Franklin County Public Library’s Music as a Second Language (MSL) will be offering another opportunity for Franklin County students ages 10 to 17.

Sign up for this program will begin Sept. 19 to 24 at both branches, because of the generous donations of Rock by the Sea (RBTS), Now I Play Along Too (NIPAT), and the Friends of Franklin County Public Library. Each of these organizations have afforded the library the opportunity to offer free music lessons to students who may wish to learn how to play either the acoustic guitar, drum, electric guitar, piano keyboard, xylophone, or voice instructions. The NIPAT organization donated instruments in 2015 that will be available for the 2016 season of lessons that start in mid-October.

Parents and caregivers of potential MSL students can sign up at either the Carrabelle or Eastpoint branches of the Franklin County Public Library during library hours from Monday, Sept. 19 to Saturday, Sept. 24. They will be contacted within the following week to arrange for an interview date and time with some of the music instructors who will explain how the program works and the opportunity to take part in the program.

During the 2015-16 music program, students in Eastpoint and Carrabelle received lessons after school, at their respective libraries from experienced music teachers, for approximately 24 weeks. Each student was given a loaner instrument to take home for practice purposes and any necessary items including tuners, book, case etc. There are a limited number of instruments which limits the rate of acceptance to the program. However, the library will accept donated instruments that are in very good condition. Students interested in receiving voice lessons would receive coaching from local singer Tony Partington, who received his training in opera. However, his expertise and love of music can be shown to students wishing to improve their singing if they so desire.

County Commissioner Rick Watson is heavily involved with the Rock by the Sea organization from St. George Island. This group, through fundraising efforts with golf tournaments and concerts, uses portions of proceeds to assist many non-profit organizations such as cancer research and our local library in programs to benefit the youth. In June 2016, the Friends of FCPL was given a check for $10,000, to be used for $5,000 in the Summer Reading program and $5,000 for the Music as a Second Language. Small stipends are paid to the music teachers that use their time and talent to teach students at the library. The Friends of the Library also purchased additional needs for the music program including cases and speakers for some of the guitars.

The NIPAT group consists of musicians and professionals who have a great desire to expose youth of all ages the opportunity to learn a new instrument and find success. Many attribute academic success to students afforded the chance to learn music in some capacity, which offers each an opportunity to express without saying a word. One member of NIPAT is the group Melodime, who have performed at both branches of the library. Their free professional performances to the Franklin County youth were inspirational. The music group’s lead singer Bradley Rhodes was in attendance at the first recital of the MSL and proudly commented that they can’t wait to see how the students will perform next year.

The staff is excited for the continuation of this program as it brought a new element to the walls, the sound of music. If you have any questions about this program or any other library program, please call the Eastpoint Branch 670-8151 or the Carrabelle Branch 697-2366.