October 26, 2021

Update From Director Marty Fort!

Click to watch the update or read the transcript below:

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 video update. The big news is the Carolina Panthers in Lenovo had a competition called Empower Carolina, and it involved 300 businesses in North and South Carolina and Columbia Arts Academy, was one of the top 10 finalists, I got to go on the field at halftime at the Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers game. I’ve always been a huge Carolina Panthers fan and it was just so awesome for us to be recognized. I want to thank all of our teachers, all of our staff, and especially, you, our students that nominated us for that award. It was just an awesome thing.

What’s very cool is the Carolina Panthers came down to our location. Captain Munnerlyn came down. He gave us a big check worth 5,000 dollars in Lenovo credit for computers. We’re going to be able to buy new Wi-Fi mesh for the schools, new laptops for the schools and new tablets for the schools. That’s where that money is going to go in Lenovo credits. We’re so thankful for that and just so awesome. So, go Panthers and thanks for everybody that nominated us for that awesome award.

And it’s hard to believe our 20th anniversary is going to be coming up soon. But one of the favorite parts of my job is bringing on new teachers. We’re so excited. In the past 30 days, we brought on 10 wonderful new teachers from all over different parts of the country. There’s always people moving to Columbia that want to come and work for us. We’re so excited for that. Look out for the new teachers. You’ll see them in the hallways. Maybe they’re one of your teachers, and it’s vital that we’re always bringing in great new fresh talent to work at the 3 schools.

So, at our 3 locations, remember. We are one of the only schools in the midland that has full time office staff, 7 days a week to serve you. There’s always office staff present during lessons, so stop by and say hello to Sarah, Amanda, Hayley, Rebecca, Alyssa, and Jordan.

Podcasts are an interesting thing. Podcasts came out strong, then they kind of went away for a bit. But now, especially with COVID, podcasts have come back in a big way. So, check out the Columbia Arts Academy podcast. It’s a really good listen. We’re on all the major podcast outlets and you can get that on our website at columbiaartsacademy.com.

And we’re so excited for the return of live music.

We’re going to be at the Koger Center for the Arts in the Large Orchestra Room this February. So, if you or your child want to perform, the time is now to let the office and your teacher know that you want to be at the recital and we’ll see you at the Koger Center for the Arts this February. Can’t wait to get back to recitals again.

At our Columbia location, as many of you know, we are currently under the mask ordinance. When you come to your lesson, please wear your mask. We have free masks for you here in the office. We even have our own hand sanitizer with our logo on it. They’re free for you. our customers. Please come to your lesson with your mask. Let’s be safe and push through COVID.

One of the things that’s most important to me as Director of the schools is keeping our students and our staff and our teachers safe. I’ve launched a new initiative called familysafetyplan.org. This is a nationwide program. It’s a pledge that music schools take to keep their students safe by doing various security procedures. So, just having glass on every door, office staff present during every lesson, open door policy, background checks on every teacher, a lot of great stuff, and we’re very dedicated. We have a great track record of keeping our students safe because it’s so important to us. Check it out. It’s a great read, familysafetyplan.org.

Keep up with your Musical Ladder tests. The Musical Ladder System is a blast. If you’re not doing it yet, ask your teacher. Ask the office. But you want to get on the Musical Ladder, whether you’re a child or adult. What’s amazing to me, and not completely surprising, is adults love the Musical Ladder just as much, if not more so than the kids. We have a software portal. You can find out how your child is doing. Get updates. Get reminders for the tests. See where they are on the ladder and remember, this was founded here at Columbia Arts Academy. It’s now used by 124 schools around the world. 30,000 students. Musical Ladder System founded right here, Columbia Arts Academy.

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. To celebrate that, this October, we’ve got a great Halloween promotion for new students and for our current students. Here’s how it works. If you sign up before October 31st and you mention the Halloween special, you’ll get a free registration worth 25 dollars. You’ll get 25 dollars in retail credit towards our store, towards books, supplies, whatever you like and you’re going to get entered into the big drawing for the Halloween bundle.

That’s a hundred dollar Amazon gift card, goodies, candy, all kinds of great stuff. So, if you’re a new student, mention that special and you’re in. If you’re a current student, you’re automatically entered for the big drawing. We’re doing the big drawing for a hundred dollars, each location. Amazon, candy, all kinds of great stuff. But for anybody you refer to us before October 31st, we’ll give you an additional entry into the drawing. So, please refer your friends. We’ll get them in the drawing. We’ll get them in the drawing. We’ll get you in the drawing. Good luck to everybody and Happy Halloween.

We had a blast in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Check out this footage from the performance. Our students did great. Our teachers did great. I, Myself, had a blast playing on stage and we had a great time saying hello, Cleveland.

It’s my job as Director to keep stepping up our game and what we bring to our students. This April, we’re so excited. We’re hitting the road. We’re going to Memphis, Tennessee to perform at the Graceland Guest House. That’s on the Graceland Estate. Our students are going to be performing. Our teachers are going to be performing. I’m going to be performing. If you or your child want to perform, you can. Get ahold of the office. They’ll give you the details and we’ll see you at Graceland, performing at the Guest House at Graceland, April 2022.

Other big news. We’ve now reached over 200 5-star Google reviews. So, thank you, thank you, thank you to everybody that put in their reviews. That’s awesome. We so much appreciate it, but we want to get to 300 reviews. If you haven’t yet, please consider going to Google, giving us a review. We’d love your feedback and thank you so much again for helping us to get over 200 5-star Google reviews.

If you’re new or if you’ve been around the school for a while, be sure to get a copy of my book. This is an Amazon number 1 best seller. The Ultimate Guide to Music Lessons. It’s got great information for anybody interested in lessons, various instruments, the right time to start, what to buy because a lot of the times, parents are confused. They’re not really sure how to help their child. Adults want to get more out of their lessons and especially if you’re considering trying lessons, you need to get this information. It’s a quick read. It’s a great book, so check it out. If you come to the school, we’re happy to give you a free copy. Just contact our office. You can even call us. We’ll mail you a free copy, but check it out. The Ultimate Guide to Music Lessons.

I always like to close the video newsletters with words of thanks. 1st of all, I want to thank you, our students. I’ve always been a huge Kiss fan. I’m actually going to see them pretty soon. I’m excited about that. And Gene Simmons from Kiss has always said, without the fans, we’re nothing. And I’ve always said, without our students, we are nothing. So, thank you, thank you, students for sticking with us during the very difficult time. We’ve got more students than ever. We’re at 1,600 students. It’s a huge achievement. We’re going to go to 1,700 and keep rocking and keep bringing you the best.

Thank you, students. Thanks to our teachers. Welcome, to all of our new ones and thank you to all of our teachers that have been with us a long time. I’ve got so many teachers right now that have been with me for over 10 years, some for 15. Thank you, teachers, for all you do. You’re doing an A plus job and we really appreciate you. And again, to our rock star A team office staff, I call them the A team. Thank you so much to Alyssa, Amanda, Sarah, Rebecca, Hayley, and Jordan. We really appreciate you. They’re working hard in the office 7 days a week to serve you for whatever you need. So, reach out to us. Again, we’re the only school in the midlands who has full time office staff 7 days a week, morning until night to help you. So, thanks everybody. Let’s keep making great music and check us out at columbiaartsacademy.com.

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 September!

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.


Thanksgiving Break | Closed

Nov 23, 2021 - Nov 28, 2021

Winter Break | Closed

Dec 22, 2021 - Jan 1, 2022

2022 Winter Recitals | Week 1

Feb 17, 2022 - Feb 20, 2022

Koger Center for the Arts | Large Rehearsal Room

2022 Winter Recitals | Week 2

Feb 24, 2022 - Feb 27, 2022

Koger Center for the Arts | Large Rehearsal Room

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