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.
The owners of Evolution Music have been a fixture in Chicago's music scene for years. They've operated several music venues, recorded albums for area bands, and organized concerts for more than 5,000 local and national acts. At their Orland Park studio, they help musicians of all experiences to develop their skills with guitar, bass, piano, and drum lessons. Visitors can also peruse instruments in an onsite shop or schedule an appointment in the onsite recording studio.
Hans Moscicke doesn’t just teach the drums; he practices what he preaches when playing with his band Milano, with whom he’s gigged such storied Chicago venues as Subterranean, Beat Kitchen, and Schubas. When he’s not bicycling or bird watching around his home base in Logan Square, he travels to neighborhoods to share his expertise with musicians of all ages and skill levels. Hans keeps lessons exciting with his collection of more than 1,000 pieces of sheet music from iconic bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Nirvana, allowing students to play along with their favorites and marvel at the secret coffee rings hidden within the pages. By practicing their most beloved songs as well as the lessons in their books, pupils become more engaged with the process and learn how to use their techniques in practical playing.
Taking an all-inclusive approach to music instruction, American Music Institute offers group and private lessons for all ages, experience levels, and styles of music. College-educated teachers lead lessons for voice as well as instruments ranging from guitar and percussion to violin, oboe, and flute. Group classes are available for popular instruments—such as beginning violin and guitar—as well as music theory. Private lessons, meanwhile, provide weekly one-on-one instruction at the institute or in students' homes.
Chicago Savvy Tours’ knowledgeable guides unearth the Windy City’s gritty and occasionally hilarious history as they lead groups in and out of architectural landmarks during walking tours heralded by CBS Chicago as one of the city’s best. Tours wind past distinctive architectural works such as Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium building, the Mies van der Rohe–designed Federal Plaza, and the John Hancock building, named after the inventor of autographs. Year-round tour dates are available, with the heaviest rotation of times in the summer. Children are welcome, though like politics and prescription-drug ads, most of the content appeals to adults.