NEW research reveals that children should be seen and heard … playing in an orchestra. Sistema Scotland, a charity dedicated to creating social change in deprived communities, first established a Big Noise orchestra in Raploch, Stirling, nine years ago.

Now, research from its latest project at Torry, Aberdeen, reveals encouraging results in improving academic performance and emotional wellbeing among participating children. Furthermore, it is hoped that the increased confidence, self-esteem, resilience and capacity for cooperation experienced by the children will feed into their families and communities as they grow up.

The research, carried out by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, also found that attendance rates improved, as did capacities for listening, concentrating and creativity. The ability for music itself to improve wellbeing is well-documented, but it is especially uplifting to learn that the children involved in Big Noise felt joy and pride in playing their instrument and in just being a part of something bigger (and noisier, in the best possible sense).

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Many from the oldest project, at Raploch, went on to perform in youth orchestras and choirs, with some aspiring to become musicians and music teachers. Funded by a variety of public bodies, trusts, foundations and companies, Sistema Scotland – which also has a project in Govanhill, Glasgow – plans to become involved in more disadvantaged communities in future. In the meantime, it sounds like a project striking all the right notes, and we wish it continued success.