New boost for young musicians

TURN up your potential. That is the invitation to young people in Suffolk dreaming of a career in the music industry following the launch of a unique and ground breaking new project in Ipswich.

TURN up your potential.

That is the invitation to young people in Suffolk dreaming of a career in the music industry following the launch of a unique and ground breaking new project in Ipswich.

The arrival of Amplifier was heralded at Ipswich Corn Exchange yesterday and will begin in earnest on Monday.

Speaking at the launch, Suffolk County Councillor Tony Lewis said: "Music is fantastic and this project is unbelievable when you look at the statistics, the amount of money and the fantastic opportunities it offers for young people to get engaged in creative work. This project speaks for itself."


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Amplifier is an £850,000 music development project, funded through a partnership between Arts Council East and all Suffolk's local authorities, and promises to deliver 700 music workshops a year for the next three years.

These workshops, to be held in every one of the county's government districts, are aimed at 11 to 25-year-olds and designed to cover every aspect of the music industry from performance to music technology, DJing to management, songwriting to business.

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And each workshop will be run by one of 40 tutors, all experienced within the music business themselves, who have been given basic teacher training at West Suffolk College to help them effectively pass on their knowledge.

Amplifier director Richard Brown, from the Cambridge Junction which is running the project, said: "We want to raise aspirations so young people here in Suffolk realise that they can go out there and become PR workers, they can run their own record label, they can become musicians, they can do what they want to do."

Amplifier has yet to start its programme of workshops but guests at the official project launch were treated to a sample of them following a performance by Bury St Edmunds musicians Seymour Glass and Greg McDonald who have been chosen as Amplifier role models.

And the project is already attracting attention from the music industry and other counties around the country alike.

Radio DJ Kevin Greening, who previously presented on Radio 1 with Zoe Ball and who now works on Xfm in London and Jazz FM, was at the launch to offer his support.

He said: "The timing couldn't be better as Suffolk has been put on the rock map by The Darkness. They have removed the stigma attached to rural counties that Suffolk and similar places have to live with. It's no longer naff to say you're a Suffolk band.

"Now you've got a fantastic chance to build on what's happened."

Peter Thornton, of Arts Council England, added: "We know that people have got their eyes on Suffolk."

Yesterday's launch ended with a live evening gig at the Corn Exchange, featuring The Dawn Parade and Red Light from Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich's No Routine and Hayze.

n Amplifier's workshops begin on Monday. For the full programme of workshops on offer visit www.amplifiersuffolk.co.uk. To book a place contact the Cambridge Junction box office on 01223 511511. Alternately turn up on the door. Each two-hour workshop costs £5.

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