644 Georgetown St
Lexington KY 40508
Contact Information
Address 644 Georgetown St
Lexington, KY 40508
Phone (859) 221-4666
Fax 859 252-9287
Contact Name Erin Walker
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 2004
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer
If you would like to make a financial donation, please feel free to also donate through our website or make checks out to the Central Music Academy and mail them to:
644 Georgetown St.
Lexington, KY 40508.
To donate equipment or to volunteer time, please contact Erin Walker Bliss at 859.221.2190.
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Mission Statement

The Central Music Academy provides free music education for economically disadvantaged children who live in Lexington, Kentucky. CMA offers both private lessons and group classes. 100% of our students are low-income. 

Background Statement
As Lexington's only musical institution that focuses its entire efforts on providing free private music lessons to financially disadvantaged children, the Central Music Academy's overarching goal is to build personal capacity, discipline, musical skills, and self-esteem within at-risk youth. We pursue this objective through free music lessons taught by qualified instructors in all areas of musical performance including winds, percussion, voice, and strings.
The Central Music Academy is run by a doctoral student in music, and the board includes the former conductor of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and several music professors from the University of Kentucky. CMA has been fortunate to collaborate with a number of local organizations as we have expanded our outreach programs. These include the Fayette County Public Schools, the University of Kentucky, the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, the Downtown Lexington Corporation, LFUCG Partners for Youth, the YMCA of Central Kentucky, M.A.S.H. of the Bluegrass, LexArts, the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra, the Salvation Army, and the Carnegie Center.
To date, CMA's dedicated teachers have served over nine hundred and fifty students in private and group lessons. We focus our efforts on reaching out to the highest-need areas of the city's center, and many of our students come from schools where more than 80% of the students receive free/reduced lunches. Currently, we have 100 private students who take weekly half-hour private lessons at CMA. Our 27 faculty members give lessons on 18 different instruments. Since 2004, we have given more than 35,000 private lessons. These lessons promote excellent mentor-student relationships and allow instructors to focus on channeling each student's passion for musical performance. To give the students a chance to demonstrate their musical skills to their friends and family in a formal performance setting, we hold at least 6 recitals per year. CMA students also participate in one outreach event per year, where they perform for the community. Outreach performances are held each month.
The Central Music Academy's teachers also offer unique courses of study outside of regular private lessons. During the school year CMA has offered more than ten after-school steel band outreach classes where students study Caribbean music and culture while learning to play the Trinidadian steel drums. We have led group guitar classes, Bluegrass ensemble, jazz improvisation sessions and a clarinet choir. We also held a group class for children ages 2 - 5 called Wee Move and Groove in partnership with the University of Kentucky's Music Therapy program.
Over the summer, the Central Music Academy hosts several music camps. The World Percussion Camp allows students to study music theory, African and Brazilian drums, Chinese percussion, Caribbean steel pans, and "Stomp"-style musical creation (using any type of cheap household object as an instrument). The CMA Chamber String Camp allows students to explore new repetoire as part of a string quartet as well as a larger chamber ensemble. CMA's Music and Movement Camp works with young children to explore the basic elements of music including rhythm, tempo, harmony, pitch, form, timbre, and dynamics. CMA has also sponsored our students to attend affiliated local Bluegrass, brass, string, and drama camps.
Impact Statement

Studying at CMA allows students to get the individual training that they need to excel in music, and this manifests itself in many positive ways. This year, we have held 6 recitals for our students to showcase their skills, and we have seen our students grow a great deal. We were very proud that all eight of our high school seniors graduated; and to find out this fall that 12 CMA students had auditioned for the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra and all 12 were accepted! We also currently have 7 CMA students who attend SCAPA (the School for Creative and Performing Arts).

There are many specific examples of how lessons at CMA have benefited children in Lexington. Rachele, parent of a percussion student says, "Taking music lessons has been beneficial overall for my son! It’s an outlet for his creativity and has introduced him to other genres of music. His teacher is always encouraging and he leaves lessons very motivated and inspired. If he was stressed going in, he’s relaxed and ready to take on the world when he leaves. This has been a tremendous experience for him!! Thank you!". CMA parent, Brandy says, "CMA has allowed us to continue to support our daughter in her love of music. Without it we just couldn't afford lessons. Her instructor is amazing. He has helped her work through her shyness, supported her in her school music endeavors, and really strengthen her love of music. Participating in CMA has taught her discipline and allowed her to continue on her music journey. Thank you!"

Our goals for the next year include serving an additional 30 students in private lessons, raising funds from 30 new donors, and starting an after-school steel pan ensemble.

Needs Statement
1. Private donations allow CMA to provide money for programs. Private lessons cost $22.50 per half hour lesson. 
2. Instrument donations allow CMA to loan the instruments to students instead of the student renting an instrument. We need everything except pianos and organs.
3. Donated music books or sheet music can be used during lessons and can be taken home to work on throughout the week. 
4. Cleaning supplies such as paper towels, toilet paper, and trash bags.
CEO/Executive Director Statement

At the Central Music Academy, we believe that the arts are one of the best ways to help a child find his own identity. We also understand that the expense of a quality arts education is the main reason why many children miss this opportunity for development, so CMA provides free music programs to children between the ages of 8 and 18 who receive free or reduced lunches at school. 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. To date, CMA’s dedicated teachers have served more than nine hundred and fifty students in private and group lessons. Though we are aware of six other youth music programs in Lexington, the Central Music Academy is the only organization that focuses its entire efforts on providing disadvantaged youth the opportunity to grow artistically, intellectually, spiritually and socially through free musical study.

Service Categories
Secondary Organization Category Youth Development / Youth Development Programs
Tertiary Organization Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building / Community & Neighbourhood Development
Geographic Areas Served
Fayette County
We serve students from 33 schools in the Fayette County system. We have students from all 12 middle schools and all 5 high schools, and from 16 elementary schools.
Board Chair
Board Chair Pam Hammonds
Company Affiliation Retired
Term Jan 2017 to
Board Members
William AlversonTraditional BankVoting
Adele Burt BrownLawyerVoting
Sean CutshallAttorneyVoting
Amelia GroetschCKYOVoting
Pam HammondsFCPS, RetiredVoting
Robin HicksTransylvania UniversityVoting
Robert JamesEastern Kentucky UniversityVoting
William Nathan JonesTransamerica Agency NetworkVoting
Dr. Scott PierceRood and RiddleVoting
Michael PreacelyCommunity VolunteerVoting
Holly ScudderInterContinental Hotels GroupVoting
Anne TaulRetiredVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity. Add number
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 7
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 59%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 71%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 93%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Dr. Scott Pierce
Company Affiliation Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital
Term Jan 2017 to
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Dr. Erin Walker Bliss
Term Start Apr 2005
Email centralmusicacademy@gmail.com
Experience 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 from the University of Kentucky. Erin has taught courses in music appreciation, jazz history, world 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.
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 2
Volunteers 0
Contractors 29
Retention Rate 100%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 21
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 13
Female 11
Unspecified 0
Senior Staff
Title Assistant Director
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation No
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
NonManagement Formal Evaluation No
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A

The Central Music Academy’s overarching goal is to build personal capacity, discipline, and self-esteem within at-risk youth one individual at a time. We pursue this objective through private music lessons taught by qualified instructors, group activities with the young musicians, performance opportunities, and occasional field trips to local music recitals (at the Lexington Opera House, the Singletary Center, etc.).  We offer one-on-one lessons for financially disadvantaged children ages 8 - 18 with trained professionals for every student in the program. This allows each individual child to find his own identity, demonstrate his talent, and communicate his feelings in a way that gives back to the community. The instructors monitor the students’ progress, providing positive reinforcement and communicating useful information about maintaining a practice schedule, improving technique, and channeling their passion for musical performance. 

Budget 20 dollars per half hour lesson.
Program Short Term Success
All of our lessons and group classes at CMA are structured to best enhance the learning environment for each child. Early exposure to music has been shown to enhance language, math, and reasoning skills; increase problem-solving ability; improve memory; and encourage students to think creatively. 
Program Long term Success At CMA, we recognize that the opportunity for arts education decreases dramatically with in a low socio-economic setting. Our mission is to combat this disparity by making quality musical education available to financially disadvantaged children. We anticipate that through studies with the Central Music Academy, students will become involved in supportive relationships with musical mentors and peers, increase self-esteem, and enhance literacy. 


Program Success Monitored By

Measurements of these goals will be documented through instructor evaluations (music skills/learning aptitude), staff observations (attendance/cooperative attitude), school test scores and, when available, student report cards. While it is hard to measure the qualitative impact of our programs, we have ample feedback from teachers and parents of the improved behavioral changes our students experience at school and at home (“your services have been doubly important since our school has no orchestra groups or teachers;” “my daughter had a successful audition for the School for the Creative and Performing Arts this year and her musical improvement is all due to CMA.”)


Examples of Program Success CMA currently has 12 students who attend SCAPA (School for Creative and Performing Arts). “my daughter had a successful audition for the School for the Creative and Performing Arts this year and her musical improvement is all due to CMA.” 
Description The goal of the Wee Move and Groove Music Program is to provide developmentally-appropriate music groups for preschool-age children designed to teach communication, motor, and cognitive skills through music. Children from diverse backgrounds, including those students with a wide range of special needs, will be encouraged to participate. The University of Kentucky Music Therapy program will partner with CMA to develop this program. There will be five 8-week sessions offered.
Budget 2872
Description Students will learn about bluegrass music and how to play traditional songs. 
Description The goal of the ukulele class is to provide low-income kids with the opportunity to learn to play the ukulele, and, as such, to help them expand their cultural understanding, construct social relationships, and improve their abilities to express themselves through musical performance.
Budget 1283
Description Students will learn about Caribbean culture, how to play calypso, soca, and reggae. 
Budget 1000
Category Education, General/Other Extracurricular Music
Population Served At-Risk Populations, Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2015
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2019
Projected Revenue $219,753.00
Projected Expenses $219,753.00
Spending Policy N/A
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available). Revenue from foundations and corporations may be included in individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$225,265$237,274$195,687
Investment Income, Net of Losses$12$12$10
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$154,729$154,170$130,843
Administration Expense$57,268$53,497$42,081
Fundraising Expense$1,825$3,135$5,941
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.051.141.12
Program Expense/Total Expenses72%73%73%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$184,477$170,591$141,062
Current Assets$154,881$147,403$131,196
Long-Term Liabilities--$1--
Current Liabilities$6,128$3,023$3,060
Total Net Assets$178,349$167,568$138,002
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Registration Yes
Address 644 Georgetown St
Lexington, KY 40508
Primary Phone 859 221-4666
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Erin Walker Bliss
Board Chair Pam Hammonds
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired