top of page

The Academy Story


When I was very young, I wanted a horse. My grandma told me that if I started piano lessons, she would get either a horse or a piano for me. I always liked listening to my grandpa and my great-grandmother play the piano whenever they visited, so I agreed. One day I came home to a new piano. I was a bit disappointed that I did not get a horse! 

Many years later with thousands of hours of practice under my fingers, I ended up with a B.A. in Music from Luther College and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Bowling Green State University. Now facing the real world with life to live, I taught music majors at the University as well as individual piano lessons, mostly to children, for seven years in Bowling Green. 

We moved to Marion in 2005 and opened up the Marion Music Academy in a small space on 10th Street, right around the corner from the old Maid-Rite. By the end of the first year, the Academy was close to 100 students. We began looking for a new, larger space and found the current space at 940 8th Ave in Marion. 

The building formerly had a beauty salon in the front, a living space for the salon's owner in the back, and an apartment upstairs. My husband Dan and I gutted the building completely and replaced almost everything except for many of the hardwood floors. We insulated all the interior walls and ceilings to help with sound proofing for a great teaching environment. The building now houses eight spacious and beautiful teaching studios, home to many great teachers! The Academy has grown and gone through many changes over the years, however, striving for excellence in education is one thing we will never change! 

We love seeing students grow from their first lesson to graduation. Students often begin lessons not knowing quite what to expect, and it is always fun to see how much they accomplish and the skills they develop over time with practice.  Many students learn far more than they thought they were capable of, which always makes us proud as teachers. We believe our students can do great things, and we help push them towards what we see they are capable of. 


Currently, the Academy has twelve music teachers offering instruction in piano, guitar, voice, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, violin, viola, cello, and Music Fun Time. We have students as young as two years of age through adult. Many students take just for fun, while others enjoy the challenge of preparing for IMTA auditions, All State band, orchestra, & choir auditions, local honors ensembles, and preparing for college music entrance auditions. We believe teaching music isn't simply about providing excellent music instruction, but also is an opportunity to teach students life lessons that will stay with them wherever the future takes them.

--Melanie Bell, Artistic Director

bottom of page