An update from Musician Magnus

Date:5th October 2021

Magnus canoeing

In March we met 22-year-old Magnus, a multitalented musician. His Mum Linda gives us an update on what he has been up to since then. 

“Magnus has been pretty busy this summer.

Having completed the Skills, volunteering and physical sections of the Duke of Edinburgh silver award before the great lockdown, he just had to complete the expedition to get the DofE Silver award. The Friends of the Award (FOTA) organisation which helps people who don’t have a school or other organisation to run the award for them, stepped up and pulled together an expedition team and a training plan to make it happen.

Over the 6 weeks of July and start of August, Magnus did a ‘training’ expedition in the Pentland Hills (“too many hills”!), followed by the ‘qualifying’ expedition through East Lothian which he passed with ‘flying colours’ and was commended by the assessor for his tenacity and determination to finish the task. One of his teammates commented on his ability to ‘keep the group moving when times were tough’, remarking ‘if Magnus was still walking out front, I knew I had it in me to keep going’.

He is currently working on his skills, practical and volunteering sections for the DofE Gold award which he hopes to complete next year. To do that, he is Volunteering at Dr Neal’s Garden weekly through UPMO, an Edinburgh based charity that provides support for adults with learning disabilities, and has started Canoeing, Lawn Bowling and Cycling regularly. He is also hoping to pick up some volunteer activities with musical projects he loves.

Magnus cycling

In terms of his music, now that the Covid-19 restrictions have lifted, that Magnus can get back to playing tunes again in the local pub. He is currently working on learning some new material to audition for the National Youth Orchestra’s Jazz summer school in real life on Skye next year. Magnus was offered a place on the 2021 course but as it was on Zoom, declined as he has had too many Zooms!

Nonetheless, Magnus been enjoying playing with others over zoom and has contributed to a lot of output, here are just some of his shows;

  • With the GDJam Community Jazz group – See if you can spot him (on trombone) https://youtu.be/2W08Lndrtiw
  • Magnus has also been working with Drake Music Scotland online – and continues to enjoy online lessons while waiting for day service to come back in full. Here he is playing his latest composition, “Winter Leaves” at the Diana Garden behind Drake at Craigmillar, Edinburgh, for Make Music Day in June 21 – https://youtu.be/qTmf7TAjMAw
  • Also for Make Music Day, Totally Sound, the weekly music project Magnus has been attending for years on Saturday afternoons, won the ‘best cover’ category again this year for their video of ‘stand by me’ delivering a strong environmental message re climate change. The judges called out the box and fiddle sections as especially worthy of note. It’s a great video. – https://youtu.be/8Ljc0KpAi50

Following the success of the World Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week ‘livestream’ show with our pal Fionn Crombie Angus (of Fionnathan Productions fame), Magnus and Fionn have decided to run a monthly ‘show’ where they invite musical guests, who also happen to have Down’s Syndrome, to come on to the ‘show’ to give some chat and tunes.

Magnus on a trip to Northumberland acting as a ‘roadie’

Our aim with this is to encourage other people – with or without DS – to learn to play a musical instrument. Music’s a great way to communicate with folk, and creatures all over the world! You can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FionnMagnusFriends where you can also find videos of their previous shows.”

If you’re interested in joining these monthly shows for a chat and a tune, please get in touch by emailing Claire@dsscotland.org.uk.