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November 24, 2005

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Setting the tone and beating the drum

Delegates at Sound Off were given a rousing challenge by the safety minister and the full force of powerful percussion at the start of an illuminating two days.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath opened the conference by announcing government support for the revised noise regulations, and challenging UK businesses to comply before the deadline.

“Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable but the damage is irreversible,” he told the conference — words that were reinforced by other speakers throughout the two days.

On Day Two, Evelyn Glennie OBE gave a personal perspective of the issues surrounding musical performance and sound, which addressed the challenges facing the music and leisure industries. The world’s first solo percussionist, and leading campaigner for music in education, Evelyn thrilled delegates by giving a dramatic performance on a snare drum.

She called for better musical education, stating: “We need a Jamie Oliver for music within schools to get young people away from their junk food diet of synthetic music.” Evelyn’s perspective highlighted the need for a greater understanding of how musicians work with sound, and how the very concept of ‘noise’ is not well received.

Musicians must balance dedication to their work with the need to protect themselves and their audience from dangerous levels of sound. The revised regulations pose a very unique set of challenges for musicians and those who work with them.

The issue of education and the revised noise regulations were also common themes throughout the conference.

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