What is Sistema Scotland?

Sistema Scotland is a social transformation charity based in three communities – Raploch, Govanhill and Torry. Work in the communities is done through their Big Noise orchestra programmes where children are immersed in music to help foster teamwork, confidence and aspiration. The charity has been going for 8 years and is funded primarily by a number of partners, including Scottish Government, Aberdeen City Council, Glasgow City Council and Stirling Council.


What is Big Noise?

Big Noise is a community based social transformation programme that aims to use intensive, immersive orchestral music making to foster confidence, teamwork, pride and aspiration in the children taking part – and across the wider community.


What’s the difference between Big Noise and Sistema Scotland?

Big Noise is the name given to the orchestra programmes in each community we work in. Sistema Scotland is the name of the national charity behind them.

Big Noise Raploch is our first orchestra centre and was launched in 2008. In 2013 we opened Big Noise Govanhill. Our third centre opened in Aberdeen’s Torry in 2015.

The Sistema Scotland team has a national role and manages the organisation’s strategic plans, fundraising, learning and training programmes, curriculum development and marketing and communication for the Big Noise centres.


Is Big Noise a musical or a social programme?

It is both but Big Noise is first and foremost a social programme. The orchestra is used as a tool to counter exclusion, foster teamwork, confidence and aspiration. We believe we can only succeed and realise the children’s true potential however if we strive to make the best music we can.


Why a music programme?

We are a social action programme which uses music as a tool. Participation in an orchestra gives a structure to foster life skills, cooperation and confidence. An orchestra is a natural learning place for self-discipline and communal discipline, as well as encouraging performance and celebration of what can be achieved by working hard together.

While all our most obvious triumphs and milestones are musical, it is important to remember that we are here to help the children reach their potential across all areas of their lives.


Is the musical side or the social side more important in Big Noise?

You can’t have one without the other. We are here because of our social aims, but it is the music that delivers them. Rather than say one is more important than the other, we think musical creativity could be a solution to many problems so it is very important to us.

Perhaps our society has not put enough value on artistic creativity. That said, if we don’t produce any professional musicians from Big Noise, but lots of happy, confident people, we will be very pleased.


Why start in Raploch?

Raploch was selected for our pilot Big Noise orchestra. The hope has always been that Big Noise orchestras will be based in a variety of places, but for the first location we were looking for a number of very specific conditions.

Raploch was chosen because:

  • The community is compact and has a clear identity and boundary.
  • The local authority and community were interested in the work and in using this to combine the social and physical regeneration within the community.
  • The community is undergoing a regeneration process that we believed an orchestra can contribute to and enhance.
  • Stirling is centrally located and is easy to get to from all over Scotland. Symbolically it is at the heart of the country.
  • Raploch has historically experienced some of the social issues we believe orchestras can help address.




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