Wood.

Michael Starkey playing guitar outdoors at Clifftop Festival