By Will Broaddus
---- — Editor's note: The following article has been edited from its original publication to reflect a correction. The article gave an incorrect date for the next session. That will be Saturday, April 20.
The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival is bringing music to the Salem Public Library, and you won’t hear any librarians saying “Shhhh!”
“They had the idea for the program,” said Tricia Allen, head of the children’s department at the library. “They approached me in January about collaborating.”
The program, MusicKidz, will hold one Saturday class per month through May, teaching music basics to children from kindergarten through the fifth grade.
February’s program was called “Rockin’ and Rhythm: A Lesson in Percussion,” and the next class will be held Saturday, April 20, from 2 to 3 p.m. Children can sign up at the library.
Salem Jazz and Soul, which hosts free jazz performances in Salem all summer — culminating in a main, weekendlong festival in August — is donating the funds.
“The library is dedicated to offering all free programming,” Allen said. “That has been a hurdle to offering music programs — they have been prohibitive.”
The Salem library does host a three-week music program during the summer, a “get up and move, preschool-type” program for children 2 and older. But MusicKidz will be the only music program held at the library during the school year.
Another partner, Salem State, is enlisting music and education students to lead the classes, which last about an hour.
“What I love about MusicKidz is, it is actually instrumental instruction,” Allen said.
While the children’s department hosts reading groups, book clubs and story times all year long, for ages ranging from 18 months to young adults, they try to offer range of options.
“Although we do encourage all children to read, that’s not our primary role,” said Allen, who has worked at the Salem Public Library for five years. “We’re a community service. We provide information and opportunity for everyone in the community.”