NEW research into a pioneering orchestral scheme for children has shown that it boosts both the academic and emotional wellbeing.

The Big Noise orchestra in Torry, Aberdeen, is the third orchestra of its kind launched by charity Sistema Scotland, which bases its intensive musical tuition on the El Sistema scheme in Venezuela.

It has now been running in its first centre in Scotland, Raploch in Stirling, for nearly ten years, but new independent research from the Glasgow Centre of Population Health (GCPH) into Big Noise Torry is showing that after 18 months, it has "enhanced participants’ ability to learn in school, as well as improving emotional wellbeing."

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The study also identifies improvements in the confidence and esteem in those taking part.

In Aberdeen, Big Noise teaches music to school children in Torry’s Walker Road and Tullos Primaries, during and after school.

It currently works with more than 500 local school children aged three to nine years in Torry, which is ranked as one of the most deprived areas of Scotland.

Other findings are that teachers reported improvements in academic and behavioural skills including listening, concentration, creativity, communications, and cooperation.

The report says that school attendance rates are higher among Big Noise after school pupils, which corresponds with similar results at the other Big Noise sites, which includes Govanhill in Glasgow.

A new Big Noise orchestra will also start in Douglas, Dundee in September, with plans for another area for a new orchestra currently being discussed.

The new report echoes a similar inquiry into the success of the Big Noise orchestra in Raploch.

Nicola Killean, chief executive of Sistema Scotland, which runs the Big Noise orchestras, said: "We can now say it wasn't just a unique set of circumstances in Raploch.

"It shows that we have a way of working that we have developed, and that is using the orchestra and the wrap-around services, and the way we have built the team.

"It means we are building an evidence bank that actually makes it much easier for us to explain our work.

"In 2008, when we started in Raploch, we were asking people to take a leap of faith.

"Whereas with Torry, Aberdeen came to us and said 'we want to work with you on this' so, yes this report is helpful for us, but it's also a milestone for Aberdeen City Council because we can say: 'you worked with us, we built this together, and now all the indicators show there has been an impact and potential is embedded for the future'."

The study also finds that "100% of the children who were asked to draw a picture of how they felt expressed consistent feelings of happiness, enjoyment and pride in playing their instrument and being part of Big Noise."

In 2015/16 Aberdeen City Council provided £243,000 to support Big Noise Torry, with a further £82,000 coming from Creative Scotland, private trusts, foundations and donors.

Big Noise Raploch was established 2008 and has almost 500 members, from babies through to S5, while in Govanhill, established in 2014, there are nearly 1000 children involved, in the same age range.

Torry has more than 500 children involved, from babies to P3.

Next year the Big Noise orchestra in Raploch, Stirling, will be ten years old, and a series of celebrations are being planned.

Children that began learning instruments at the ages of five to eight are now 15 to 18 year old, and some have gone on to play in and sing in national youth orchestras, choirs, and the Junior Conservatoire in Glasgow, with some hoping to become musicians and music teachers.

Chris Harkins, senior public health research specialist at GCPH said: "Our research demonstrates that the Big Noise Torry programme is already having positive impacts on the wellbeing, education and learning of participants as well as on the development of important social and life skills.

"We found that the strong partnerships which exist with local schools and the broader community, the intensity and accessibility of Big Noise alongside the teaching methods used by the musicians, are pivotal to the positive impacts observed to date.

"Importantly Big Noise is effectively engaging children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"Looking to the future, if the programme continues to engage with children and the community in this way, it will have a central role to play in the regeneration of Torry over the long term."

Cllr Jenny Laing, Leader of Aberdeen City Council said: "The outcomes are clearly extremely positive and the investment in the next generation is a very positive one."

Ms Killean added: "Children are growing in confidence, improving their concentration, team working and communications skills.

"We now have more than 2000 children across Scotland participating in Big Noise from babies to school leavers, with a fourth centre opening in Dundee this year.

"Our next step is to begin tracking school leavers who joined Big Noise 10 years ago to establish what destinations they are moving onto, and to continue to sustain the work and monitor the impact long term."