More than 10,000 students. That?s how many aspiring guitarists instructor Eric Mantel?an artist on three-time Grammy winner Steve Vai's Digital Nations record label?has reached since he began teaching in 1979. His guitar lessons cover a broad range of strumming techniques, from picking and finger rolling to trilling and vibrato. And to inspire his students, Eric pulls from the repertoire of guitar greats such as Eddie Van Halen and Eric Clapton.
Tristan Warwick's piano skills have earned him everything from gigs on Chicago’s Radio WFMT series to more than 100 first place honors in numerous piano competitions. Drawing on more than 20 years as a pianist, Tristan helps ready the next generation of expert ivory ticklers at Palos Heights Piano. During 15, 30, or 60-minute lessons, he teaches students of all ages everything from navigating their way around a keyboard to how to decipher and play a Bach fugue. Once a year, Tristan invites his pupils to don semiformal attire and showcase their newly refined skills during a formal concert for family and friends.
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.