Christie Sola, Sylvia Myintoo and Fiona Hammer founded the Chicago School of Musical Arts in 2018. Led by an all female team the school provides innovative, high quality and accessible music and arts programming to students of all ages in the Chicagoland area. 


In the spring of 2017, Christie approached Sylvia, both professional violinists, and asked her if she would like to start an in-school group music lesson program at different educational sites in the Chicagoland area. The two women have been colleagues and friends for nearly 20 years, both teaching violin at Near North Montessori School. Together, Sylvia and Christie built the Montessori program to more than 60 violin students. Their students, at Near North Montessori, successfully take private and group music lessons as part of their school day. As luck would have it, Fiona, a mother of two of Christie’s students, was passionate about the school’s music program and was concurrently volunteering her time to help the school create more arts-focused events. Within a few weeks, CSMA incorporated and the three women set their minds to work on creating programming for their first school!

CSMA offered its first classes, Intro to Violin, Intro to Guitar and Hip-Hop, at the Lincoln Park Chicago Public School Alcott Elementary, Ms. Sola’s sons’ school.

CSMA now has programming at more than 16 schools ranging from Chicago Public Schools, Private schools, and Charter Schools in the Chicagoland area. With so much uncertainty around in person and in school classes, virtual offerings were launched in the spring of 2020. This allowed for expanding into adult classes as well.