Did you ever want to try out several instruments before joining the school band? The Timberlane Regional School District is offering that opportunity to second-, third- and fourth-graders through its Start Up Band & Strings Program on June 14-16.

Debbie Lincoln, a music teacher at Pollard School in Plaistow, said the program has been around for more than a decade and gives students a chance to try multiple instruments before committing to the cost of obtaining one and playing in a school band.

"We always have kids who were switching instruments and dropping out of the band," Lincoln said. "The music company came to us and said, 'Why don't we let the kids try these instruments out?"'

Students from Pollard, Danville Elementary, Atkinson Academy, Sandown North and Sandown Central schools meet at the Timberlane Performing Arts Center to try more than a dozen different instruments. Last year, nearly 150 children participated.

One of those students was Andrew Trasatti, a fourth-grader at Atkinson Academy. Andrew's mother, Karen Trasatti, said her son had never played an instrument before but tried three different ones before settling on a trumpet.

"It was his first time," she said. "He's a new band member, and it was a comfort thing."

Students have the opportunity to learn the instruments from the district's music teachers. Trasatti said the instructors were very helpful to children and parents.

"It's a great opportunity to look around and see what's there," she said.

The program consists of three two-hour sessions that give students about 30 minutes to try instruments that intrigue them. Lincoln said the program gives students ample time to learn new instruments while also providing the opportunity for them to come back during other sessions to try more.

WANT TO PARTICIPATE? WHEN: June 14-16, from 5 to 7 p.m. each day

WHERE: Timberlane Performing Arts Center, 40 Greenough Road, Plaistow

WHAT: Students can try violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, oboe, alto, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, trombone and percussion.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? E-mail Marjorie Nelson at marjorie.nelson@timberlane.net or Kimberly Cook at kimberly.cook@timberlane.net. You may also call Lynn Mastorakos at 382-6541, ext 283.

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