What are the musical goals of Big Noise?

We want each Big Noise centre to have a full symphony orchestra that will play amazing, beautiful music and blow everyone’s socks off!

Within the orchestra we want individual children playing the best music they are capable of, and for everyone to contribute regardless of ability.


What Instruments do you teach, and to what age groups?

We start teaching musicianship from birth and then violin, viola, cello and double bass to children when they reach primary 2. We start with just strings.

We start teaching woodwind (clarinet, oboe, flute, bassoon), brass (trumpet, trombone, French horn, euphonium) and percussion to children in Primary 5.


Do you have to have your own instrument?

No. We provide all instruments free of charge.


Can you take your instrument home?

We start working with the children at a really young age, so we want to give them time to grow, and understand how to look after their instrument. Most children start taking their instruments home once they have been in the programme for a year, some earlier than this.


Can Big Noise offer some other kinds of music tuition?

Big Noise’s social benefits come from the intensity, immersion and scale of a symphony orchestra. We don’t have plans for anything else, however within the orchestras the children perform a wide variety of styles of music and there are sub-ensembles for percussion, brass, wind band etc. We encourage the children to experience and enjoy all forms of music, whilst focusing primarily on classical instrumental group learning and technique and orchestral ensemble playing. Singing? Choirs?


Why classical music and not Scottish traditional or another type of music?

The social benefits of Sistema come from the structure, challenges and cooperative nature of a symphony orchestra. So it is the symphony orchestra we are built around rather than classical music. The orchestra is big enough and flexible enough to challenge children with a wide range of abilities – and yet allows them to all play together with a common purpose. Within a properly functioning orchestra, children learn that they have an individual responsibility, that they are part of a section, which in turn is part of a much larger group. We believe that there is a unique, inherent inclusiveness in the symphony orchestra.

There is scope within the orchestra to explore many different genres of music, and we do. The Raploch orchestras have enjoyed learning a rich and diverse selection of repertoire from Lady Gaga to Handel. We have had ceilidhs too and Latin American music of course!

We would throw the question back however: “Why not classical?” There is no reason for the children to be excluded from making and listening to classical music.




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