String Ensembles


 Our string team is made up of:


Upper Strings

Ysla Robertson
Laura McKinlay
Elizabeth McColl
Susannah Clark
Veronica Urrego


Lower Strings

Peter Nicholson
Aline Harris
Ricardo Tapadinhas
David Munn


The heart of any Symphony Orchestra is its string section, so at Big Noise this is where we begin. All P2s get the opportunity to learn either violin, viola, 'cello or double bass.


Learning a string instrument is a complicated business which is partly why the P2s start out with cardboard instruments. As the children join the Big Noise afterschool club they then learn how to hold the instruments, how to use the bow and how to make a really good sound. All this can take time as it is really important to get these things right from the outset. Once they have mastered all of this they then learn to use their fingers and begin to play tunes. Lots of hard work and dedication follows until they reach the upper stages of the programme (see Rinconadas below) at which point the young people are flying about their instruments making a great sound and making it look easy!


In all of the orchestras listed below the week at Big Noise consists of a mix of full orchestra rehearsals, sectional rehearsals (all of the same instruments together), musicianship sessions and individual or paired lessons with their teacher.


Purple & Purple Plus Orchestras

These two orchestras form the beginner stages of the strings curriculum. 

The Purple Year One group is made up mainly of P3s. In many ways the first year is the most important year for string players as it is when we learn the building blocks of our chosen instrument: how to sit/stand, how to hold the instrument, how to hold the bow and how to make a really good sound on the open strings (no fingers) and how to begin to read music.


The Purple Plus orchestra (mainly P4s) is all about learning to use the left hand fingers, as well as making sure everything is still sorted from year one. In this group the children learn how to put their fingers down, to play beautifully in tune and to learn simple tunes and scales.


Red & Red Chamber Orchestras

These two orchestras form the intermediate stages of the strings curriculum. Generally the children spend between 2 - 3 years in the Red orchestras.
For most of the sessions at Big Noise, the Red Orchestra and the Red Chamber Orchestra (RCO) play together in one large group. Those with a little more experience are invited to join the RCO who stay later on some afternoons.
In 'The Reds' the children work on their music reading skills and play lots of different tunes. All their orchestra pieces now have different parts for the different sections which adds to the difficulty. They work from specially written music books ('Climbers' and 'Explorers') that they can take home to practice.
In the Red Chamber Orchestra the pieces are a bit more tricky and often require new techniques and reading skills: all the things that get them ready to join the Rinconadas...


Rinconada & Rinconada Chamber Orchestras

New for 2017/18, the Rinconada Orchestra is formed of three groups: Rinconada Primary Orchestra (RPO), Rinconada High School Orchestra (RHSO) and Rinconada Chamber Ensemble (RCE).


These three orchestras form the advanced stages of the strings curriculum.


The Rinconada Orchestra is our advanced string group. It comes together to form the string section of the Symphony Orchestra. 


  • The RPO is made up mainly of graduates from the RCO and they continue working on pieces especially written to develop their string playing technique. 
  • The RHSO work on similar pieces and rehearse for a bit longer.
  • The RCE is made up of the most advanced string players and they will work on a wide range of classic string repertoire.


All of the above groups will also have the choice to opt into either choir, Fool's Gold (improvisation) or playing in small chamber groups of 3 or 4 players.




Keep up-to-date with all the latest events.

Click here to sign up to our e-newsletter!

This site uses cookies, for more information please read our Privacy Policy.