Academy for the Arts

Our Mission

The Academy for the Arts at First Baptist Church of Shreveport seeks to teach and train students of all ages in music, dance, theater, and the visual arts. We believe talent in any form is a gift from God that can be developed and improved with practice and training. We offer lessons in vocal and instrumental music, and we offer regular and exciting opportunities for performance. The Academy is a part of First Baptist Church of Shreveport which adheres to the scripture found in Colossians 3:16; Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Areas of Instruction

Private Lessons

We offer lessons ranging from 30 – 60 minutes and at various times based on availability.

Group Lessons

Our group classes are currently being developed. For more information, please email info@aftafbcs.org.

Audition Preparation

These four 30-minute or 60- minute private lessons are four consecutive weeks. No registration fee is required, but payment in full is required at time of registration.

Meet Our Leadership Team

Dr. Luke Lusted

Executive Director

Jeralyn Rester, B.M.E.



What distinguishes AFTA from other music/art schools?

Study at AFTA involves both the joy of music/arts and the discipline required to develop artistic skills. Students are exposed to the great wonders of music and the arts while being expected to practice regularly, to learn the foundational theories of music/art, and to share their emerging talent in structured public performance or exhibition. The ample and gorgeous space of First Baptist Church provides a unique and inspiring setting for these goals to be realized.

What is the best age to start taking music lessons?

Between the ages of 5 and 7 most children have the necessary skills which enable them to begin formalized music lessons. Piano and violin are the two most common instruments played at this age, but other instruments can be learned with much success. Musical experience at an early age is extremely important in a child’s development process. If you’re still not sure your child should begin music lessons, we are glad to offer consultation and to allow your child to observe a lesson. While there are advantages to starting earlier, when the interest is there, it is never too late to begin music lessons.

Can I just “try out” an instrument for a week or two at AFTA?

No. We believe that extended exposure is required for a student to discern their “fit” with an instrument. Private study is offered only in semester (17-week) increments. Once you have committed to the term, understand that the commitment should be carried through. As the term nears the end, you can consider interest in another instrument. Fulfilling a commitment is not only important in music education, but is a crucial life skill. We are glad to offer consultation prior to lesson study. Class study in smaller blocks of time is offered for some instruments throughout the year.

Can I begin lessons in the middle of a semester?

Yes. Our private lessons are offered on a semester basis, however registration for lessons is ongoing and you may begin anytime. The Program Fee is required regardless of the time you begin lessons. Lesson charges are pro-rated based on the number of weeks left in the term. For more information, please see the tuition and fees policy.

What if I am late or miss a lesson?

It is important that students be on time for lessons. Students who are 10 minutes (or more) late for their lesson will be considered to have forfeited their lesson. This will be considered an unexcused absence and the instructor is under no obligation to make it up. If running close to lesson time, please call the Academy for the Arts Office at 318.841.8428 while in transit. Communication is of the utmost importance. For more information please see the attendance policy and makeup lessons policy.

Can I request a particular teacher for private study?

Yes, requests for specific teachers are received. These requests are most often granted after careful consideration of the student’s experience/learning style and the teacher’s schedule. For information on our teachers, please see the instructional faculty.

Can parents sit in on lessons?

If parents are concerned about their child’s behavior, or if they want to be more involved in their child’s practice routine they are welcome to sit in on the lesson. However, it is not a requirement. Some children focus better without the parent present. Feel free to discuss this with your child’s teacher.

How much should students practice?

It is very important to have daily practice, so that the techniques practiced are retained. Regularity is more valuable than duration, especially at the beginning of taking lessons. Based on the level of the student, practice time can range from 30 minutes to 3 hours a day. Our teachers will work with students to develop a practice schedule. For more information, please see the practice policy.

What if I want to quit studying in the middle of a semester?

If a student wishes to discontinue lessons, a 30-day written notice will be required. The student will be financially responsible for the lessons that occur during those 30 days from the date notice is given whether or not the student chooses to attend the lessons. A refund will be given for the remainder of lessons that occur after the 30 days if previously paid for. The Program Fee is non-refundable. For more information please see the attendance policy.

What if I forget to pay for a lesson?

The Academy for the Arts reserves the right to charge a $10 late fee if payment is received after the designated due date. Please contact the Academy office if you need to arrange for a later payment date. The Academy for the Arts reserves the right to cancel and/or deny lessons for payments not received. For more information, please see the tuition and fees policy.

Where do I enter the building when coming to AFTA?

The entrance to AFTA is by the main office building off of the parking lot entrance on College St. There will be a sign showing where to enter. A parlor lounge with Wi-Fi, and a study space are located immediately upon entrance to the building.

Does study at AFTA include religious training?

First Baptist Church of Shreveport supports AFTA because it believes in the power of the arts to enrich a person’s life and thereby make the world a better and more beautiful place. While a core value of AFTA states the belief that “growth in artistic ability expands a person’s capacity to experience the sacred dimensions of life,” neither students nor teachers are expected to adhere to any religious belief.

For questions not answered here, please email AFTA at info@aftafbcs.org