Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Saturday, 21 June 2008 15:59 UK

Musical project to reduce crime

Simon Bolivar National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela (AFP)
The "El Sistema" programme has been credited with reducing youth crime

Children in Bristol have been chosen to take part in a musical project which aims to help prevent young people choosing a life of crime.

The "In Harmony" scheme will be led by cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and is based on a Venezuelan idea which uses orchestras to help poorer children.

It is part of a government plan for all primary aged pupils in England to have a year's free music tuition by 2011.

The programme will begin at the Colston Hall later this year.

'As young as four'

The project is based on the south American "El Sistema" programme which has been credited with reducing school drop-out rates, drug abuse and criminality among young people in Venezuela.

Schools Minister Lord Adonis said: "Music teaches discipline and rigour, it raises hopes and aspirations, it is a source of pleasure and enjoyment and it also gives young people skills that will stay with them for life.

"Our new programme, 'In Harmony', will introduce children as young as four to the family of the orchestra."

Julian Lloyd Webber, who will chair the initiative, said: "Music has the power to transform young people's lives.

"All children should have the right to experience music and I am excited and passionate about this new way of making that happen."

Musical route to crime-free life
26 Jun 07 |  Tayside and Central

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific