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November 6, 2013

Govanhill – at one with Sir Ken

Anyone listening to Desert Island Discs on Sunday will have heard the brilliant educationalist, Sir Ken Robinson, explaining why creativity is so crucial to everyone’s educational experience.  His arguments are compelling and really worth listening to (2 mins in). Sir Ken is clearly not alone in believing that creativity, more than anything else, has the power to transform a young person’s life chances.  The community at Govanhill worked long and hard to provide this chance for their young folk.


Primary school children have performed a community concert in Govanhill in Glasgow to mark the launch of Scotland’s second Big Noise Orchestra.

The project, run by the Sistema charity uses music-making to help children in less affluent areas build their confidence, pride and aspirations.

The first Big Noise centre was set up in Raploch in Stirling in 2008.

The Scottish government awarded funding of more than £1.3m to establish a similar initiative in Glasgow.

Sistema Scotland is based on the El Sistema music education programme set up in Venezuela in 1975.

In Stirling the charity works with 450 children from babies to teens.

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A government-commissioned evaluation found children were more confident, happier, better behaved and more able to focus as a result of taking part.

Earlier this year, 10 Raploch children successfully auditioned for the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

In the Govanhill project, the Big Noise team of eight musicians has been working with P1 and P2 children at four local primary schools over the past 10 weeks.

Four hundred children performed for the local community and invited guests in a marquee in Govanhill Park to mark the orchestra’s launch.

A summer school is also being held at the project’s base in Forsyth House, and after-school sessions will run at the centre when the new school year starts in the autumn.

Sistema Scotland chairman Richard Holloway said: “We hope the whole Govanhill community can get behind this orchestra. The children are bursting with enthusiasm and potential.

“In 10 weeks we have formed an impressive string orchestra. Over time we will bring in woodwind, brass and percussion to form a full symphony orchestra. Not only will it produce wonderful music, it will transform lives.”

Govanhill Housing Association and Govanhill Community Development Trust (GCDT) were involved in bringing Sistema Scotland to the area.

GCDT chairwoman Lyn Ewing said: “As soon as we heard what they were doing in Raploch we thought this could be a great thing for Govanhill. After a visit to see the children rehearsing, we became convinced we had to have our own Big Noise.”