The Central Music Academy's mission is to provide quality musical training at no cost to financially disadvantaged children. CMA seeks to use the power of music and musical instruction to improve the lives of these at-risk youth.
Our curricular goals include building basic music appreciation, introducing world culture, providing a structured environment for high-risk children, and further developing self-discipline through instrument practice. The lessons students learn while studying music help them to be more precise, to be better listeners, to collaborate well with others, to express themselves, and to persevere when setting and achieving goals.
The Central Music Academy's long-term aim is to strengthen our community by reaching out to one child at a time. We hope to see our students become well-rounded individuals who, even if they do not choose to make their career in music, maintain a lifelong passion for, and connection with, the arts.
For more about CMA, please watch the videos below or call the CMA office at (859) 221-2190.
As an arts enrichment program, the Central Music Academy has provided free musical learning opportunities for more than 950 financially disadvantaged kids since 2005.
We currently partner with the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra, the Kentucky Arts Council, WUKY, Berklee City Music Network, LFUCG Partners for Youth, LexArts, the UK School of Music, the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Fayette County Public Schools.
We have been fortunate to collaborate with the National Symphony, the East End Association, the Carnegie Center, M.A.S.H. of the Bluegrass, the Downtown Lexington Corporation, the Salvation Army, Hurst Music, New Horizons Band, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, the Hispanic Education Association, the YMCA, the University of Kentucky Music Therapy program, and other neighborhood and community organizations.
Board of Directors
SCOTT PIERCE, CHAIRMAN
SEAN CUTSHALL, VICE CHAIRMAN
NATHAN JONES, SECRETARY
Pam Bridges, Treasurer
Past board members
CMA thanks these former board members for their time, commitment, and service:
WILLIAM ALVERSON, BEN ARNOLD, DON BARNEY, JOSÉ BRAS, ADELE BURT BROWN, JIM CECIL, KATE COVINGTON, JON ELLIOTT, AMELIA GROETSCH, PAM HAMMONDS, JOHN-MARK HACK, ROBIN HICKS, MARLON HURST, RHONDA JACKSON, JANE KELTON, DELMA PEOPLES, BRENDA PETERSON, LINDA REEB, HARRY RICHART, MICHAEL RINTAMAA, JOSHUA SANTANA, HOLLY SALISBURY, JANET SCOTT, SUGAR SLABAUGH, CAROL SPOTTS, FRANK SPRAGENS, PAULA TAYLOR, JOE TACKETT, GEORGE ZACK
The 125+ teachers who have taught at CMA over the years hold bachelor of music degrees from a number of conservatories and universities. Two-thirds of them have completed master’s or doctorate degrees in music, or are currently working on them. They hail from 26 different states and 15 different countries.
Erin Walker Bliss - Director
Erin Walker Bliss is on the world music faculty at the University of Kentucky. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees are from Northern Illinois University and DePaul University respectively, and she holds a Doctoral of Musical Arts Degree in percussion performance and a Ph.D.in Musicology/Ethnomusicology from the University of Kentucky. Erin has taught courses in music appreciation, jazz history, Asian music, and the history of rock at the University of Kentucky and was a temporary instructor at Northern Illinois University in the summer of 2007. She has also been on the teaching faculty at the Bands of America World Percussion Summer Symposium, the Yamaha Sounds of Summer Drum Camp, and the Birch Creek Music Center. As a percussionist with an extensive background in world music, Erin’s diverse musical interests have allowed her to travel to Korea, Trinidad, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Thailand, Canada, Croatia, and throughout the United States. She has recorded for Honeyrock Publications and Alfred Publications, and is a founding member of the nief-norf project, a contemporary music ensemble. Erin has worked at CMA since 2005.
Michelle Clouse - Assistant Director
Michelle Clouse, a native of Northern Kentucky, graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Michelle participated as a peer mentor for UK 101, an introductory class for incoming freshmen. She also was a site leader for UK FUSION, a program striving to bridge the gap between the University of Kentucky and the city of Lexington. Michelle also interned at Kentucky Education Television on the production of Where the River Bends,which was awarded two regional Emmys. Clouse completed an internship at Kentucky Refugee Ministries as a coordinator for World Refugee Day. She worked at the Singletary Center for the Arts for four years, being promoted three times to a house manager Level 1. Since 2006, Clouse has been the Assistant Director at the Central Music Academy.