PUPILS will get their first taste of stardom at a pop school this month.

Over the half-term holiday week, students will learn everything about the music industry, including image-building and business know-how to composing and recording songs.

The Pop School, at Shotton Hall Comprehensive, in Peterlee, from February 16 to 20, is being funded by Creative Partnerships and Youth Music.

Co-ordinator Jo Thornton, of the music development agency Generator, said: "It's a fantastic opportunity for the young people to explore the world of the music business.

"We steer well clear of the Pop Idol way of doing things, and have a lot of emphasis not only on composition but also on dance and business knowledge."

The youngsters will be divided into groups of four to five, and will work with musician Becky Owen, as well as dance and voice coaches.

A stylist will also help them learn about the importance of image.

The culmination of the week will be a live performance for friends and family, where young people will perform songs they have written and show off their dancing.

Katherine Pearson, the director of Creative Partnerships Sunderland and Durham, said: "The music industry is one of the most vibrant in the country, and has a huge fascination for young people.

"Pop School gives them a chance not only to learn how to perform, but also to do a lot of research and creative work finding out how the industry works and what it requires from its stars."

Published: 13/02/2004