The Big Noise project in Stirling's Raploch area - modelled on the Venezuelan El Sistema children's music movement - is about to get even noisier. It is expanding from strings-only to take in woodwind, brass and percussion in the next few weeks, and expects to take on additional music teachers.
The orchestra, launched in Raploch in summer 2008, aims to transform the lives of a new generation with music. El Sistema was founded in 1975 in Venezuela by Jose Antonio Abreu. It is known for rescuing young people in extreme poverty from the environment of drug abuse and crime into which they would likely otherwise be drawn, and has launched a number of musicians on to international careers.
A spokesman for Sistema Scotland, which runs Big Noise, said: "We are delighted that our latest tally reveals that just over 80 per cent of the children eligible to be in Big Noise are. If you see a child under 10 in Raploch, the odds are they are learning music with us. This level of saturation music-making is fairly unique. With the introduction of brass, woodwind and percussion later in the year, we will be working with children up to P7 too."
The orchestra is working with 243 out of the 302 pupils who attend nursery, Castleview School (special needs) and P1-5s at Raploch and Our Lady's primaries. A further eight Raploch children who attend school elsewhere are also involved.