2140 Crystal Beach Road, Winter Haven, FL 33880

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Tag: fine arts academy

Summer Music Lessons for Only $10

Fine Arts Academy


Summer is almost here.  The school year is winding down and the temperatures are rising.  Around the church, things are changing as well.  Awana has ended.  VBS is in full planning mode.  The snowbirds have definitely migrated north.

It is also a season of change for our Fine Arts Academy.  During this past year, we have had the privilege of providing private music instruction to 45 different students.  These students took private guitar, piano & violin lessons.  Some took lessons all year.  Others took for only a few short weeks.  Whatever the situation, we were able to provide quality instruction to them.

As we transition to the summer, I want to let you know about an exciting opportunity that is available through the Fine Arts Academy.

Once again, we will be offering our popular $10 Summer Music Lessons.  All summer long, our private lessons are only $10.  This is a great way to try out private lessons and see if they are a great fit for your family.  Keep in mind there are some ‘hidden’ costs of Music Lessons.  There is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ registration fee of $15 per family that will apply to our Summer Music Lessons.  There is also the cost of any books that may be needed for the lessons.  Books usually cost between $15-$30 depending on the instrument.

If you would like to sign up for our Summer Lessons, please Contact Us through this link.   Also, feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have.

We look forward to helping you grow as a musician!


$700 in Prizes Awarded at Sacred Music Competition!


On Saturday morning, October 8th, the Fine Arts Academy at Faith Baptist Church hosted its 3rd annual Sacred Music Competition.  Competition was fierce as 24 students competed across three age based divisions.  In the end, nine students walked away with prizes totaling $700.

Started in 2014, the Sacred Music Competition exists to promote excellence in sacred music.  The competition is really quite simple.  Students play one piece of music.  It does not have to be memorized.  There is no fee to participate.  The only rules are that it must be an arrangement of a sacred song and they must provide an original copy of the score.  The intention is for the students to play something they could easily play at their home church.  Three judges assign a score to each student.  The students with the top scores win cash prizes.

Competition director Stephen Simpson remarked,

“For what amounts to a small amount of money, we now have 24 young people armed with a piece of music ready to be used in their local church.  It truly is money well spent.”

By God’s grace, over the past three years, this small competition has awarded $2,100 in prizes.  It truly is amazing to see what God has done.  Would you pray with us for this competition?  We would love to see it expand beyond being a ‘piano-only’ competition.  Our long-term vision is to have multiple competitions for Piano, Voice, and other Instruments.  Pray that God would direct us and provide so that we could make this happen.

To God be the Glory for all that He is doing through the Fine Arts Academy at Faith Baptist Church.

FBC to Host 3rd Annual Free Piano Competition with Cash Prizes!

In 2014, a long-time dream finally became a reality.  I had dreamed of a piano competition for students of all ages that promoted excellence in sacred music while give out a prize (Cash!!) that truly appealed to students.  I am excited to tell you that on Saturday, October 8th, the Fine Arts Academy at FBC will host our 3rd Sacred Music Competition.

Our goal is very simple.  We want to promote excellence in sacred music.  Many organizations do a fantastic job of promoting excellence in non-sacred music.  We want to do something different.  We want to focus on music that is explicitly sacred.  Our competition is also very simple.  Students will play one piece of sacred music.  Winners will be chosen by a panel of three judges.  These winners will receive a cash prize.  You can read the full description about our competition and register on our webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much does it cost to enter this competition?  – Nothing, Zero, Nada, Zilch – It is completely FREE!
  2. Can I play anything I want?  There are two stipulations.  It must be sacred and it must be published.  In other words, it cannot be a sacred arrangement that you have made up on your own.  There needs to be published music that the judges can follow while you play.
  3. What does “memorization is strongly suggested” mean?  Well, it means that we strongly suggest that you memorize your music 🙂  But, it also means that memorization is not required.  We do not want memorization to be a barrier that prevents you from participating.  However, most of us will admit that we play the piano much better when our music is memorized.
  4. Who can compete in this competition?  Anyone who is 18 years old or younger on October 8th is eligible to compete.  We will be dividing all of the students up into three divisions:  Elementary (ages 9 and under), Junior (10-14), & Senior (15-18).  There are cash prizes available for each division.
  5. How much can I win?  We have a total of $700 available in cash prizes!  You can see a breakdown of cash prizes by division on our competition website.
  6. Do I have to play the piano?  We would love to encourage sacred music on all instruments.  However, we have chosen to focus our competition on piano music.
  7. Do I have to attend Faith Baptist Church in order to compete?  No.  The competition is open to anyone 18 years old or younger.  In fact, we welcome students who may want to travel from Japan just for this competition 🙂

Will You Join Us for This Unique Event?

  • Register today – If you are 18 or under, register today!  Choose a sacred arrangement.  It can be one you already know or one that is completely brand new.  Get it ready.  Work on it with your teacher.  Then come on Saturday, October 8th, and play it to the best of your ability.
  • Spread the Word – Will you help us by spreading the word about this competition?  Share it on facebook.  Forward this email to your friends and family.  Talk about it.
  • Be a Sponsor – Consider making a financial contribution to FBC to make this competition possible.  Think of the impact we can have on our community through a simple piano competition and a few hundred dollars.

I hope that you will get excited about our upcoming Sacred Music Competition.  Last year’s competition was a huge success.  Twenty three students competed.  Nine prizes totaling $700 were awarded.  If you have any questions at all about our competition, please do not hesitate to contact us.



FAA Prepares for 8th Year of Private Music Lessons

Fine Arts Academy

In the fall of 2009, FBC began its Fine Arts Academy.  Since that time, countless students have received private instruction on their instrument.  We have been blessed to teach students of all ages.  Some have come for just one lesson.  Others have remained for years.  Through it all, God has blessed as we have sought to provide God-honoring excellent instruction.

Monday, marks the beginning of our 8th year of teaching.  It is amazing to see how God has blessed this ministry.  This past year saw us host our second Sacred Music Competition which we hope to continue again this year.  I am looking forward to seeing what God will continue to do with this ministry.

Why do we do this?

Why has FBC taken on this ministry?  Why do we not simply refer these interested students to the local music store?  Historically, churches were always centers of musical training.  Nowadays, that is seldom true.  Let me share 3 reasons why FBC has taken the unique step of establishing a Fine Arts Academy (FAA).

  1. Identification – One reason we began our FAA is to help us identify those with musical abilities.  Our FAA has helped us identify individuals with the ability to play piano during our services, sing in our choir, and play in our orchestra.  Additionally, our FAA helps us identify younger students with the potential to one day serve in our music ministries.  Identifying these individuals helps us provide opportunities for them to serve.  It is very simple.  If we do not know who has musical abilities, then we cannot help them use those musical abilities.
  2. Inspiration – A second reason for our FAA is to inspire.  We want to encourage and motivate individuals to use their musical abilities in their local church.  One of our primary goals is to develop church musicians.  We want to train these individuals to serve effectively in their local church.
  3. Instruction – A third reason for our FAA is very simple – instruction.  Church musicians need quality instruction.  Too often, especially in our independent Baptist circles, we have many willing musicians who have not received any quality training.  A willing heart is a wonderful start.  But, ideally it will be paired with exceptional musicianship.  We aim to provide excellent instruction.  Private weekly instruction when paired with consistent and quality practice will lead to the development of a fine musician.

In short,

Our FAA seeks to produce quality musicians who love the Lord and have a strong desire to use their musical talents in their local church.

Stop Hiding

Sadly, many fine musicians sit anonymously in the pew of their local church.  Their church is simply unaware of their hidden musical talent.  What greater joy can there be than using your talents for the glory of God?  If this is you, stop hiding your talents!  Use them.  Honor God with the talent he has given you.  I know it requires a time commitment.  I know it may be hard.  But, I also know that it will be rewarding to you and it will honor God.


Let me close with this.  I stay active with many piano accompanying opportunities in our community.  These are often very rewarding musically.  I enjoy the opportunity to play quality music with other fine musicians.  But these opportunities are not rewarding spiritually.  They pale in comparison to the musical opportunities I have at church.  Church music is tremendously rewarding in a spiritual sense.  The difference is the audience.  Church music is presented to bring honor and glory to Almighty God.  That is vastly different than playing a Mozart Violin Concerto before a judge.

Hopefully, all of this makes sense.  You can learn more about our Fine Arts Academy on our website.  You can also simply contact me if you have any questions.


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Summer Music Opportunities at Faith


Summer is almost here.  The school year is rapidly approaching and the thermometer is rising.  Today I want to let you know about some exciting things that will take place at Faith over the summer.

  1. Summer Music Lessons – Every summer, our Fine Arts Academy offers low-cost private music lessons.  Each 30-minute lesson costs just $10!  There is no monthly tuition.  You just pay $10 whenever you come to a lesson.  The only other costs are a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ family registration fee of $15 and the cost of whatever books you need for your lessons (roughly $10-30 depending on the instrument).  Summer Music Lessons begin Tuesday, May 31st.
  2. “A Tribute to America’s Heroes” – On Sunday night, July 3rd, our church will be presenting a Patriotic Program entitled “A Tribute to America’s Heroes.”  This special program will honor several individuals from our church and community.  Special music will be provided by our choir and orchestra.  You can participate by singing in our choir or playing in our orchestra.
  3. Kid’s Choir – Our Kid’s Choir will meet on Wednesday nights throughout the summer months beginning on Wednesday, May 25th.  We will meet in our Sparks room from 7-8pm.  This unique time will feature singing and other fun musical activities.  We plan to feature our Kid’s choir in several Sunday services throughout the month of August.
  4. Music Theory Class – This summer, I will be teaching 6-week class that covers the basics of reading and understanding music.  It will be taught from 11am-12pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays, and will begin on Monday, June 20th.  There is a one-time fee of $10 per person to help cover the cost of materials.

Sign Up Today!

To sign up for any of these opportunities or if you have any questions – you just need to contact me, Stephen Simpson.   It’s really that simple.  You can reach me at the church office – 863.293.0689.  Or – you can contact me through this link.

This summer is shaping up to be quite busy!  I hope you will take advantage of these opportunities.

Happy Friday!


A Tale of Two Piano Teachers (by Stephen Simpson)


Over 23 years ago, I took my first piano lesson.  I was 8 years old.  It is hard to believe that I have been playing the piano for 23 years.  Over my musical ‘career,’ I have studied piano with at least 5 different piano teachers.  Most of them taught me for only a year or two.  I benefited from every one of them.  However, two of them stand out above all the rest.  One taught me to love the piano.  The other taught me to excel at piano.

A Love for the Piano

In 1990, I began 3rd grade at Lakeland Christian School (LCS).  There were many things about 3rd grade that I did not like.  However, during my 3rd grade school year, I began taking piano lessons from Audrey Parrish at LCS.  My memories of her are similar to a child’s memories of a loving grandparent.  She was kind and patient.  She taught me to love the piano.  Mrs. Parrish carefully took me through each of the piano method books.  I never remember her losing her temper or being frustrated.  For 6 years she invested in my life.  I can still remember a day during the summer between 8th & 9th grade.  A letter came to my house informing us that Mrs. Parrish was retiring from teaching piano at LCS.  I remember crying.  Imagine an 8th grade boy crying at the loss of his piano teacher.  This should communicate volumes to you about Audrey Parrish.

Recently, I learned that Mrs. Parrish had passed away.  I will never forget the investment that she made in my life.  She taught me to love the piano.

Excellence at the Piano

In the fall of 1999, I entered Bob Jones University as a freshman Music Education major.  As I arrived on campus, I did not personally know anyone in the music department.  As a piano principal, I was required to audition.  In God’s providence, I was assigned to the piano studio of Dr. Susan Kindall.  Looking back, this decision was the pivotal point of my four years in college.Having already developed a deep love for the piano, Dr. Kindall taught me to excel at the piano.  I developed a strong technique at the piano that has helped me tremendously as I accompany and teach.  She pushed me to set high expectations and to not settle for ‘good enough.’  Even though I was a Music Education major, she taught me as if I were a Piano Performance major.  At my juries, I was often commended by other teachers for exceeding the requirements of a Music Education major.  For Dr Kindall, it was never about meeting the minimum requirements.  It was about maximizing my potential for the glory of God.Watching Dr. Kindall, I learned how to be a strong Christian while interacting with a lost world.  Dr. Kindall would frequently bring guest artists to the campus who were not Christian.  Her testimony to them was above reproach.


I will never forget Mrs. Parrish or Dr. Kindall.  All of the students who I teach feel the effects of these two teachers.  Each day, as I teach, I am working to inspire my students to love the piano while at the same time pushing them towards excellence.May God grant us many more teachers like Audrey Parrish and Susan Kindall.

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