Big Noise music education program hailed as a success in Dundee


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A music education program aimed at underprivileged communities across Scotland is having “very positive impacts” on children in Dundee, according to a new study.

Big Noise Douglas was launched by Sistema Scotland in the city’s Douglas quarter in 2017 and enables young people to take music lessons while building their self-confidence and communication skills.

A team of academics from the University of Dundee assessed the impact of the program during its early years, interviewing parents, children and school staff.

They concluded that the program not only helped young people from unprivileged backgrounds learn music, but also made them healthier and more complete individuals.



The study found that children’s communication skills improved significantly during Big Noise sessions.

Professor Divya Jindal-Snape, who led the study, said: “Our participants reported that the positive impact of Big Noise Douglas was due to the fact that children had the opportunity to learn music and to enjoy themselves. express in a fun and safe environment.

“The project gave the children access to resources they don’t have at home as well as the chance to be part of a group.

“The children felt a positive impact when they received nutritious food and formed valuable relationships with the staff at Big Noise Douglas.

“We would like to thank the children, parents, school professionals and staff at Big Noise Douglas for their participation in the assessment despite the continued disruption due to Covid-19. “

Approximately 250 P1-P3 children and 92 P3-P6 children from Douglas’ St Pius X RC and Claypotts Castle Primary Schools participate in Big Noise. A Baby Noise group is also lively with preschoolers.

The choice of Douglas as one of Dundee’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods was deliberate. Almost nine in ten people in the district live in areas considered to be among the poorest in all of Scotland.

Other Big Noise projects are taking place in very disadvantaged areas such as Torry in Aberdeen and Govanhill in Glasgow.

According to research, children who participated in Big Noise Douglas were better able to listen, focus, work with others, and build positive relationships.

The program was also praised for the way it adjusted during the lockdown, including hosting one-on-one music lesson sessions – often a child’s only activity outside the home during the months. first days of the pandemic.



Researchers obtained children's feedback by asking them to draw comics
Researchers obtained children’s feedback by asking them to draw comics

The researchers recommended that the Big Noise program in Douglas be extended to high schools in the area.

Paul Clancy, the outgoing boss of child and family services at Dundee City Council, called the project “very important”.

And Benny Higgins, president of Sistema Scotland, is “delighted” with the university’s findings.

He added, “Participating in Big Noise helps participants develop the attributes necessary to become happy and healthy adults, such as self-confidence, social skills and self-esteem.

“We are delighted to build on this achievement and to work closely with the local community and Dundee City Council to continue our work to help more children and youth realize their potential. “

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Rachel Dallas, grandparent of some of the kids attending Big Noise, said, “It’s not just about learning to play an instrument, it’s about coming together.

“They can see their friends, play games and have healthy snacks.

“Big Noise is so good for them – and it’s good for their mental health, too.”



Researchers say the program should be extended to older children as well
Researchers say the program should be extended to older children as well

Sistema was persuaded to bring Big Noise to Dundee through the Optimistic Sound Campaign, founded to honor the aspiration of famed Dundee singer-songwriter Michael Marra to provide a musical education to disadvantaged children in the city.

Campaign Chairman Urban Gaming Guru Chris van der Kuyl said: “Since opening in 2017, Big Noise Douglas has grown steadily, positively impacting young people and families in the local community.

“Optimistic Sound is delighted to have been instrumental in campaigning and fundraising to bring this work to Dundee.

“We are delighted to have played our part in helping children and young people benefit from this meaningful work.”

Jenny Marra, former Labor MP and niece of the late singer, said on Twitter: “Brilliant work at #Dundee by @sistemascotland hand in hand with kids in Douglas.

“Well done to all the kids and staff and thank you to @DundeeCouncil #partenariat. Reach for the stars! “

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