Musicians step into Music Box Records’ spacious studio to record, rehearse, and market their work. Part recording studio, part rehearsal space, and part indie label, the studio welcomes music-makers not only with professional recording tools and clean, airy facilities, but also with a team of experienced producers and promotional gurus. The crew cares deeply about music, and even runs an outreach program called Music Lab that invites high school students into the studio to learn industry secrets, such as how to build a following and how to smash an air guitar without ruining it completely.
Mike Semerau and the instructors at Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons have a trick up their sleeve. In addition to in-person tutelage, they provide professional pre-recorded take-home videos of proper drumming techniques for students to refer to while practicing. This kind of constant visualization and repetitive watching is what the instructors claim makes their students so successful as they drill new techniques such as double bass, ostinatos, and stick control. During lessons, teachers also cover subjects such as soloing, learning a student?s favorite song, creating original beats and fills, and teaching yourself. Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons has a play-along machine stacked with more than 1,000 songs, all of which have no drum track so that students can provide their own percussion and experience the sensation of playing and keeping time with other instruments.
Originally founded in 1957, Old Town School of Folk Music teaches and facilitates performances of arts rooted in the traditions of diverse American and global communities. More than 700 accredited music, dance, theater, and visual-arts courses expand the cultural horizons of students of all ages and abilities, and more than 300 concerts and events reach more than 200,000 audience members every year.
Founder Frank Hamilton hoped that through his nonprofit academy "teacher and student would be partners in learning." Today, the school continues that tradition, fostering supportive learning environments that draw from an accessible education model. The school also presents performances by internationally known touring artists and Chicago's local artists—as well as its own staff and students—nearly every weekend, with free world-music concerts on Wednesday nights. Old Town School operates three facilities in Lincoln Park and Lincoln Square, including one 425-seat and two 150-seat concert halls, 64 classrooms, two music stores, a café, and a resource center.
The instructors at ACM School of Music pass the torch of musical aptitude with piano lessons and music-theory classes that kindle classical-music appreciation in a new generation. With a focus on teaching students to write their own compositions, experienced musicians explain the rudiments of the form, from a piece's first quarter note to its adolescent experimentation with mixed-meter phrases to its emergence as a full-grown adult arrangement. The school's resident ensemble, Palomar, breathes life into contemporary compositions with an annual concert series. As a nonprofit driven by the goal to expand the cohort of composers and audience members, ACM also facilitates educational initiatives in local schools and offers programming to Boys & Girls Clubs.
Guitar Cities Schools cater to music lovers of all ages by helping them achieve their melodic and rhythmic goals through relaxed, effective instrument instruction. Teachers schooled in myriad genres draw sound buckets from wells of music knowledge and performing experience in order to fortify the skills of both beginning musicians and experienced bards. Fledgling chord learners can take advantage of the school's in-house instruments for no additional charge, eliminating the risk of accidental busking when carting pianos on the bus. Ideal for hectic lifestyles, Guitar Cities Schools boasts flexible lesson times, easy online scheduling, and is within walking distance from most downtown businesses.
Embedded within Chicago's famed venue for sketch and improv comedy, The Second City Training Center hosts performances from a corps of jokesters culled from faculty, alumni, and current students. The productions encourage innovative works of comedy and experimental theater that adhere to The Second City's teachings, which include the development of new voices and points of view, and no fewer than four references to alumnus George Wendt.