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Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise orchestras has positive effect on local community

20th May 2015

The initial findings of a long-term study show that Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise orchestras are having a positive effect on the local community.

Researchers from the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) concluded that the projects had the potential to ‘significantly enhance participants’ lives, prospects, health and wellbeing’ and strongly endorsed the Big Noise projects.

The researchers have been examining the economic, education and community impacts of the Big Noise schemes since September 2013. They found that children taking part in the scheme had higher school attendance, improved handwriting and greater confidence.

The orchestras, based in Stirling’s Raploch and Glasgow’s Govanhill, were established in 2008 and 2013 respectively. Both schemes have attracted widespread acclaim, with Stirling’s programme praised for ‘exceptional achievement’ by government inspectors earlier this year.

Sistema Scotland chairman Richard Holloway said yesterday: ‘Today’s findings by independent experts show very conclusively that these orchestras can make a better Scotland – a fairer and happier country with the potential of its children fully realised. The heroes in all of this, though, are the children in Raploch and Govanhill who are showing us all the way.’

GCPH director Carol Tannahill said: ‘This evaluation strongly endorses Sistema Scotland’s approaches to delivery: the short and medium-term impacts of the programme evidenced at this stage of the evaluation are very encouraging. What is also certain is that Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise programme has the potential to significantly enhance participants’ lives, prospects, health and wellbeing through a variety of identified pathways in the long-term.’

Based on Venezuela’s El Sistema, Sistema Scotland draws children from disadvantaged backgrounds and immerses them in music. Approximately 1,300 Scottish children currently participate in the intensive orchestral programmes, which involve regular coaching, performances and trips to concerts.

The study will continue in order to observe the long-term effects of the Big Noise projects.

Read more on the Music Teacher magazine website