By Hannah Mary McEwan

THERE’S a lot of noise about schools at the moment. I know nobody’s got all the answers. I just wish I knew when I can go back and what I’ll be able to do. Will it even be safe?

It’s not just school though, there’s loads of things I love doing and am desperate to be with my friends properly again. We need to talk about how we get children and young people back together, doing all the things they love. Like playing my violin with the rest of my orchestra, not just in my room.

When you come in for a Big Noise rehearsal and everyone is there, your instrument in your hands and then the conductor lifts her arms… you get such an adrenaline rush. Concert clothes on, all fired up and ready to play. It feels amazing. I miss that so much.

Knowing you can really play an instrument, it shocks you sometimes. During lockdown, I watched some videos of myself from when I was younger and I could see how far I’d come. Now I help out with one of the younger Big Noise orchestras and I sit with the violinists. The wee ones ask me when they need help and I love being able to help them. Big Noise has really helped me to understand music and develop the skills I need to play a new piece of music just by ear – I’ve had the chance to do that a lot during the lockdown.

Lockdown’s been hard. I miss my friends. I miss my teachers too, really! I don’t know when I’ll be back or what’s happening with exams. When I leave school, I want to be a music teacher, or maybe a primary school teacher, but I don’t know how all that works right now. I worry about my family too. My mum’s a health visitor and she’s out and about a lot. My wee brother’s stuck at home as well and he’s missing his friends.

During the first lockdown everything just stopped but Big Noise kept going. It was the only normal thing still happening. I miss going in to learn with the Big Noise musicians, but I still see some of them online. You can have a really good talk with them; they care and they want to know how you’re doing, how you’re coping. They believe in you.

It’s good having Big Noise online. I can still see some of the orchestra and we can still practise, even though we’re all stuck at home. We still have a laugh. It’s not the same, but it means a lot even being able to do that. I feel happier after a Big Noise session.

We need to talk about how we get children and young people back together, doing all the things they love. My violin and I will keep making noise, one way or another, until then.

Hannah Mary McEwan (16) is a violinist with Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise Raploch in Stirling