What happens if a child wants to join in?
There are points throughout the year when we advertise for groups of children in the community to join the orchestra: beginning of summer, beginning of the new academic term (August) and in January. Individual children can join throughout the year. When children join mid-session we buddy them with other children for extra support. We also offer top-up 1-2-1 lessons to get a child’s confidence and skills developed before they join or re-join.
What are the social changes that Big Noise hopes to bring about?
We want all of the children and young people to achieve their full potential in life. We want them to grow up to be well-adjusted and happy adults. Through music we want them to learn they can work hard at something – succeed – and feel confident as a result. We hope having struggled and succeeded at learning to play an instrument (which is difficult), they will struggle and succeed in other areas of their lives. As a result they will develop a resilience that helps them make good choices, and realise their full potential.
Have we seen a change in the children/young people?
Yes. And it is not just us. We have had extensive research carried out on our work which highlights the following key impacts on children/young people in the programme:
- Boosting engagement with learning and education
- Developing and building life skills
- Securing emotional wellbeing
- Building social skills and networks
- Respite and protection
- Developing as a musician
- Encouraging healthy behaviours
The summary of the research can be read here.
What are the opportunities for children with additional support needs to take part?
It is our aim to remove all barriers to children taking part. We work individually with some children to give them the playing skills and confidence to join the orchestra. We worked with Drake Music Scotland to train our staff in using the innovative Figurenotes notation system that is designed to help children and adults with additional support needs to read and compose music. We also use electronic equipment to give children with physical difficulties the opportunity to make music. It is our intention to work towards an orchestra in which all children can play together.
What happens if a child wants to drop out?
We try to make taking part fun so that children will want to keep coming. If a child wants to leave then we will try to find out why, and see if there is anything we can do differently that would change their mind. If a child is vulnerable or has particular problems we believe will be helped by participating in the programme, we will try especially hard to encourage them to stay. Ultimately, if we find that we have done all we can to remove barriers to the child taking part, and the programme is just not for them, then that’s fine. Children will be able to return if they change their mind.