Arts Council England awards �2.3m to Norfolk County Council to create a music education hub

Every school child in Norfolk is to have the chance to learn a musical instrument from next year thanks to a successful �2.3m bid to boost music education in the county.

The county council has been given the money by the Arts Council England to develop one of 11 music education hubs in the eastern region. Suffolk County Music Service and Cambridgeshire County Council were also successful in bidding for grants.

The initiative aims to bring about a major change in the way music is taught across the country.

In Norfolk, the hub will bring together orchestras, choirs, schools, teachers and performers to boost music learning in all of the county's schools.

The �2.3m grant is set to be used in four key ways:

Giving every child aged five to 18 the chance to learn an instrument as part of weekly, whole class ensembles for a minimum of a term.

Regular singing opportunities including choirs and vocal ensembles for every pupil through a new 'singing strategy'.

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More opportunities for children to play in ensembles.

Making clear progression routes available and affordable to all young people.

Phil Hardy, deputy cabinet member for education at Norfolk County Council, said: 'We are fortunate to have a world class music service in Norfolk that enables thousands of children to develop their creative skills every year, working directly with schools and partner organisations.

'This is very significant funding, which will help to open the service up to even more children and young people, giving them the chance to learn musical instruments, as well as sing and perform. We know that music can help engage young people in learning by enhancing communication skills, improving listening skills and encouraging team work.'

The County Council's music service already works closely with groups including the Britten Sinfonia, Sing Up and the Voices Foundation. Its Youth Orchestra holds regular concerts and, over the last year, the county has joined up with young musicians in Serbia and Germany to develop an international Triorca orchestra.

Helen Lax, regional director for the Arts Council in the East, said: 'The 11 music education hubs that have been selected in the East will be instrumental in guaranteeing a rich and stimulating music education for every child and young person in the region.'

In total, a network of 122 music education hubs will be created with the aid of Arts Council funding.

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