Mini moguls chase Cowell's crown

Would-be teenage Harvey Goldsmiths and Simon Cowells are to be encouraged to plan their music empires from the classroom.

The QuickStart Music scheme starting in September encourages pupils to run businesses like Live Aid rock promoter Goldsmith and Cowell, of Pop Idol fame.

Working in teams, students establish different music businesses, ranging from A and R to promotions and publishing. They then work together to make a CD and organise performances.

The 10-week course, aimed at 14 to 16-year-olds, is intended to be incorporated into lessons or to run as a Young Enterprise project.

Pupils have a weekly one-hour seminar run by someone in the music industry. Each session is themed to help teams with a different step in their business plans.

Feargal Sharkey, chairman of British Music Rights, said: "Music plays an extraordinary part in young people's lives. What self- respecting teenager doesn't want to sit behind a big desk, with a receding hairline and ponytail, being the next Simon Cowell? Selling music is much the same as selling anything else. It's about developing the basic abilities we all need as adults."

The scheme was piloted in several schools last year. At Bingley Grammar in Bradford, it culminated in a Battle of the Bands event.

Jonny Gore, a pupil, said: "The day of the gig was one of the most challenging days of my life."

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