While the air outside was warming with the summer sun, the air inside Brentwood Branch Library was warming with excitement as 11 children participated in a first-ever guitar lesson program at our library. Music filled the library twice a week for six weeks, thanks to a staff with big dreams and the generosity and resourcefulness of Friends of Brentwood Library founder Sharon Coon. It was a joy to watch this program unfold. The Friends purchased 10 guitars and paid for instructor Alexander Stoetzer, a junior at Jacksonville University, to teach guitar fundamentals, basic music theory, notes and strings.
We asked for parent involvement early on and were pleased to see the level of family commitment. A library staff member was always on hand for the classes to offer encouragement and make sure everything ran smoothly.
On the final day, the children and their teacher presented a wonderful mini concert, and the Friends surprised the children by giving them the guitar they had been using for practice, if they did not already own an instrument. Each child also went home with a music stand and a practice block. Children with their own guitars received gift cards for guitar strings.
People are already asking if we will offer the program again next summer. Of course, we would love to. The library provides a safe environment for youth to explore new skills and gain self-confidence. We will continue to look for grant opportunities and other funding so the program can continue.
To all of you in the community who support the Friends of Brentwood Branch Library and make programs like this possible, we thank you and wish you musical experiences of your own.