April 20, 2021

Update From Director Marty Fort!

Watch the update video here! Or read the transcript below.

Hey everybody, it’s Marty Fort here, the Director of the Columbia Arts Academy, The Lexington School of Music, and the Irmo Music Academy. I want to thank you all so much. We reached another milestone. We’ve enrolled 1,500 students. So, thank you students for making that happen. Thank you to our teachers. Thank you to our amazing office staff. And as part of our give back to the community, last time we did give backs to local independent restaurants. This time, we’ve opted to give back to our local shelter, Pets Incorporated. We give them a check for 1,500 dollars to sponsor adoption fees and medical fees for the animals and their need and their mission.

And we’re doing a new thing with Pets Incorporated that we’re going to be sponsoring once a month medical fees for 1 animal. So, they’re going to go out and post on their Facebook page which animal has needs, what their medical needs are, and we’re going to provide 300 dollars every single month. So, you literally can impact an animal’s life to help them get the medical attention they need and then maybe adopt them. So, be checking that out and watching our Facebook page, watching our emails. We’re happy again to partner again with Pets Inc at petsinc.org.

So, we’re expecting a very busy summer season this year for a variety of factors. One of the main ones being that even though 80 percent of our students have been back in person for a long time, we’re going to have a lot of new students that have been cooped up and they’re ready to come back and get in person lessons. So, we’re expecting a jamming summer session. What does that mean to you? Well, a lot of our teachers are already full. They have no spots available. Even though we do have some availability at each of our 3 locations, it just varies location to location and instrument to instrument. So, the big thing is what we don’t want to happen is somebody leaves for summer, they try to call us back in August and we have no spots for them. That’s the scenario we want to avoid. So, remember, if you’re a current student or if you want to come on and join us, this is the way we could help you for the summer so that you can keep your day and time with your teacher when August resumes.

We have 4 great options for you. 1, you’re welcome to Zoom in for your lesson. 2, you’re welcome to get a prerecorded makeup for your lesson with advanced notice. 3, you’re welcome to take advantage of our group makeup offerings and 4, you can sub lease your spot to a family member or friend. But the big thing is, enjoy your summer. Go to the beach for a week, whatever it is you’re going to do and travel. Have a great time. But don’t lose your spot with your teacher by withdrawing because you want to keep that spot, especially a prime time spot between the hours of 3:30 and 7:30. Those are the spots that are in the most demand. So, take advantage of our summer make up options. Get ahold of the office and they can tell you more.

We have some awesome news for you parents that have young children or you grandparents that have young grandchildren. For years, we’ve gotten requests for lessons for 2 year olds, 3 year olds, 4 year olds, 5 year olds and we didn’t really have any options for them, except for when they started to turn 4 and 5 to get them into piano, something like that. We are now licensees with Music Fun Time. Now, this is an international program. We do 15 minute private lessons for children ages 2 and up. So, contact the office if you have a young child or a young grandchild. We’d love to tell you more about Music Fun Time for your young one. It’s just a month to month program, but come on board. It’s awesome and it’s 1st come, 1st serve. So, go and get your spot now for the young ones for Music Fun Time.

Having done this now for 18 years, one of the things I love about being a Director of the schools is working with new teachers and of course, I want to congratulate all of our teachers that have been with us 10 years, 15 years. We appreciate you so much. We’re actually having a teacher Zoom party coming up because we can’t all gather in a huge group quite yet, although we’re getting there. The vaccines are coming out. We’re so appreciative and thankful for that blessing. But we’re going to be coming together on Zoom to meet with our teachers. But one of the things we’re excited about is all the new teachers. So, if you’re a new teacher and you’re watching this, we welcome you. We’re so excited. We brought on another 10 new teachers from all around the country. They’re excited to be here and they’re having a great time. So, come check out the new teachers at all 3 of our locations.

We’re also excited for everybody that’s volunteered to be in our outdoor recital at the Koger Center for the Arts on the front lawn Saturday, May the 8th. We’re doing a safe outdoor recital. It’s going to be volunteer only, but we’ve already got a great list. We’re going to have a backing band. We’re going to rock out. It’s going to be in mid-afternoon, so bring a picnic blanket and we’ve got a family friendly pre-show story time with Cocky’s Reading Express. How cool is that?

And this year is already flying by. I can’t believe we’re in spring. August, like I said, is going to be here before we know it and we are hitting the road this August to go to Cleveland, Ohio. Our students and teachers are performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also, my band, the Capitol City Playboys is going to be performing and I’ve got a very special announcement that Hot Lava Monster is going to be getting back together and Hot Lava Monster is going to be performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It doesn’t get any better than that. So, guys, come join us in Cleveland. We’re going to be doing a live stream from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, if you’d like to come in person, you’re welcome to do that. Tour the museum and then come see the show. But check us out and if you’d like to perform, we still have spots available. So, if you or your child would like to perform in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with us, contact the office for more information.

One of the things we love to do in all 3 of our locations is implement new things, bring you new programing, bring you new stuff to do as a music student. And one of the things that’s been a huge hit this year has been our Practice Champ Challenge. It’s part of the Musical Ladder System, which is used by 40,000 students in over a hundred schools all around the world and it was invented right here at the Columbia Arts Academy. The Practice Champ Challenge is simple. If your child goes to the Zoom practice rooms, we have practice proctors with them live, they earn points and they can get Practice Champ Challenge bands. So, contact the office. They’ll send you some more information on Practice Champ Challenge. It’s fantastic for the parents. If you’re trying to make dinner, if you’re busy and you need your child to go to do practice Zoom, we’ve got it set up for you and it’s free for our clients. So, check out the Practice Champ Challenge only available at the Columbia Arts Academy, Lexington School of Music, and the Irmo Music Academy.

So, Marty Fort signing off here. I’ll see you at the next video update. I can not wait to see you all at the May 8th recital at the Koger Center, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, either live streaming with us or in person. And we’re going to back at the Center for the Arts in October. It’s at the large orchestra room inside and also, we’re going to be at the Koger Center for the Arts in the large orchestra room in February of 2022 inside the large orchestra room. So, God bless you all. Let’s keep making music at the Columbia Arts Academy, the Lexington School of Music, and the Irmo Music Academy.

Musical Ladder System® Achievements!

The Columbia Arts Academy, Lexington School of Music & Irmo Music Academy are the only music schools in the Midlands that gives their students the opportunity to earn special color wristband bracelets (kids and teens love them!), trophies AND certificates for passing musical tests with the Musical Ladder System®. It was actually created by academy Director Marty Fort. It has been awarded multiple patents and is being used by schools nationwide.

Do other schools offer trophies and certificates? A few. But none of them inspire their students with smiling faces by giving them full color, really cool "Musical Ladder System®" wristbands that they can show off to their friends.

Welcome New Students!

Please Welcome the our new students who registered in March!

Listen to the Columbia Arts Academy® Podcast!

Check out the Columbia Arts Academy® Podcast! On these podcasts, Academy Director Marty Fort will bring you interviews with guest experts in the music education field, features with parents and students at the school and more. He is the inventor of the MUSICAL Ladder System used by almost 50,000 students at over 100 music schools, and the author of the number one Amazon best selling book the Ultimate Guide to Music Lessons.

On the latest episode Mr. Fort speaks with Assistant Director Caitlyn Shealy. She has worked at the schools since 2018. On this episode she talks about the latest and greatest at all three schools, how things went during COVID and what's ahead. Caitlyn loves animals, art, and anything you can consider a ‘project’. She also plays ukulele and sings a little when no one is listening.

Click Here to Listen!

Is Your Teacher Sold Out?

Many teachers have sold out. If you need a schedule change or would like to be added to a waiting list for a particular teacher, day or time, please contact any of our office staff team and they can add you to the waiting list. If you are not a student yet there are still limited lessons spots available.


Outdoor Performance @ The Koger Center

Sat, May 8th, 2021

Summer Break | Closed

July 3, 2021 - July 6, 2021

Performance @ The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Sat, August 7, 2021

Labor Day | Closed

September 6, 2021

2021 Fall Recitals | Week 1

October 16, 2021 - October 17, 2021

2021 Fall Recitals | Week 2

October 22, 2021 - October 24, 2021

Thanksgiving Break | Closed

Nov 23, 2021 - Nov 28, 2021

Winter Break | Closed

Dec 22, 2021 - Jan 1, 2022

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Lessons are first come, first serve, so contact us today to arrange your first lesson!

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Lessons are available seven days a week, and scheduled once a week. A one-time registration fee is $25 (due only at time of registration).

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