Kade Robinson started performing at Ballantyne School of Music when he was 7. He is now 17 and regularly performs with a band made up of other students he met at the music school. Photo by Hannah Lee.

Ballantyne School of Music

Community school marks 10 years at Ballantyne Corners

By Michelle Boudin

Connie Cooper was job hunting after her divorce when she stumbled upon an entirely new, fulfilling career.

“I was in banking for 20 years and took a break when I had my third son. When I tried to go back to corporate America, nobody wanted to hire a 50-year-old woman,” Cooper says.

So, she took a part-time job at the place where her son was taking guitar lessons — and ended up taking over what is now known as the Ballantyne School of Music.

“I kept feeling like all the different parts of my journey finally made sense. I was in chorus in school and socially awkward as a kid, and music took me through my parents’ divorce and moves from state to state. Music has always been my support system.”

Aidan Holz (singing) was a BSM student for over 7 years.

The school has been offering that same support to kids across South Charlotte for 10 years now at its Ballantyne Corners location. It offers one-on-one instruction for kids ages 6 and up, group lessons, summer camps and regular performances for students to show off what they have learned.

The success in Ballantyne Corners led Cooper to open a second location in Indian Land. Ballantyne School of Music – South opened in May of 2018 in the Cross Creek Shopping Center. Together, both locations have approximately 500 students and teach roughly 2,000 lessons per month. Cooper estimates the school has taught more than 150,000 hours in the past decade.

“Some kids want to read music, others learn by ear. We try to understand what the goals are and meet them where they are. We customize lesson plans to what gets students excited. Music is something that’s supposed to bring people joy, and we don’t want to take the fun out of it,” Cooper says.

Eric Robinson started his son Kade at Ballantyne School of Music when Kade was just 7.

“He started with drum lessons, and he’s since picked up guitar and bass guitar. His instructor saw his talent and really poured into him. The school did a great job of stoking that fire and really releasing his passion,” Robinson says.