Band Classes, Lessons, & Ensembles

Whether you’re learning to play oboe in your school’s band, have always dreamed of being a percussionist, or want to study alongside some of the best trombone players in Illinois, Merit’s celebrated faculty are here to help you unlock your full musical potential.  

For over 40 years, Merit students have auditioned into All-State Band, gone on to attend some of the country’s best music conservatories, pursued careers as teaching artists and performers, and gained the confidence to chase their dreams in music and beyond. 

Merit offers Band classes, ensembles, workshops, camps, and private lessons for the following instruments:

  • Bassoon
  • Clarinet
  • Euphonium
  • Flute
  • French Horn
  • Oboe
  • Percussion
  • Saxophone
  • Trombone
  • Trumpet
  • Tuba

 

An oboe player is all smiles before playing her instrument

Programs for Musicians of All Levels

Hone your skills and technique, build confidence, and forge life-long friendships in group classes and ensembles. Beginners welcome!

Work one-on-one with skilled and supportive faculty to explore your individual talents and musical interests.

Join the best of Merit’s talented student musicians by auditioning for Merit’s prestigious tuition-free Conservatory.

Make friends, memories, and music all summer long with Merit’s line-up of camps, classes, workshops, and ensembles.

Watch Merit Band Students in Action

Each year, Merit band students of all ages come together to perform in concerts at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center and venues throughout Chicago.

Past performances include concerts at Symphony Center, Millennium Park, The University of Illinois’ Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and the Illinois Music Education Conference. 

Chicago's Finest Band Faculty

“The Band program at Merit takes a comprehensive approach aimed at helping each individual student realize their potential. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. By focusing on each student’s individual skills, strengths, and weaknesses, we are able to ensure that every student receives exactly the guidance that they need to progress as musicians and as members of society.”

Merit’s Band Program Director

Meet Our Faculty

Our celebrated teaching artists are working jazz, classical, and pop musicians who have toured nationally, led ensembles, and supported students in achieving ambitious goals. Committed to helping Merit students succeed in music and in life, our Band faculty provide students with the immersive training, feedback, and mentorship they need to learn and grow.

Band FAQs

What age can my child start learning band instruments?

Your child can begin band starting at age 9. Learn why.

Even if your young music-lover isn’t old enough to join the band, there are plenty of classes we recommend that will help prepare them for instrument study:

  • Music Masters 2 (Ages 5-7) – This class prepares young music-lovers for instrument study. Your child will learn the basics of music theory, note reading, and music composition through playing the glockenspiel and exploring musical games and stories. Children ages 5 to 7 explore the instrument families, learn to read music notation, compose, sing with Curwen hand signs, and complete short weekly homework assignments to reinforce learning.
  • Ukulele & You! 1 & 2 (Ages 5-8) – Grown-ups and their little ones learn to play the ukulele while the whole classroom community engages with a variety of fun songs, singing games and dances, musical books, and instrument exploration. This class is designed for activities to continue at home to extend learning and family time through music.
  • Children’s Choir (7-10) – Beginners and music enthusiasts welcome—no singing experience required! Students will learn how to use proper vocal technique including posture, breathing, and vowel shape, singing in unison, harmony, and solfege (do-re-mi), and counting rhythms.

Browse Classes & Lessons →

What type of band instruments do you offer?

Brass:

  • Euphonium
  • French Horn
  • Trombone
  • Trumpet
  • Tuba

Woodwinds:

  • Bassoon
  • Clarinet
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Saxophone

Percussion:

  • Cymbals
  • Bass drum
  • Snare drum
  • Timpani
  • Xylophone/marimba

 

Do I need my own band instrument? Do you offer instrument rentals?

Every student will need their own band instrument before their first class or lesson. Learn more about your instrument rental options.

What are the audition requirements for the Conservatory Band Division?

Learn more about audition requirements. Keep in mind that these requirements are updated each year.

What is the attendance policy for classes and lessons?

Students are expected to be present and on time for all classes and lessons. We are unable to provide refunds, credits, or make-ups for any lessons missed by students.

Read more about Merit’s attendance policies.

 

Still have questions? Visit our FAQs page or contact us at studentservices@meritmusic.org.

Additional Resources

Financial aid is available for qualifying students. Learn more about how to apply.

We’re here to help! Find answers to your questions. Click here.

Three easy steps. All ages, instruments, and skill levels are welcome. Get started today!

Start Making Music with Merit!

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