MANATEE — A children’s after-school program whose main focus is music is set to debut at First United Methodist Church in downtown Bradenton.
Kids Need Music will begin Aug. 23 at a cost of $50 per child a week.
“Our church has never done this before and we think it’s the only musical after-school program in Manatee County,” said Amanda Ferrer, director of the church’s after-school programs.
The program includes academic tutoring and homework help, crafts, computer workshops, cooking and snacks as well as music at 603 11th St. W., Bradenton.
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Students age 8 through 12 are eligible and church officials are encouraging parents of any faith to consider it for their children.
“We won’t be having chapel,” Ferrer said. “Every child is welcome. This is our gift to the community.
“This is a very affordable way to get music for your kids,” Ferrer added. “Music is proven to improve test scores in verbal and math.”
The church will pick children up at their school if there are sufficient enrollees there, Ferrer said.
The students will be in the church’s care 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, except earlier on Wednesday, when children are out of school around noon.
But from 4 to 5 p.m. each day, the students will break from other activities to have a lesson in voice, guitar, percussion, hand bells or piano from an accomplished musician, some of whom attended Julliard and Berklee schools of music, Ferrer said.
“Music develops the part of the brain that has to do with math, discipline, self-control and self-confidence,” said Cathy Dekker, who will teach her specialty, voice and chorus, on Thursdays.
“I think this program is wonderful because kids in it won’t be just playing on the playground or using their thumbs on an electronic game,” Dekker added. “They will be learning music, which creates friendships with others of the same interest. Kids practice together, sing together. It’s a built-in wholesome activity that can carry a child through high school and beyond.”
First United Methodist Church was founded in 1893 and is known for its music programs under music director Jim Johnston.
To sign up a student, or for information, call 747-4406, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be contacted at 748-0411, ext. 6686.