Event / project

Cornwall Youth Noise Orchestra


Free experimental music and performance sessions for 12-16 year olds (instruments provided; no experience needed). Sessions will be held at AMATA, Tremough Campus, Falmouth University).


Wednesdays (4:15pm - 5:05pm) until end of November 2023

Join the Cornwall Youth Noise Orchestra! We have a small number of places still available.

What can my child expect?

Through our Cornwall Youth Noise Orchestra, young people can take part in making music in a different way to traditional music lessons – using our fun ‘noise stations’ and alternatives to regular notation. Your child will perform music, compose and conduct music, record and release a vinyl, plan a professional concert, and because we are a recognised Arts Award centre your child can also work towards an industry recognised Arts Award at Explore level – visit the Arts Award website for information here: www.artsaward.org.uk

Sessions are led by experienced musicians and artists who have created work with Tate, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Hockeysmith, Mildred Maude, Damo Suzuki (Can) and more, and with lots of experience of running activities for young people. As an Arts Award Centre, we also offer the option of working towards an Arts Award (Explore level), for young people who come along regularly.

We love seeing young people enjoy themselves while making music together – it’s an excellent social activity and a chance to make friends, but it’s also suitable for people who don’t feel as confident as others.


Our noise stations are based on professional instruments used by experimental music pioneers such as Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk, BBC Radiophonic Orchestra, and Suzanne Ciani, and such music still heavily influences music producers making chart hits today. They are a mixture of professional and DIY electronic instruments such as modular synths and turntables, experimental sound art equipment such as microphones attached to objects, string instruments based on eastern music, and even microphones swinging over speakers to make bird sounds.

If your child is nervous, anxious, or shy about performing during a session, our plans are designed to help make them feel comfortable and not feel pressure – members of our team have direct experience of this.

Composing and conducting:

We don’t use traditional notation or musical structures – it’s not the only approach to composing music. Many pioneers ranging from classical to electronic music have used ‘graphic notation’ (also called ‘graphic scores’ or ‘visual scores) – these have included John Cage, György Ligeti, Daphne Oram, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Graphic notation gives clues to how music should be performed and is very suited to electronic or experimental instruments – many pieces of music can’t even be written in traditional notation. Graphic notation can include be shapes, colours, text, animation, or it could even be a balloon floating in a room (perhaps the higher it gets, the louder you get). During our sessions, your child will learn about how to perform and compose graphic notation.

Conducting can be similarly experimental and your child will be able to have a go at this.

Recording and releasing music:

Heavy Friends is a local organisation who has generously offered to release a non-profit recording from the orchestra or vinyl. This will be in collaboration with the university who will provide support on the whole process of that – your child will get some insights on how the music sector works as a result and there will be some sessions where they will get to see what it’s like to study at university. The music will also be made available digitally. If your child is nervous about ‘getting it right’ on a recording, we can help with that during the session and also when mixing the recording.

Concert planning:

Some sessions will involve concert planning. Your child will be able to get involved in many aspects of what it takes to organise an event and design a concert – from set design through to programming and even marketing. We want the orchestra participants to know and feel like it is their concert – it’s such a rewarding thing to do!

How to join the orchestra:

Your child does not need to have played music before to join, and does not need to be able to read music at all – we will not be using traditional notation.

If your child already plays an instrument, we would be interested to hear about that too, however please note that instruments should not be brought to the sessions. If your child would prefer to join a more traditional music group, Cornwall Music Service Trust and AsOne Hub provide those opportunities locally.

Booking is now open and places are limited. To join, your child will simply need to be available for the sessions during term-time from March – July. They will be working towards two performances which may happen on weekends, which we will let you know dates of as soon as they are booked.

If your child is interested in joining, please email matt@moogiewonderland.co.uk and please let us know any access requirements so that we can discuss this with you. While we aim for the music made to be fairly ambient, the sessions may not be suitable for children with sensory issues.

A small amount of money towards travel support is available on request – please enquire for details.

Getting there and what is on site for parents:

Please follow this link for information on how to get to AMATA, parking, and parking charges: www.amata.org.uk/visitus

Sessions will take place in Studio L, but we will send out information packs including where to meet on arrival.

There are a number of spaces for parents at the university and we will provide details of where you can wait, have a coffee, and stay dry on rainy days (note the AMATA café currently stops serving at 4pm). On a sunny day, the campus has beautiful grounds for sitting in or having a walk. Should any café’s at the university be closed, Verdant is also open on Wednesdays, which is very close to AMATA – they serve hot and cold beverages.

How is the Youth Noise Orchestra funded?

We are delighted to be able to able to run the 2023 season thanks to backing  from Youth Music, thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England. The project also has generous support from Falmouth University (AMATA), Falmouth Art Gallery, and Arts Award.

Programme articles

Our current projects are backed by Youth Music, Arts Council England and The National Lottery.

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