April 27, 2022

Update From Director Marty Fort!

Read the latest update from Director Marty Fort:

Hi everybody! It's Marty Fort here, director of the Columbia Arts Academy, the Lexington School of Music, and the Irmo Music Academy with another update. 

In case you missed it, our students, teachers, and the Capital City Playboys ROCKED the Guest House at GRACELAND in Memphis, Tennessee. Here's instructor Kaci Hill rocking Purple Rain with the band! Check out all of the photos from our concert on our website and find the video of the full performance on our YouTube! We can't wait to rock Carnegie Hall July 2023!

If you're not familiar with it, we are the home and founders of the Musical Ladder System®. Musical Ladder System® is something I created in 2014. It's got multiple design patents, and we just got a utility patent for our software and the Musical Ladder System®, and we got 129 schools around the world that use that system, over 40,000 music students use it, but it was made right here in the Midlands at Columbia Arts Academy, Lexington School of Music, and the Irmo Music Academy.

I'm always trying to improve the Musical Ladder, and being a dad myself of a young child, I know how it goes. The kids love stuffed animals. What do parents want? Parents want their kids to practice more. Of course, teachers want their students to practice more. What we came up with is a new program called the Practice Buddies.

This is all free for you, our students. After your child passes their first apprentice test, which is a 90 day mark, they get the Practice Buddy of their choice. The concept is they take it home and they bring it to lessons. At home, one of the tips for you parents is to say, "Hey, go get your Practice Buddy. They're going to be sad if you don't play for them, go and play." But, we're really excited about this. I think it's really going to motivate the kids to practice even more and get better at learning music. Check out the Practice Buddy program, Musical Ladder System® at any of our three locations.

Once again, we're so excited for the return of live music, and in June, we're going to be doing our recitals at the Koger Center for the Arts in the large orchestra room in downtown Columbia. Be sure to join us for some great live music, there's going to be over 1,000 performances of all ages, all instruments. Come down to check it out in June at the Koger Center for the Arts.

I want to give a shout out to our teachers, many are celebrating their anniversaries with us. Next year is going to make 19 years in business for the Columbia Arts Academy, which I started just by myself with just me and 30 students.

We've now grown to become South Carolina's largest school with 1,600 students; 80 teachers, full office staff at each location, and so I want to give a shout out to all of our teachers, many that have been with us for 17 years, 15 years, 10 years.  

Congratulations, teachers, and here's to many, many more.  

Also want to give a shout out to all of our new teachers. As director, I love seeing new talent come in to teach. They're fresh and excited to be here, so welcome to all of our teachers whether they are celebrating their anniversaries with us or the ones that are brand new. 

I want to give a big shout out to our teachers. Our teachers are working very hard seven days a week. They're doing a great job. They're getting the Musical Ladder test going, they're getting everybody ready for the recitals in June. Teachers, thank you for all that you do.

Don't forget about our referral program. If you refer a friend or family member to us, we'll give you your choice of one of three gift cards: $25 to Target, $25 to Amazon or $25 to the movies, whichever you prefer. We'll also do the same for the person that you referred, and both of you get entered into the big drawing that right now we're doing for an Apple iPad. Be sure to refer your family and friends, and thank you for your referrals.

We were blown away by the response to our Irmo Music Kids Day. We had over 75 people show up. It was an amazing event, and we’re also doing it at our schools for  Lexington Music Kids Day and Columbia Music Kids Day, so watch out for the dates coming up.

It's a really cool, FREE event, will be on an upcoming Sunday afternoon. We have face painting, we have a balloon artist, free mini lessons, demos with the teachers, we have an instrument petting zoo. The instrument petting zoo is always a huge hit. We're giving tours and we're raffling off all kinds of great door prizes, free lessons, instruments. Come down, bring your kids to the Lexington and Columbia Music Kids Day coming up soon. 

I’ve run the schools for almost 19 years now, but having been a teacher for 35 I will say that student safety is of paramount importance to me. When I founded the schools and created the schools (even laid out the rooms), it was very important that we had safety in mind to keep the students safe. I've come up with a new nationwide initiative, called the FamilySafetyPlan.org and I encourage you to check it out.


Basically, my schools and other music schools around the country pledge to do certain protocols to keep our students safe. Namely, glass windows in every room, security cameras in every room, background checks on every teacher and staff member, and we have an office staff present at every time there's a lesson going on. Check us out at FamilySafetyPlan.org and know at my three schools, we're always dedicated to keeping our students safe.

We're one of the only schools in the Midlands that has full time office staff. I want to thank our office staff that's also working very, very hard seven days a week, and I greatly appreciate all of them: Julia, Alyssa, Amanda, Finn, Sarah, Rebecca, Brenna, and Marissa. If you see them at the desk, and they make your day, let us know!

They do an amazing job, so thank you office staff.

Finally, of course we want to thank our students. I've said this many times, but I'll say it forever, really. I'm a big Kiss fan. Gene Simmons from Kiss always said without the fans, they're nothing. Without the students, I've always said, we are nothing. Thank you, students, for sticking by us, for referring your friends, and helping us get to 2,000 students for all three locations. God bless you guys, and we'll see you next time at the Irmo Music Academy, the Lexington School of Music and the Columbia Arts 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 April!

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.

UPCOMING DATES


Memorial Day | Closed

May 30, 2022


2022 Summer Recitals

June 15, 2022 to June 19, 2022

Koger Center for the Arts | Large Rehearsal Room


Summer Break | Closed

July 3rd, 2022 to July 7th, 2022


Thanksgiving Break | Closed

Nov 22nd, 2022 to Nov 27th, 2022


Winter Break | Closed

Dec 22nd, 2022 to Jan 1st, 2023


2023 Winter Recitals

Jan 18, 2023 to Jan 22, 2023

Koger Center for the Arts | Large Rehearsal Room

It's easy to take the first step.

Ready to start? You have nothing to lose.

Sign up is easy and parent-friendly, with helpful staff at the front desk seven days a week to serve you. Because we only offer lessons on a month-to-month basis, there are no large upfront payments, no complicated contracts, no annual material or performance fees, and no semester minimums.

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

pricing
$32.50 / 30 minutes

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).

Request Info