Reviews & Testimonials
Carolina Music Academy has not only provided me with a superior musical education, that has been beneficial both professionally and personally, but with a group of friends and mentors who I can and will rely on for the rest of my life.
Ben C., student, Carolina Music Academy
I had taken piano lessons until I reached high school. Although I always had a piano, I didn't play much as an adult. After I retired, I decided I might like to try piano lessons again. I was familiar with Carolina Music Academy, and one of my granddaughters was already taking piano and guitar lessons there. I asked English Morris, the Academy president, to suggest a teacher he thought I would enjoy, and he placed me with Robert Neese. This was in February, 2006 and I'm still taking and enjoying my lessons. It has been more fun and rewarding than I ever expected.
Martha B., student, Carolina Music Academy
Carolina Music Academy prepared me for college as an Organ Major, and for my lifetime career as the Director of Music in the Episcopal Church, first as a piano student, and then as an organ student, before going on to The University of South Carolina under scholarship.
As an alum of Carolina Music Academy, I was eager to sign my son up for piano lessons through the Academy! I knew he would receive quality instruction in the classical style, preparing him for whatever musical avenue he chooses in the future.
After four years with Robert Neese, my nine-year-old son Walker has gained poise at the piano bench, and a proficiency that is a joy to watch. He is even composing his own pieces with Mr. Neese! He experiements with sounds and keys, while remaining dedicated to practicing the mechanics of the piano. I recommend Carolina Music Academy to everyone I can!
Laura R., former student, student parent
By: Sarah Massengale, Carolina Music Academy Marketing Intern
In addition to the CMA faculty spotlight, we would like to give faculty, other students and friends of CMA a chance to get to know our students. This week,Sam Webber has graciously offered his time so that we might learn a little more about him.
Q: Do you have a background in music, or is this your first experience? If you do have a musical background, tell me a little bit about that.
A: "My first experience with music was playing a trumpet during my school days. I always had an interest in music and also participated in choir for anumber of years. My favorite instrument has always been the piano, and I loved that my grandmother could sit down at our family piano and just startplaying. Looking back as an adult, I really wish I would have taken up playing the piano when I was younger, but I'm grateful to have had the chance tobegin studying my favorite instrument, even if it is a little later than I'd expected."
Q: What are you studying at CMA?
A: "Inspired by my grandmother, and my own love of the piano, I am taking piano lessons. I was fortunate enough to be placed with Robert Neese, with whom Ivery much enjoy working."
Q: What made you decide to study music:
A: "As an adult, I reached the point in life where I felt that I truly had the time to invest in myself and my desire to play the piano. So, it only seemedright that I should come to realize my dream of playing and seek out a piano teacher."
Q: What are some of your favorite memories of the time you've studied music
A: "My very first piano teacher had me learn the piece "Dark Eyes", and after months of practice, I was able to play the piece through without a singlestop. It was such a wonderful feeling to be able to reach my goal and truly play the piano! To actually know that I could do it, that I could play a pieceon the piano, reading the music and getting my fingers to follow what I read. It was amazing!"
Q: What do you consider one of your greatest musical accomplishments?
A: "My determination to continue studying music. I haven't always had the greatest support system, and for a long time, I didn't pursue my goal. Once Imoved across the country though, I found the strength and also found a wife who supports me in my musical interest."
Q: What made you choose CMA as the place where you wanted to study?
A: "I originally chose CMA because it was the closest place to my home. I have since moved to Lexington, but I continue to go to CMA because of my pianoteacher Robert Neese. He is a wonderful teacher, and I have learned a lot from him. I hope to be working with him for years to come.""
Q: In addition to music, what are some of your hobbies and interests:
A: "I'm a writer. I've written a couple books and have published articles in magazines. Professionally, I'm a Data Analyst, and I enjoy working with computer software."
Thank you, Sam, for taking the time to let the CMA family get to know you just a little better. It was truly a pleasure.
Where They Are Now
In this section e are highlighting past students of the Academy who have gone on to be successful in music.
Amelia Rollings, singer, voice teacher and voice researcher who got her start at Carolina Music Academy.
Amelia Rollings began her musical training in second grade at Carolina Music Academy. She studied piano with English Morris for nine years and Kalin Tchevnov for one year. After studying at Carolina Music Academy, Columbia College (Columbia, SC) accepted Ms. Rollings with a substantial music scholarship. She majored in Music Education with a piano emphasis. Through her training at Carolina Music Academy, Ms. Rollings was also prepared for the difficult coursework in music theory and ear training.
Her sophomore year, after working with mezzo-soprano Ann Benson (former faculty of Columbia College, current Artist in Residence at Coastal Carolina University), Ms. Rollings declared voice performance as a secondary major. Through her work with voice teachers Ann Benson and David Bankston (Coastal Carolina University), Ms. Rollings has become a sought after singer, voice teacher and voice researcher.
She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Vocal Pedagogy at The University of Kansas, where she is a Graduate Teaching Assistant. She received a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from The Pennsylvania State University as a prestigious University Graduate Fellow. She also holds degrees in Vocal Performance (B.M.) and Music Education (B.M.) cum laude from Columbia College in Columbia, SC.
A dramatic soprano and frequent performer of opera, recital and oratorio, Ms. Rollings recently performed as the soprano soloist in Requiem (Verdi),Magda Sorel in The Consul (Menotti), and the Witch in Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck). A multifaceted singer, Ms. Rollings has been seen in many musical theatre performances, including as a young artist with the Intermezzo Foundation in Brugge, Belgium, where she performed Saraghina in Nine (Maury Yeston). Upcoming performances include soprano chorus with Lyric Opera Kansas City and the role of Pirelli in Sweeney Todd with Lawrence Arts Center.
Ms. Rollings maintains an active voice studio and teaches both private and group voice lessons in Lawrence, KS; Columbia, SC; Myrtle Beach, SC and over the internet. She is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Her primary research interests include the female middle voice, group voice teaching, musical theatre voice pedagogy, and the effect of head position and other aspects of posture on singing. Recently, she presented a research study as faculty for the Voice Foundation in Philadelphia, PA and another research study at the Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium IX in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada.
When asked about her time at Carolina music Academy and how it prepared her for all that she has accomplished, Ms. Rollings told us:
Carolina Music Academy gave me the piano and music skills I needed as a growing musician, in order for me to continue my study of music in college and beyond.
Laura Rosier, former organ student of academy president English Morris, who is now serving as Director of Music for St. Michael and All Angels' Episcopal Church.
We asked Laura to share with us a bit about her musical experiences both before and after her time at Carolina Music Academy, and here’s what she had to say:
After beginning piano at age 6 with Isabelle Mauterer, I transitioned to lessons with English Morris, Academy President, in middle school. In tenth grade I began taking organ lessons exclusively from Mr. Morris, and I gave a senior recital the spring I graduated from high school at St. John's Episcopal Church. After receiving excellent training at the Academy, I was accepted as an Organ Performance major to the University of South Carolina under partial scholarship. At the same time, I began my first job as Assistant Organist at St. Michael and All Angels' Episcopal Church. Upon graduation from USC, I continued to take lessons occasionally from Mr. Morris. I have always been grateful for my strong foundation built at the Academy. I became Director of Music at St. Michael's and have been serving in this capacity for almost twenty years now in the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches. I develop Parish Choirs, Handbell Choirs, and Praise Choirs, and always enjoy the organist part of my jobs as well!
We went on to talk with Laura about her son Walker, who she has enrolled in the Academy as a piano student of Mr. Robert Neese. Excitedly, she explained to us that:
My husband and I enrolled our son, Walker, at the Academy as soon as we felt he was ready. He has been a student of Mr. Neese's for four years now, and he loves Mr. Neese and what he has learned! My hope is that he continues this for years to come. I recommend the Academy every chance I get for their quality staff, their credentials, and the commitment to excellence in music and helping to develop a love of it!
Thank you to Laura for taking the time to help us in putting together this first segment, and we wish her all the best, wherever her work in music may take her.