About Mary

Mary & Margaret Fay Shaw outside Canna House, Isle of Canna

“Everywhere I go in the world, as a teacher and performer, the greatest desire of many of those I meet is to hear and learn more about my own piano interpretations of the traditional music of Scotland and Ireland.”

Mary’s approach to piano performance and teaching is rooted in her background in Irish Traditional music and in her continued involvement with musicians in this field in Ireland and Scotland.

Mary studied with Dr Suzuki in Japan, having been awarded a scholarship by the British Suzuki Institute. She is piano tutor for the Scottish Music Degree Course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, in addition to her Suzuki based piano teaching in Edinburgh.

Mary has given recitals in Sri Lanka, Norway, the Caribbean, the USA, and Brazil as well as in the UK and in Ireland. She performs regularly (piano and accordian) with the saxophonist Richard Ingham.

Biography Highlights:

Teaching and Teacher Training

  • Principal Piano Tutor, BA in Scottish Music Royal Scottish Conservatoire, Glasgow, since its inception in 1996
  • Lecturer on the B.Mus in Traditional Music Course, RSC
  • Examiner on the B.Mus in Traditional Music Course, RSC
  • Director of National Suzuki Piano Teacher Training Courses
    in four countries:

    • Ireland since 2004
    • Scotland since 2004
    • Latvia since 2014
    • Spain since 2015


  • October, 2016 Invited to be part of the teaching faculty at the State of Washington Suzuki Festival
  • Recognised Suzuki Piano Teacher Trainer and Examiner in Europe,(European Suzuki Association) and America (American Suzuki Association).
  • 2008-2013 Invited as part of the teacher training faculty, in Lima, Peru, each January, for the Latin American Suzuki Festival
  • Awarded a scholarship by the British Suzuki Institute to study with Dr.Suzuki in Matsumoto, Japan, 1990.
  •  One of a community of Suzuki teachers in Scotland, who all work together to bring Suzuki’s vision to many.
  • Was the first Suzuki piano teacher in Scotland in 1987 and continues to enjoy life as a Suzuki teacher, where many of the families who started in 1987, are now very good friends and still support the Suzuki community in Scotland and beyond.
  • Winner of All-Ireland accordion championship as a teenager.


  • March, 2016 Awarded a second Travel Scholarship to Serbia, to return, to further study and engage with musicians and composers, some of whom are professors in Novi Sad Academy, whom Mary has already met on a previous travel scholarship there,when she met many musicians and composers who gave her invaluable help with this research. She played Serbian and her own arrangements of Irish and Scottish music on Radio Novi Sad (October,1996). Her pupil,Lucy Dorman (aged 13) was also invited to perform Miroslav Statkic’s “Old Serbian Song.”
  • Numerous concerts/recitals/tv and radio,Europe,(including Serbia,Latvia,Sweden,Spain,UK,Ireland), Sri Lanka, USA, Latin America, India – for more information see performances.
  • Recitalist on the Fred Olsen cruise lines, traveling world-wide, 2001-2007.
  • International and local performances and workshops (accordion and piano) with Richard Ingham, saxophonist.

CDs and Publications

  • In Praise of Uist (Molaidh Uist), solo piano album of arrangements of traditional Scottish and Irish music,performed and arranged by Mary. This CD has formed the basis of a series of concerts to over ten countries, by invitation, between 2012 and 2015, including Edinburgh Festival Fringe performances, August 2012/13/14/15.
  • Manuscripts of In Praise of Uist (Molaidh Uist)
  • Scenes from a Mountain (Richard Ingham,saxophone,Mary McCarthy,piano and accordion) Music from many different genres,including Marcello, Miroslav Statkic Charlie Parker,Eddie McGuire. This music has been performed widely by Mary and Richard, locally, in Edinburgh and internationally, including India, USA, Ireland, Latvia, England, Scotland and Wales and also as part of the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe.
  • Pennan to Penang Accordion and saxophone, suite of pieces written by Richard Ingham, performed at numerous international events, by invitation, including the World Saxophone Congress, Minneapolis, British Saxophone Congress, Birmingham.
  • Bridges Solo contemporary piano music from Serbia and Scotland plus “reflections”, by Mary.  Influenced by music from her career to date.  CD was launched in August, 2015, at Edinburgh International Festival Fringe.The music has been performed by Mary in many countries over a number of years.
  • Failte
  • Piano Duets

Comments: 5 replies added

  1. Devendra August 12, 2012

    All major chords to fololw the same rule of construction: The construction of a C-major, taking the root (C) and adds a third, in this case (S) because it is about 2 tones (C ), then add a third child (E), which is one and half tones, which leads to (G) For the construction of the Great others just take for example the root (D), then your main 3 (F #) and 3 minor (F #) is (A) I hope this is understandable, I just started, also:)

  2. Mary Hanna November 30, 2012

    Hi Mary, I live in Northern Ireland and I would like to training in the Suzuki Teaching method. Could you please forward details of the course - how much it costs, the audition requirements, location and how long it takes etc. Many Thanks Mary

  3. Stephanie Long January 30, 2013

    Hi there. I am hoping you can help me track down suzuki piano teacher training in Ireland - I see from your website that you direct this course but I can't find any information on-line about it. I'd be grateful for any contact details or information you could provide me with. Thank you!

  4. Eleanor Baily August 20, 2015

    Saw your marvellous performance in edinburgh yesterday. I was very intrigued and captivated by your story. Unfortunately I couldn't always hear very well. Could you tell me the name and author of the book you mentioned, which you had with you and I shall see if I can track one down. Thank you for your assistance and good luck I. The future. Eleanor

  5. Julie Bickel February 29, 2016

    Mary, I am a Suzuki violinist from the Chicagoland area and will be bringing 3 US Suzuki advanced piano students to Edinburgh on July 27, 2016. I will also be bringing a small Suzuki chamber orchestra that has been recognized internationally. Any chance that you will be in town during that time and able to meet with some Americans who love the Suzuki method! We would love to meet some International Suzuki students as well. Thanks for your time!

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