Big Noise Raploch

Raploch is the home of the first Big Noise Orchestra –  the first orchestra of its kind in the UK.

Big Noise in Raploch operates from the Community Campus on Drip Road with children from the nursery, Our Lady’s Primary, Raploch Primary, Castleview Primary, Wallace High and St Modan’s High. The orchestra is also open to Raploch children who attend school elsewhere.

pic by Marc Marnie

Our pre-orchestra programme begins with Baby Noise where wee ones and parents enjoy songs and fun every week. Baby Noise is at the Ochil Centre for all who live in Raploch from 9.30am on Thursdays. Then in the nursery, through musical games, clapping and singing we introduce the children to ideas of rhythm and pitch, and to playing together. Big Noise is from the very beginning based on playing and learning together. The emphasis is always on the ensemble, so the children learn to cooperate and support each other.

A paper bass. pic by Marc Marnie

The pre-orchestra programme continues when the children are in Primary 1 and 2. They choose which instrument they would like to play and then make their own replica instruments to form a paper orchestra – an idea we took from our twin orchestra centre “Rinconada” in Venezuela. The children learn about the different parts of the instrument, and how to hold and bow it properly. So they have a head start by the time they are handed the real thing.

Children become full members of Big Noise as the Summer holidays start at the end of their Primary 2 year. They continue as they progress through school and our current oldest members are in secondary school.  Big Noise will keep expanding with this generation as they grow through their teens.

Big Noise runs four days  a week during holidays and three afternoons a week during school term. The most musically advanced come in for four afternoons.


We use a variety of innovative and hi-tech methods to work with the children of Castleview School. Figurenotes, a music system using colours, makes it easier to read and compose music.  Computers linked to electronic beams and pressure pads allow children with mobility issues to play.

We aim to have Castleview children playing alongside pupils from the other Raploch schools, and we are delighted that a number are already playing in the Big Noise Orchestra.

The Noise

We have an adult group called The Noise. Lessons are open to anyone from the community but have been most popular with parents and grandparents of children who are already part of the programme. The Noise helps us strengthen our relationships with families, and gives its members an idea of just how much the children are achieving.

The Noise rehearse every Wednesday evening from 6.00 until 7.30 pm in Raploch Community Campus. Anyone living or working in Raploch is welcome and we have a variety of symphony orchestra instruments available to learn. It is a fun, relaxed relaxed environment, and no experience of reading music or playing an instrument is needed. Anyone interested in joining should contact Amanda on 07811 489436 or by e-mail:

Take a Musician Home for Tea

During school holidays the children can book visits we call “Take a Musician Home for Tea.” In these musical house parties the children and teachers perform, often not just to the family but all the neighbours too.

Second birthday concert - Pic by Marc Marnie

When playing concerts the children can really show off the results of all their hard work.

Rinconada pic by Marc Marnie

The children work in a number of smaller orchestras that allow them to progress at an appropriate pace. Our top ensemble is called Rinconada after the Venezuelan centre we are twinned with. But we also make sure that everybody plays together regularly in one Big Noise orchestra. The important message is that everyone has a role to play, in the orchestra and in life.

Pic by Marc Marnie

A Full Symphony Orchestra

After two years Big Noise had established a strong core of string players in Raploch. It was now time to add woodwind, brass and percussion instruments to make a full symphony orchestra.

Big Noise is now well established in Raploch. New babies grow up hearing music all around them and it won’t be long before they are with us in nursery, making music throughout their  childhood and beyond.

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