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Tune in to music for all

People from all sectors of youth music are gathering to explore ways to improve their work, writes Kenny Mathieson

Rock and pop and music for under-5s will come under the spotlight at a two-day conference in Glasgow this month to explore ways of taking music education forward.

The conference, From Nappies to Napster, is being organised by Youth Music UK, in association with the Scottish Arts Council, as part of Scotland's youth music initiative and is aimed at people who work with children in formal and informal education sectors.

"One of our main aims is to increase networking opportunities for people who are involved in youth music," says Nicola Killean of Youth Music UK, "and we hope to see partnership working developing out of those connections.

"We want to raise awareness of the high quality work that is going on and give people ideas and standards to aim at.

"As well as teachers, we hope to attract project managers, musicians, students or graduates who are interested or involved in working with young people, and also cultural co-ordinators and arts development officers."

The first day of the conference, May 17, will focus on rock and pop music and be held at the Barrowland Ballroom, with places for 150 delegates; the second day will be devoted to early years, with places for 100 at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Both were identified as areas of need in What's Going On?, a national audit of youth music in Scotland published by the SAC in 2003.

Youth Music UK has funded 10 exemplar projects - five in rock and five in early years - and the conference will give a chance to review the progress of these. As well as discussions and speeches, there will be workshops led by key figures, such as the music animateur Paul Rissman, the artistic director of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, Christopher Bell, and singersongwriters. There will also be performances.

Ms Killean, who trained as a teacher and has worked in nursery, was a cultural co-ordinator for South Lanarkshire before taking up the recently created post of development officer in Scotland for Youth Music UK.

"My remit is to gather information about youth music organisations across Scotland, focusing on the informal and community sector, but also making links with formal education," she explains.

From Nappies to Napster, May 17-18 One day, pound;30; both days pound;50 Details at

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