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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
'Mercury Prize for kids' launched
Myleene Klass launches National Music Week
Musician Myleene Klass launched the prize in Pimlico School, London
The British recording industry has launched a "Mercury Prize for kids" in secondary schools across the UK.

The competition is part of National Music Week, a joint initiative between the government and the music industry to improve music education in schools.

Pupils will choose between 10 British artists from a variety of genres to decide the winner of the prize.

The result will be announced on 31 October, following National Music Week, which runs from 16-20 October.

Artists in competition for the award include former Busted star Matt Willis, soprano Natasha Marsh and folk singer Seth Lakeman.

Matt Willis
Pop star Matt Willis is one of the acts on the shortlist
The shortlist also features jazz musician Soweto Kinch, R&B trio Trinity Stone and star of the TV programme Rock School, L'il Chris.

Rounding off the list are 19-year-old rock singer Betty Curse, R&B star Keisha White, rapper Mr Skillz and classical vocal group All Angels.

"The quality and diversity of the acts unveiled today just goes to show how much young talent there is in the country," said musician Myleene Klass, launching the competition.

Free music

More than 1,700 secondary schools in England have already signed up for National Music Week.

They will be supplied with teaching material to help pupils enhance their appreciation of music, and to understand the workings of the recording industry.

Pupils will also receive a token, which they can exchange for a download or CD by one of the artists on the My Music prize shortlist.

Their choice will be counted as a vote for that artist, with the Cfficial UK Chart Company compiling a "schools' top 10" to decide the overall winner.

"To date most music education in schools has focused on teaching children to play instruments," said Peter Jamieson, chairman of the British Phonographic Industry.

"National Music Week is about exposing young people to a broad range of music and helping them to improve their listening skills."

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