The impact of Scotland’s ten years of free music education for young people

Posted on: June 27, 2022

Students in Scotland’s Big Noise music education program in 2012, the year the program was founded. Photo: Marc Marnie

“The Raploch, a … cluster of grey houses at the foot of [Scotland’s] Stirling Castle has certainly had its struggles. However, something has changed,” writes David Sillito in Thursday’s (6/23) BBC News (UK). “Just over 15 years ago, when an attempt was made to find out how many children were learning a musical instrument, the research team found one. Today, that number is over 400 and the estate has its own symphony orchestra. In 2012, there was a televised concert in which a group of local children who were part of a new program called Big Noise, which gave them intensive musical tuition, joined Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra—conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. The performance in a grey wet field on the edge of the Raploch was watched by a cheerful crowd wrapped in waterproof ponchos. A decade later, the musical tradition has only grown. Two of the children, Solomon and Dylan, are now regulars in the Raploch Symphony Orchestra. Another, the trombone player, Symone Hutchison, who is now 20, is about to enter her third year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.” Included are photos of the participants in the program ten years ago and now.