In 2008 we established our first Big Noise programme in Raploch, Stirling. Further Big Noise centres opened in Glasgow’s Govanhill (2013) and Aberdeen’s Torry (2015). We plan gradually to roll the programme out to more communities in the years ahead. Big Noise focuses on the existing assets and the potential of young people.
It counters persistent social problems in the targeted communities by drawing a line under the past and nurturing a new generation of children who grow up in an environment saturated with intensive and immersive music making. We work with children from birth through to adulthood. While our most obvious triumphs are musical our purpose is to use that music making to equip children with confidence, resilience, ambition, and a multitude of transferable skills to support them across all areas of their lives. The ultimate goal is to boost educational performance, health and wellbeing so that children grow to achieve their full potential, contributing to positive communities with fewer costly problems.
Baby Noise & Nursery
Our pre-orchestra programme begins with Baby Noise where babies, toddlers, parents and carers enjoy songs and fun every week. 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. Baby Noise and nursery sessions are delivered for all children in the community once a week
Primary 1 and 2
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.
At these stages the children's involvement in Big Noise increases to two sessions a week. All of the involvement in nursery and Primary 1 and 2 is delivered during the school day and is mapped out against the Curriculum for Excellence outcomes for literacy, numeracy and health and well being.
Moving Up to Big Noise
Children become full members of Big Noise as the Summer holidays start at the end of their Primary 2 year.
They can now attend our after-school orchestra sessions and holiday clubs which run throughout the year. Depending on age and location this can mean up to four afternoons a week after school and four half days a week during holiday periods. We only close for a couple of weeks at the end of summer and over the Christmas and New Year period. All Big Noise tuition is delivered by specialist professional musicians and educators who are backed up by a brilliant group of volunteers, including parents, community-members, retired professionals and students.
Intensity and Immersion: Once in the after-school programme, a typical Big Noise child can be involved in the programme for up to 11 hours a week, 45 weeks each year. That means almost 500 hours of intervention and support a year.