A teenager from Glasgow credits a charitable community music programme for changing his life.

Aiden Macdonald, 17, has been part of the Big Noise programme in Govanhill in the city's Southside since he was seven and is now preparing to study music at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The programme, delivered by charity Sistema Scotland, helps children in disadvantaged areas across Scotland develop their confidence, resilience, attainment and ambition through music and nurturing relationships.

Aiden reminisces about his journey from learning to play the viola to performing in the Scottish Parliament, appearing on BBC Scotland, and a place in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and was given a leadership role and a full bursary.

Glasgow Times: Aiden  is now preparing to study music at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

He said: “I have achieved more than I ever could have imagined. Big Noise opened a whole new world, and it changed my life.

“I started with Big Noise when I was seven. I was in P2 and they came into my school and showed us the instruments. I had never seen anything like it. I got to pick one to play and from then on, I went to Big Noise and played music.

“Big Noise changed my whole life. They made me more confident. I was encouraged to perform and try new things. Having something outside of school was great. It was a different world. It was like a second family for me.”

The funding from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery has so far raised £4 million to help programmes target communities across Scotland. 

Aiden's mother Julie Macdonald, said: "Big Noise has opened so many opportunities for Aiden over the years.

"I'm so proud of everything he has achieved musically. The staff have been amazing and I can't thank them enough for the support and guidance they have provided to Aiden and myself on his musical journey throughout the years.”

Vicky Williams, chief executive of Sistema Scotland, said it is exciting to see their participants go on to do the things they dream of when they leave school.

She added: "The important thing is that Big Noise teaches young people the vital life skills they will need as they move on to adulthood and we know that whatever the children on our programmes go on to do they will carry confidence, resilience and sense of support and care with them for the rest of their lives.

“We are very grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting our work for the past ten years, which has helped us ensure children and young people reach their full potential, no matter their background or financial circumstances.”

Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Aiden’s story shows the real power of music and we’re delighted that our players are supporting such wonderful projects, bringing communities together and helping children and young people gain confidence and skills they can take with them through their lives. And of course, we wish Aiden well with his studies.”