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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November, 2003, 11:40 GMT
Move to save 'endangered' music
Helen Simons and Bill Oddie
Bassoonist Helen Simons and oboe player Bill Oddie are involved
A campaign to encourage thousands of UK youngsters to take up six "endangered" musical instruments is under way.

The 1m initiative by charity Youth Music aims to increase playing of the bassoon, double bass, French horn, oboe, trombone and tuba/euphonium.

About 1,200 instruments are being provided at discounts to stave off a potential crisis among orchestras.

Organisers say the six instruments have become too expensive and in some cases unfashionable for young musicians.

We hope to inspire children and young people to learn these instruments and encourage a new generation of musicians
Gavin Henderson, Youth Music
"The whole future of traditional music-making is at stake," warned Gavin Henderson, chairman of Youth Music.

"We hope to inspire children and young people to learn these instruments and encourage a new generation of musicians".

Under the scheme, music services across England can apply for up to 70% off the purchase price of instruments.

A professional bassoon can cost up to 10,000; a tuba/euphonium, French horn or double bass about 3,000; and a trombone or oboe ,1000.

Organisers aim to encourage up to 5,000 youngsters to take up or continue with the instruments with a two-year programme of events.

School orchestra
The campaign aims to protect the future of school orchestras
Music leaders will be given training, and musicians encouraged to consider a career in teaching, while specially-designed free "gig-bags" will be available to give musical instruments a cooler image among pupils.

High-profile musicians will act as ambassadors and attend events, run workshops and give performances.

Among them is Herbie Flowers, the rock and jazz session bassist best known for his bass line on Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side.

Others include TV presenter and comedy performer Bill Oddie - a talented oboe player - euphonium maestro David Childs, and Helen Simons, one of few female bassoonists and a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The event is backed by radio station Classic FM with series of concerts and documentaries.

Youth Music was set up in 1999 with National Lottery money provided through Arts Council England. It supports three million young musicians.

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