Early Childhood

Merit’s Early Childhood learning environment is playful, developmentally appropriate and musically rich. We incorporate song, chant, movement exercises and instrument play to develop a child’s imagination, musical awareness and expressiveness. Our programs support a child’s first steps in a lifetime journey of musical appreciation that inspires them to participate in our Instrumental Music program and eventually the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory.

Early Childhood Course Offerings

Registration for the 17-18 academic year will open August 7, 2017 for returning students and August 21, 2017 for new students. Returning students will receive course recommendations via e-mail on August 7, 2017. Register for classes online or in-person with Student Services. For questions regarding the early childhood program curriculum, please contact the Early Childhood Manager.

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Students that have received a course code from their instructors can use that code here:

Early Childhood Events

Merit Parent Association Mtg.

Date: Saturday, October 28th, 2017
Time: 10:00 am

Location: Merit School of Music, Joy Faith Knapp Music Center

More Information

Early Childhood: Winter Session Registration Opens

Date: Monday, November 13th, 2017

Location: Merit School of Music, Joy Faith Knapp Music Center

More Information

Storytime

Date: Monday, November 13th, 2017
Time: 11:00 am

Location: Merit School of Music, Joy Faith Knapp Music Center

More Information

GRADES: 5th - 10th

Available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

Students will improve their individual instrument skills in a 55-minute group class and will join a more experienced band ensemble. Students in the Advanced Band may be encouraged to audition for the Tuition-free Conservatory.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • scales and arpeggios in major and minor keys
  • expand dynamic range of the instrument
  • to count complex rhythms
  • to identify common intervals aurally and visually
  • to sight read
  • to recognize music from various genres and periods

SCHEDULE:

Classes meet once per week and includes ONE 60 MINUTE BAND CLASS AND ONE 55 MINUTE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC CLASS (29 weeks)

Details
$735

Grades: 4th - 8th

Beginner classes introduce young musicians to their choice of woodwind, brass, or percussion instruments in a small group setting with like instruments. Additionally, students will come together and rehearse as a band.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • to play the instrument with proper posture, hand position, embouchure and articulation
  • to recognize the parts of the musical staff, note names, and time signatures
  • to count simple rhythms
  • to recognize common musical symbols and define basic vocabulary

Classes meet once per week and includes ONE 55 MINUTE BAND CLASS AND ONE 60 MINUTE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC CLASS (29 weeks)

Details
$735

GRADES: 4th - 8th

Guitar students begin instruction at Merit in small group classes of five to eight students. Classes meet for 55 minutes each week and the small group atmosphere allows for individual attention as well as group learning.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • to identify the parts of the musical staff
  • to read notes and rhythms
  • to play scales, arpeggios and chords in 1st and 2nd position
  • to adjust their guitars to play in tune

SCHEDULE: Classes meet once per week (29 weeks)

Details
$630

GRADES: 1st - 6th

Beginning Piano students learn to read music, define basic vocabulary terms and begin performing a variety of pieces.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • proper posture and hand position
  • to recognize parts of the musical staff
  • to read rhythms and notes in treble and bass clefs

SCHEDULE:

Classes meet once per week for 55 MINUTES (29 weeks)

Details
$630
Grades: 5th-10th

Students have the opportunity to develop their voice as an instrument and deepen their musical studies through Merit's unique Vocal Curriculum. Students will also attend Mixed Chorus which is a mandatory class for all Merit voice students (see Mixed Chorus for more details).
Students will learn:
+ to sing selected intervals and scales
+to identify different time signatures, key signatures, dynamics and musical vocabulary
+to identify the passagio (or break) in their voice
+to produce a good vocal tone at all ranges and dynamic levels
+to sing repertoire in two part harmony
+to sing English, Latin, Spanish, and Italian

Classes meet once per week (29 weeks)
Details
$735
AGES: 4 - 6 years
Students must be 4 years old by October 1, 2017

This class requires students to register for weekly private lessons in addition to the 45-minute group class.

These classes provide the necessary building blocks for young musicians interested in playing stringed instruments. Classes are large enough for students to play as a group, yet small enough for beginners to receive the individual attention they need. Parent attendance is required. It's a fun, collaborative environment!

Students will learn:
  • the proper way to hold their instrument and bow, while beginning to play their first notes
  • basic ensemble and listening skills
  • to apply their instrumental technique and musical knowledge through Suzuki repertoire and Latin folk music
Requirements:
New Suzuki- Alegre Strings families are required to participate in a training class (dates TBD).

Note: Children should not attend the training session, but a fun musical activity will be available to those who have parents attending. Children are not required to attend this activity.
Details
$530
Grades: K-5th

These classes provide the necessary building blocks for young musicians interested in playing stringed instruments. classes are large enough for students to play as a group, yet small enough for beginners to receive the individual attention they need. It's a fun, collaborate environment.

Students will learn:
  • the proper way to hold their instrument and bow, while beginning to play their first notes
  • to read notes and rhythms on the staff
  • to apply their instrumental technique and musical knowledge through basic repertoire

Details
$630
Grades: K-4th

Merit's Children's Choir is great for students who want to begin using their voice as an instrument. Children's Choir does not require prior singing experience and can be added to any program or purchased as a stand-alone class. Students must be at least 6 years old by October 1, 2017 to enroll.

Students will learn:
  • to use proper vocal technique including posture, breathing and vowel shape
  • to sing in solfege (do-re-mi)
  • to count rhythms
  • to sing in unison and harmony
Schedule: Classes meet once per week for 60 minutes (29 weeks)
Details
$175

GRADES: 1st - 10th

Prices may vary depending on duration of the class (90-minutes). Available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

Our faculty challenges students in these classes with more complex piano repertoire and musical concepts. Students learn musicianship and instrumental technique, while building knowledge and discipline on their way to becoming a poised musician. An average of five to six students per class provides a group experience while allowing for individual attention.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • major and minor key signatures and to incorporate their knowledge through scales and arpeggios
  • complex rhythms
  • the use of pedals

SCHEDULE:

Classes meet once per week for 90 MINUTES (29 weeks)

Details
$855

GRADES: 6th - 10th

Available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

As students advance through the program, they will have the opportunity to expand their musical studies in an extended class that focuses on more advanced techniques.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • to play scales and arpeggios in major and minor keys
  • to play, major, minor, and seventh chords
  • to play guitar repertoire in a variety of styles from different genres of music
  • to improvise melodies over a series of chord changes
  • to identify common intervals aurally and visually

SCHEDULE:

Classes meet once per week for 90 MINUTES (29 weeks)

Details
$855
Grades: 3rd-10th

This class requires students to register for weekly private lessons in addition to the 90-minute group class.

Most students will have completed at least 4 years of instruction. This class is available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

In these most advanced classes, students will continue learning together through the Suzuki method and prepare to audition for the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory. Students continue their orchestral training each week, while attending a longer, more intensive instrumental music class designed to enhance instrumental technique, musical knowledge and musical skills. Class sizes remain small and personal while students work closely with our highly qualified and energetic string teachers. Students will showcase their skills in the winter and spring concerts as well as Merit's annual StringTacular Concert in the spring. Parent attendance is required.

Students will learn:
  • scales and arpeggios in major, natrual minor keys
  • effective vibrato and advanced fingerings and positions
  • a more advanced approach to bow technique that incorporates double stops, multiple-note slurs and off-the-string articulations
Classes meet once per week and includes a 90-minute group class and one 60-minute orchestra (29 weeks).
Details
$960
Grades: 5th-9th

Most students will have completed at least 4 years of instruction. This class is available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

Final preparations for entry into the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory! Students continue their orchestral training each week, while attending a longer, more intensive instrumental music class designed to enhance instrumental technique, musical knowledge and musical skills. Class sizes remain small and personal and students work closely with our highly qualified and energetic string teachers. Students will showcase their skills in Merit's winter and spring concerts.

Students will learn:
  • scales and arpeggios in major, natural minor keys
  • effective vibrato
  • advanced fingerings and positions
  • a more advanced approach to bow technique that incorporates double stops, multiple note slurs and off-the-string articulations
Classes meet once per week for 2.5 hours (29 weeks)
Details
$960

GRADES: 5th - 10th

Available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

Students will improve their individual instrument skills in a 55-minute group class and will join a more experienced band ensemble. Students in the Advanced Band may be encouraged to audition for the Tuition-free Conservatory.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • scales and arpeggios in major and minor keys
  • expand dynamic range of the instrument
  • to count complex rhythms
  • to identify common intervals aurally and visually
  • to sight read
  • to recognize music from various genres and periods

SCHEDULE:

Classes meet once per week and includes ONE 60 MINUTE BAND CLASS AND ONE 55 MINUTE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC CLASS (29 weeks)

Details
$735

GRADES: 1st - 10th

Prices may vary depending on duration of the class (55-minutes). Available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

Our faculty challenges students in these classes with more complex piano repertoire and musical concepts. Students learn musicianship and instrumental technique, while building knowledge and discipline on their way to becoming a poised musician. An average of five to six students per class provides a group experience while allowing for individual attention.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • major and minor key signatures and to incorporate their knowledge through scales and arpeggios
  • complex rhythms
  • the use of pedals

SCHEDULE:

Classes meet once per week for 55 MINUTES (30 weeks)

Details
$630

GRADES: 1st - 10th

Prices may vary depending on duration of the class (90-minutes). Available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

Our faculty challenges students in these classes with more complex piano repertoire and musical concepts. Students learn musicianship and instrumental technique, while building knowledge and discipline on their way to becoming a poised musician. An average of five to six students per class provides a group experience while allowing for individual attention.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • major and minor key signatures and to incorporate their knowledge through scales and arpeggios
  • complex rhythms
  • the use of pedals

SCHEDULE:

Classes meet once per week for 90 MINUTES (29 weeks)

Details
$855

GRADES: 5th - 10th

Available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

After roughly one year in the program, faculty challenge students advance to further develop technique, musical skills and knowledge.

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

  • to play scales and arpeggios in major and minor keys
  • to play, major, minor, and seventh chords
  • to play guitar repertoire in a variety of styles from different genres of music
  • to improvise melodies over a series of chord changes
  • to identify common intervals aurally and visually

SCHEDULE:

Classes meet once per week for 55 MINUTES (29 weeks)

Details
$630
Grades: 3rd-8th

This class requires students to register for weekly private lessons in addition to the 55-minute group class.

Most students will have completed at least 2 years of instruction. This class is available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

In these performance-based classes, students will continue learning together through the Suzuki method in instrumental music classes in preparation for playing in large ensemble. Students will showcase their skills at Merit's annual StringTacular Concert in the spring. Parent Attendance is required.

Students will learn:
  • Advanced Suzuki-Alegre Strings repertoire
  • Advanced technique on the instrument
  • to become acquainted with reading more difficult rhythms and key signatures
  • advanced ensemble skills
Classes meet once per week and includes a 55-minute group class and one 60-minute orchestra (29 weeks).
Details
$735
Grades: K-8th

This class requires students to register for weekly private lessons in addition to the 55-minute group class.

Most students will have completed at least 1 year of instruction. This class is available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

In these performance-based classes, students will continue learning together through the Suzuki method in instrumental music classes in preparation for playing in large ensemble. Students will showcase their skills at Merit's annual StringTacular Concert in the spring. Parent Attendance is required.

Students will learn:
  • Intermediate Suzuki-Alegre Strings repertoire
  • to refine their technique and facility on the instrument
  • to become acquainted with reading more difficult rhythms and key signatures
  • continued ensemble skills
Classes meet once per week for 55-minutes (29 weeks)
Details
$630
Grades: 2nd - 8th

Most students will have completed at least 1 year of instruction. This class is available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

Students will continue to work on solo repertoire and basic skills while preparing to play in a large ensemble. A spring concert will be held to showcase the students' skills.

Students will learn:
  • basic scales and arpeggios
  • more advanced finger positions
  • to refine their technique and facility on the instrument
  • to become more comfortable reading notes and rhythms

Classes meet once per week for 55-minutes (29 weeks)
Details
$630
Grades: 3rd-8th

Most students will have completed at least 2 years of instruction. This class is available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

Most students begin string orchestra in the third year of study, when they come together to play alongside one another while continuing in their instrumental musical classes. The string orchestras will showcase their skills in the winter and spring concerts.

Students will learn:
  • to use all four strings
  • advanced finger positions
  • to count basic rhythms and begin counting rhythms
  • to identify common intervals aurally and visually
  • to identify common key signatures
Classes meet once per week for 2 hours (29 weeks)
Details
$735
Grades: 5th-10th

Available to students via teacher recommendation or placement audition.

Students will continue to develop their voice as an instrument and deepen their musical studies through Merit's unique vocal curriculum. Students will also attend Mixed Chorus which is a mandatory class for all Merit voice students (see Mixed Chorus for more details).

Students will learn:
  • to sing repertoire in three and four part harmony
  • to learn to sight-sing
  • to refine aural skills
  • to take part in advanced small and large group repertoire
  • to refine tone and technique
Schedule:
Classes meet once per week and includes one 55- minute group class and one 60 minute large ensemble rehearsal (29 weeks).
Details
$960

Ages newborn - 18 months

Stimulate baby's young mind exploring movement, rhythm, simple percussion instruments and high and low sounds. In Shake, Rattle & Roll, babies are introduced to musical sounds, new sensations, and instruments like shakers, tambourines, and drums that help develop motor skills and create strong neural pathways. Join our community of parents and caregivers in musical games and activities that introduce music for the first time, and learn along with your baby so that you can continue making music at home.

Classes meet once per week (10 weeks)

Details
$200

Ages: 18 months - 3 years

Put your toddler's energy to good use! In Movers & Shakers your child will laugh dance, and bounce to the beat of music from around the world. Children cooperate with each other as they sing and play percussion instruments together, and parents learn new songs, games, and activities to continue music-learning at home. By creating simply rhythms with their bodies and learning songs, nursery rhymes and movement from our American heritage and world cultures, children develop coordination and motor skills, strengthen spatial reasoning, and increase language and literacy. Students must be at least 18 months old by the 1st day of class to participate. Parent/caregiver attendance required.

Classes meet once per week (10 weeks)

Details
$200

Ages: 3 - 5 years

Prepare to be amazed by what your young musician can do! In Music Masters I, students will learn the components of timbre, rhythm, pitch, beat, and style through muti-disciplinary teaching that explores your child's love of music, art, and storytelling. In this imaginative class, your child will explore beat and rhythm, experiment with percussion instruments, and play and sing along to music from cultures around the world! Children and their parents/caregivers cooperate together in class, and teachers discuss ways to continue the learning outside the classroom as well. Students must be at least 3 years old by the 1st day of class to participate. Parent/caregiver attendance required.

Classes meet once per week (10 weeks)

Details
$200

Ages: 5 - 7 years

Music Masters II gives students a strong musical foundation and a head start in learning music theory and instrument study through singing games, and movement activities. Children learn to read rhythms and musical notes on the staff, create short compositions, and play the glockenspiel. Students will musical notes and create short compositions, and play glockenspiel. Students will explore the instrument families and complete short weekly homework assignments to reinforce learning. Parents/caregivers will join their child for the last 15 minutes of class.

We highly recommend Music Masters II as a prerequisite or co-requisite to our beginning Instrumental & Vocal Music Program. It can be taken as a continuation of Music Masters I or as a stand-alone class. Registration for this class enrolls your student for the entire academic year (October - May). Students who graduate from Merit's Music Master's II program may receive
early admittance into our Instrumental Music program. Students must be at least 5 years old by the first day of the session to participate.

Classes meet once per week (30 weeks)
Details
$530
Grades: 5th-10th

As part of Merit's voice curriculum, more advanced male and female students will participate in Mixed Chorus (see Beginner Voice and intermediate Voice for more details). Students will sing together in harmony and unison as a musical ensemble.

Students will learn:
  • to sing advanced repertoire in three and four part harmony
  • to sing ensemble repertoire in several languages
  • more advanced ensemble skills like group intonation and blending
Details
$350
Private lessons are the key component to reaching one's full potential as a musician, especially when combined with Merit School of Music's instrumental Music or Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory programs. Merit School of Music's faculty provides students with one-on-one instruction that is necessary to advance their level of musicianship and allows students to explore their individual talents and interests, develop skills and overcome challenges. Students who take private lessons learn in-depth instrumental technique, practice methods, dedication, commitment and achievement. Feedback is a required part of the process.

Resources and opportunities included in private lesson tuition:
  • one on one instruction with tailored goal setting
  • Access to Merit's highly qualified and dedicated faculty
  • Financial aid for qualifiying families
  • Annual studio recital
  • Merit Young Musician's Competition (March)
  • Two written evaluations per year (February and June)
  • Access to Merit's library and audio/visual recordings
  • Free admission to most Merit concerts at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center
Details
 
One of Merit's signature programs, the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory represents the culmination of Merit's music education continuum with the most accomplished of the student musicians; entry is by audition only.

In return for students' hard work and dedication, Merit provides the Conservatory experience on a tuition free basis. Students' skills are showcased in concerts and performances throughout the year. instruction from Chicago's finest music educators is provided through a weekly curriculum that includes large ensembles, instrumental technique classes, music theory classes and a variety of elective classes, as well as live performances. World-class professional artists lead master classes.
Details