Mainstream music has always had beneficial non-musical side effects. And there have always been individual music teachers who go the extra mile for the children they teach, supporting vulnerable individuals and working hard to make their programmes inclusive. We love and respect those people! We have taken their spirit and created an intensive wraparound programme that works alongside other services such as health, education and social services to help some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland achieve their potential. Everyone we recruit is chosen and trained to deliver more than music. We seek to transform whole communities through music, rather than the occasional individual who shows particular talent.
Here are seven things which, when combined, make Big Noise different.
- Big Noise is about learning to play together with the emphasis on ensemble playing from the start. The children learn teamwork and mutual support.
- Big Noise is long term and intensive. The programme runs deep in the life of the community, offering pathways from birth through to adulthood. The time of engagement gradually increases as the children grow with a typical older child in the Big Noise Raploch Symphony Orchestra participating over ten hours each week in out-of-school activity.
- Big Noise is locally targeted. Many musical ensembles bring together people scattered from across a wide area. Our orchestras work with large numbers of children and young people from quite small and defined areas. This means Big Noise becomes a major part of the community’s culture.
- Big Noise pursues excellence and is for every child regardless of ability. We have a non-exclusion policy and never turn anyone away – regardless of behaviour or musical ability. We strive towards excellence in music and all elements of the work, and believe everyone has a contribution to make. We work with many children and young people from stable and happy families and go out of our way to engage with the most vulnerable and challenging. The programme successfully involves large numbers of such children. Those that are not involved at any given time are actively pursued. The organisation recruits staff who are socially motivated and trains them in the necessary specialist skills and supports them in coping with the issues they may encounter.
- Big Noise offers support beyond music. We provide extensive pastoral care, support in a crisis, encouragement to achieve academically and help to secure work placement opportunities.
- Big Noise works with others to create a nurturing team around the child. Big Noise staff work in partnership with schools, social workers, health visitors and community workers. The holistic approach extends to consider all angles of nurture. The programme provides healthy food and, when required transport and clothes especially when performing in concerts. We try to ensure all barriers to participation are removed - both psychological and physical.
- Big Noise breaks out of the rehearsal room to engage with the whole family. We engage with children's families through workshops, home concerts, home visits, family excursions and parent evenings.
It's having all of these factors combined within the same programme and organisation which we believe makes us different.