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Nottingham will be first, swiftly followed by Hastings, Suffolk and Norfolk, the borough of Lambeth in south London and 16 other places in England, from Liverpool to Somerset. New sounds, in all styles of music, will soon be wafting out of buildings as diverse as Liverpool Tate, various schools, and St Mary-in-the-Castle arts centre in Hastings.

Sound Inventors is an unusual, year-long project to encourage young people to try their hands at composing music. Leading composers such as Joby Talbot, Stephen Montague and Alasdair Nicolson will hold training workshops for adults who lead or support music making (often, but not necessarily, teachers, as the scheme is meant to take place outside school) and run a five-day practical course for up to 70 young composers aged eight to 18. Two local composers will be involved at each venue and there will be post-course "surgeries" from the artistic team, and a public showcase.

The Society for the Promotion of New Music has become the first "strategic partner" of the Government's National Foundation for Youth Music which has funded the project to the tune of pound;637,800, with partnership funds of pound;63,000 from the Performing Rights Society Foundation.

Joby Talbot, winner of the Royal Television Society Award for best title music for the comedy series The League of Gentlemen, is looking forward to his time at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool in August. He has taught before, and been a member of a band, Divine Comedy, and plays a number of instruments. His definition of composing is "pushing back infinity", something better done, at least in the early stages, by hand. Work on the computer comes later.

Stephen Montague, who will be in Bury St Edmunds next month, is also enthusiastic. The places on his course could have been filled three times over. The organisers hope that the courses will influence hundreds of people, and that the scheme will continue beyond 2003 and spread to other parts of the UK. For information: www.soundinventors.org.uk

Among Youth Music's other initiatives this year is Song for Youth. A specially commissioned song, "Drop in the Ocean", will be available to schools, along with a teaching pack. The song will be performed at Westminster Abbey on March 11, to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee Commonwealth Day ceremony, from where it will be broadcast around the world. South African singer Sibongile Khumalo, soprano Lesley Garrett and the Abbey choir will join 1,000 children for the event. Information: www.youthmusic.org.uk

National Science Week begins today. Sinfonia 21 has combined art and science to develop a website for primary schools to help children use digital technology in composition. Four schools are working directly with Sinfonia 21 to create music with electro-acoustic software, and learn some physics at the same time. Information: www.sinfonia21.co.uk

School experience is infinitely variable, of course. Lindsay Anderson's legendary 1969 account of rebellion in a repressive boarding school, If, retains its power as a metaphor for disaffection in society, with Malcolm McDowell still mesmerising as the ringleader, Travis. Look out for David Wood as his sidekick Johnny. This is the same David Wood who went on to write dozens of charming children's plays, usually advocating the importance of people getting on well together. Re-released in selected cinemas from today, If will also be out soon on DVD, making it a useful, if inflammatory, tool for citizenship classes. Schools may be more benign places these days, but life on the streets is probably less comfortable for the young than when the film was made. Information: www.bfi.org.ukif

For younger audiences in search of a frisson of pleasurable anxiety, a dramatised version of Roald Dahl's BFG is touring the country. As it visits a different town for a week at a time until August, few will be denied the opportunity to see the big-eared chap (looking suspiciously like Dahl himself in Quentin Blake's original illustrations) with a good line in noisy indigestion - whizz-poppers. Tour details: 01608 661198; www.thebfg.uk.com

Another tour for very young theatre-goers - three to eight-year-olds - is in Guildford today and travelling to venues in the south and east of England until June. Very Yellow by Yolande Snaith is described as "theatredance" and celebrates colour and movement. It is raining custard cats and dandelion dogs when the king and queen begin their day with a banana butterscotch breakfast. But what lies beyond the double yellow lines of the buttercup kingdom?

Young dancers can attend workshops during Offspring at the Place in London over Easter. As well as Very Yellow, there will also be performances by Aracaladanza, a Madrid-based company specialising in children's dance, while Fresh mixes extracts from the work of leading dance companies with DJ music in the theatre bar. Information: 020 7380 1268; www.theplace.org.uk

Not so much music or dance, more a phenomenon, Stomp is again demonstrating the musical attributes of kitchen sinks, brooms, junk and clutter. This unique, rhythmic entertainment is now famous all over the globe and can be experienced in Plymouth, Sunderland, Salford and Brighton before arriving at Sadler's Wells in London on April 2. Information: www.stomp.co.uk

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