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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Musical route to crime-free life
Venezuelan youth orchestra
A quarter of a million students in Venezuela take part in the project
A project which uses music in an attempt to steer deprived children away from a life of crime could be piloted in one of Stirling's poorest areas.

Raploch was chosen as the Scottish pilot for the "El Sistema" initiative following discussions between Stirling Council and the Scottish Arts Council.

El Sistema began on the street of Caracas, Venezuela, 32 years ago.

It gives children free access to musical instruments and has established a network of youth orchestras.

A quarter of a million students in Venezuela now take part in the programme, which has been hailed a huge success.

This project will be offered to children under five who will, over the five-year lifespan of the pilot, become peer trainers themselves
Susan Carragher
Head of libraries

The pilot project in Raploch would run for five years and would be headed by Richard Holloway, interim chairman of Creative Scotland.

Youngsters would be offered instruments and tuition after school in a studio at the new primary school/community education campus currently under construction.

Scholarships would also be on offer as well as free transport for youngsters performing in concerts.

A DVD of the project as it operates in Venezuela is being shown to residents in a bid to identify children and their families who would be interested in taking part.

Stirling councillors will be asked to approve the pilot project at a council meeting on Thursday.

'Scottish legislation'

In a report to the council Susan Carragher, head of libraries, learning, communities and culture, said the initiative would be community based.

"The Venezuelan approach involved very young children and it is proposed that this project will be offered to children under five who will, over the five-year lifespan of the pilot, become peer trainers themselves," she said.

"Whilst the pilot will follow the pure Venezuelan model, modifications may be necessary in Scotland to comply with legislation here."

If the pilot project is approved, it is expected to begin in August to coincide with a visit to Edinburgh by the Simon Bolivar Orchestra from Venezuela.




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