SEARSMONT — Searsmont Town Library and Belfast Flying Shoes are launching the Tri-Town Music Program this April. Aimed at giving students in grades 2 through 5 more access to musical learning and experience, the Tri-Town Music Program will run after school on Mondays and Wednesdays for six weeks from April 25 to June 6.

In order to provide a quality musical experience for each participant, space is limited. Parents of interested students should complete an application form available at Ames School or the Searsmont Town Library. Permanent residency in Searsmont, Morrill or Belmont is required. Applications are due by April 1.

“Research indicates that young people who engage in musical activity benefit in their personal growth as well as the development of functions in both sides of the brain. Learning to play music makes all learning easier,” said Library Director Steven Brown. “But there’s a problem: musical education is limited in the school system and access to private instruction is often impossible for less-affluent households.” The Tri-Town Music Program aims to decrease those gaps by providing these free, weekly, small group classes.

Teachers Jeff Densmore (percussion for grades 2 and 3) and Jennifer Armstrong (ukulele for grades 4 and 5) will lead the inaugural semester. A team of retired educators from the community and Brown, who has a background in music performance, will assist the instructors. “Besides being gifted performers, Jeff and Jennifer have extensive teaching experience,” said Chrissy Fowler of Belfast Flying Shoes. “We’re thrilled that this fantastic new program at the library will tap their skills and talents, and we’re equally excited about the community support from volunteers.”

Using grant monies and organizational funds, Searsmont Town Library and Belfast Flying Shoes have purchased ukuleles and a selection of hand drums. These library instruments will circulate much like books and movies. Brown said, “Learning to take care of musical instruments and library materials is another valuable lesson for young people. Because you’re borrowing an object from your neighbor — well, really, you’re borrowing from everyone in town — you learn to responsibly take care of someone else’s property.”

The Tri-Town Music Program is free of charge and made possible by the Maine Arts Commission, Belfast Flying Shoes, and the Friends of Searsmont Library.