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Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2006, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Schools rock to music masterclass
By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Artists taking part in National Music Week
Ten up-and-coming artists are at the heart of the week's activities
Music is taking centre stage in schools across the UK as pupils get into the swing of the first National Music Week.

Some 1.3m children from 2,000 schools are taking part in lessons and concerts intended to improve their knowledge and appreciation of music.

Record labels have picked 10 new acts from a range of musical styles to be at the heart of the week's activities.

Songs by those acts are being used in lessons to learn about songwriting, remixing and radio promotion.

Another lesson plan calls on students to stage a mock trial to learn the rights and wrongs of music file-sharing.

The scheme is being launched on Monday with a concert by former Busted star Matt Willis and classical sensations All Angels, who are among the 10 artists involved.

Ex-Busted star Matt Willis
Ex-Busted star Matt Willis is launching a solo career

Other acts on the list include Rock School star Lil' Chris, ex-Big Brovaz rapper Mr Skillz and Mercury-nominated folk musician Seth Lakeman.

Pupils will also receive tokens to exchange for a CD single by their favourite artist from the list.

They can hand over the tokens at 2,500 participating retailers, with their choices counting towards a "schools top 10".

Schools are also staging their own events - from X Factor-style talent contests and music quizzes to busking teachers and lunchtime concerts.

It's not about flogging their latest single, it's about being part of a broader campaign
Marc Jaffrey
Music Manifesto
Marc Jaffrey from the government-backed Music Manifesto, which is supporting the scheme, said National Music Week was having an "unprecedented impact".

"There's a real desire to explore listening," he told the BBC News website.

"Young people have thousands of songs in their pockets in their iPods but the question we have is - how well are they being supported to really hear what they're listening to?

"At the heart of music making is the capacity to really hear rhythm, to hear harmony, to hear melody, and to really consider their own judgements."

'Broader campaign'

National Music Week is not a marketing exercise for record labels, who are donating resources for free, " added Mr Jaffrey.

"This is a campaign developed with some of the leading music educators in the country," he said.

"No artist is gaining anything from this. Yes they're getting publicity, yes they're talking directly to young people, but they do that week in, week out. They don't need schools to do that.

Folk singer Seth Lakeman
Folk singer Seth Lakeman has been nominated for the Mercury Prize
"It's not about flogging their latest single, it's about being part of a broader campaign about listening and backing it up with quality resources."

National Music Week is being staged by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which represents record labels, and the Entertainment Retailers' Association as well as the Music Manifesto.

A spokesman for the BPI, which also supports the Brit performing arts school, said: "We want schoolchildren to be involved in music education because it gives them a greater understanding and appreciation of music.

"While there are promotional benefits, that isn't the raison d'etre for the campaign.

"The fact that 2,000 schools nationwide have signed up for this and the involvement of the Music Manifesto underlines the educational merits of National Music Week," he added.

'Mercury Prize for kids' launched
12 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
School music lessons 'manifesto'
06 Jul 04 |  Education

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