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.
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.
For more than 35 years, the music gurus, instrument-repair specialists, and educators at Perry's Music have equipped aspiring musicians with acoustic and electric instruments of all kinds. Visitors pick out a shiny new or gently used guitar, mandolin, or ukulele from brands such as Seagull or Godin, studying how to create beautiful music with them during sessions with knowledgeable teachers. Parents looking for a rewarding afterschool activity enroll their teens in Rock 'N' Roll University, where students learn to practice and record with band mates, write their own songs, and tackle the difficult second-album slump.
The blond-wood walls of the Perry's emporium bristle with acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, and accessories, whereas the shelves show off row upon row of new and used amplification and PA equipment. Amateur and professional musicians bring in their instruments and electronics for repairs at the hands of an in-house amp and guitar technician, and monthly acoustic open-mic nights find crowds of music lovers singing, playing, jamming, and making new friends.
The licensed educators at Kindermusik help enrich family relationships and bolster kiddies' mental development through interactive, music-focused play dates. Children from newborns to 7-year-olds can investigate the world of sound waves through age-specific sessions of sing-alongs, musical compositions, and sound barrier-breaking drum solos. ACE Music & Me sessions foster reading and language skills through dance and rhyme, and Village classes stimulate cognitive growth through musical activities. Guardians are encouraged to pick up a tambourine and belt out a note alongside their musical wards. After each pressure-free play date, Kindermusik instructors outfit each parent with a number of after-class activities suited to their child's developmental level and ability to impersonate Dick Clark.
Singer-songwriter Tricia Sebastian specializes in bilingual children's music, crooning originals in both English and Spanish. Her songs have been heard in Quaker cereal commercials and on ABC's Ugly Betty, and the Chicago Tribune says the Corpus Christi native's "playful, robust soprano could spark a Tex-Mex campfire."
But Tricia has another passion: music education. Since the mid-nineties, she's been a kids' instructor with Ravinia Festival's outreach arm and at the Old Town School of Folk Music. At CATS Creating Arts Together with Songs, Tricia takes classes into her own hands, folding fine arts curricula into academic pursuits. As an outreach program, CATS brings Tricia into schools along with her guitar, which she whittled from a singing, five-string tree. As a school of its own, CATS hosts classes, parties, and workshops. Tricia also connects students with tutors and consults with teachers to help them develop their own integrated arts programming.
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.