Update From Director Marty Fort!

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


Hey everybody, it’s Marty Fort here from the Columbia Arts Academy, Lexington School of Music, and the Irmo Music Academy. I want to wish everybody a Happy New Year and give you another update. I’ve been doing these updates every couple months just to let you know what’s going on with the latest and greatest at the schools. We appreciate your feedback and here’s what’s going on for 2021.

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for helping us to hit 1,400 students. We’ve been trying to hit that goal for years and we just hit that enrollment goal. So, we now have 1,400 students for all 3 schools combined. And a special thanks to everybody in Chapin, Irmo, and the Ballentine area for helping us to get to 300 students at our Irmo location; and that location is brand new, it’s only about 2 years old. So, we’re very proud of that.


We know a lot of people are struggling during this time. So, we decided to do a Give Back campaign and here’s what we’ve come up with. We talked to our friends that run independent local restaurants and the thing they said they needed help with is they said they needed people to buy gift certificates. So, to celebrate 1,400 students, we bought 1,400 dollars of gift certificates 3 times. Almost 5,000 dollars to Black Rooster, Bourbon, Mathias Sandwich Shop, Palmetto Pig, Blue Flour. So, come by, we have a prize wheel at each location. Spin the prize wheel. You can win gift certificates to each of those restaurants as well as hats, koozies, frisbees, all kinds of fun stuff. But we’re giving back to the independent restaurants with the almost 5,000 dollars we’ve invested back in them and ultimately, you, our clients, are going to get it by coming by, spinning the wheel and you get a prize. So, thank you again while we celebrate 1,400 students.

We are so excited about the return of live music in 2021. But to keep everybody safe for our staff, our students, and our teachers, we’re going to be going virtual for the March recital. We were going to be at the Koger Center for the Arts in the large orchestra room. But we’re going to make March virtual and we’re confident this will be the last time. We’re going to be back at the Koger Center for the Arts in person in the large orchestra room in October and we’ve already booked the Koger Center, the large orchestra room for February 2022. So, we can’t wait to see you guys all then.

And then, on Saturday, May the 8th, we’re doing a voluntary outdoor recital. This is going to be really cool; I’m so excited. On the outdoor lawn of the Koger Center; we’ll have blankets and people can bring their stuff and they’ll be able to see the show and sit on the lawn. We’ll have the stage outside on the brick, the front of the Koger Center. It’s voluntary. So, if you would like to perform, have your child perform, let the office know and we’ll give you more information. Saturday, May 8th for a voluntary outdoor safe recital.

And don’t forget August! We’re already booked to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Our students, teachers, and myself are going to be performing. We’ve still got room. If you would like to perform, if your child would like to perform, let the office know, and we’ll get you all the information so you can go rock out with us and say hello, Cleveland.

The Musical Ladder System is blowing up. We’ve got our 9 patents. We’re getting more and more students doing it every day and it was all founded right here at Columbia Arts Academy. And part of that is the Practice Champ Challenge. We have Practice Champ Challenge bands and we just released 4 or 5 new Practice Champ Challenge bands. We got posters up. So, be sure to ask your teacher, ask the office about them. But we’re here to inspire the students, children and adults, to practice more and the Practice Champ Challenge has got a patent pending. It’s taking off like a rocket. And we’re here to inspire you to do more with that. So, ask the office about the Practice Champ Challenge. It’s a really cool program to get excited about making music.

Busy parents, we know how it is. Sometimes, you’re just trying to get dinner made or you’ve got stuff that needs to be done and you want your child to practice. So, we’ve set up (free for our clients) practice Zoom rooms. It’s very easy. Just contact the office. They can get you the login information. They can also get you the schedule. But your child will log in. There’s a proctor there. They’ll practice. That’s a free service for you, our clients, to make it easier on everybody and we’re really excited about that new thing and it ties into the Practice Champ Challenge. So, be watching your email box. Be watching our Facebook page for all the information on the practice rooms, free for our clients with a live proctor and the Practice Champ Challenge.

We’re so thankful the vaccines are rolling out and we’re just ready for things to get back to normal, but we’re still staying strong. We’re asking everybody to wear their mask, stay 6 feet apart, wash their hands and part of that is I’ve launched the Safe Music Schools Program. So, I started safemusicschools.org, founded here at Columbia Arts Academy and it’s a pledge for music schools all over the world. We’ve already had hundreds of music schools take the pledge in less than 30 days representing almost 70,000 music students. We’re going for 100,000 music students.

And part of it is we made Sam, the Safe Bear. We want to get kids excited about being safe. So, the way Sam, the Safe Bear works is, is a cartoon. It’s a character. We have a basket of stickers at our office. When students arrive, they take their temperature, they wash their hands, they put on their mask, they get a sticker. Kids love it and it’s just something to make it PPE fun, if that’s possible. But we want to inspire the children to be safe. Sam, the Safe Bear, safemusicschools.org is taking off like a rocket and we’re excited about leading the way with that to keep everybody involved as safe as we can.

We’ve also invested in top of the line Ultravation Solaris technology at all three schools to give everyone here the best we can in air filtration and COVID protection. Solaris indoor air quality products bring outdoor-like while making the air healthier by removing allergens, germs, and airborne toxins in the HVAC airstream with UV technology with is helpful with COVID.

Thank you to our students. You are the heroes of 2020 for standing by us and a huge shout out as always to our office staff: Caitlyn, Alyssa, Sarah, Rebecca, Amanda, Hailey, Marissa. We greatly appreciate you for all you do. So, again, I can’t wait to see everybody in the next video update. Be on the lookout. Be watching your email box. Be watching your Facebook page. Enjoy the March virtual recitals. Come by. Spin the prize wheel. Get a gift certificate. Support your local independent restaurant and let’s put 2020 behind us by making music. Here’s to 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 January!

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

2021 Spring Recitals

March, Virtual Recitals

Spring Break | Closed

April 3, 2021 - April 9, 2021

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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