Sistema Scotland works to transform lives through music and the creation of inclusive, community-based orchestras in some of Scotland's most disadvantaged communities through its Big Noise programme. Big Noise Raploch in Stirling began in April 2008 with six musicians supporting 35 young schoolchildren. There are now four Big Noise centres - including Govanhill (Glasgow), Torry (Aberdeen) and Douglas (Dundee) - working with over 2,800 children on a regular basis.
The goal of Sistema Scotland is not to create professional musicians, but to ensure that every child who takes part in Big Noise is supported to learn a range of key life skills, which will help them grow into happy, healthy and resilient adults.
The Glasgow Centre for Population Health has undertaken an independent evaluation of the impact of Big Noise since 2013. It has consistently observed positive impacts on Big Noise participants, noting that these children and young people have increased their confidence, discipline, academic skills, sense of belonging and fulfilment.
The Big Noise programme is particularly focused on early years' intervention and long-term delivery. Each new Big Noise centre begins by working with children at nursery and in Primary One and Two, gradually building on core skills such as listening, concentration, rhythm and teamwork whilst learning to play an instrument in a group. As children reach Primary Three and beyond, Big Noise evolves into an intensive and immersive programme of afterschool and holiday club music teaching, performance and social interaction. Within this, a Big Noise child receives up to four after-school sessions of intervention and support a week during term time, and up to four days each week during spring, summer and autumn holidays until they leave school.
Big Noise centres also provide weekly sessions for babies and toddlers. There is also support and opportunity for adult community members to take part in singing, and all four centres now have a dedicated adult orchestra. The charity also has a range of meaningful volunteering options for adults within Big Noise, vital to the successful delivery of the programme.
Adapting During Lockdown
Since the beginning of the UK-wide lockdown in March 2020, Sistema Scotland has been working to adapt the Big Noise programme to work in new, digitally-supported environments. Now, the majority of its afterschool participants are receiving weekly one-to-one lessons via video call. The Big Noise musicians are also creating pre-recorded teaching videos, which can be watched at any time and will continue to be used as a valuable resource in the longer term. Digital resources for other participants, including babies/toddlers and adults will be implemented in the near future.
If you're inspired by the great work undertaken by Sistema Scotland, check out the other amazing charities our players are supporting. To date, our players have raised over £500 Million for these worthy causes.