SUMMER COVID PROTOCOL UPDATES: Beginning June 1, Merit will be instituting new COVID protocols, including moving to masks recommended for all visitors. Current COVID protocols remains in effect through May 31, with the exception of a few special events. READ MORE »

Band

🌞 THERE’S STILL TIME TO JOIN SUMMER music camps & classes!

SAVE THE DATE! Fall Early Bird Registration opens June 27

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 is 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

Browse summer band programming

CLASS IS FULL June 25 • 10:00am – 12:45pm (Ages 8-13) & 11:45am – 12:45pm (Ages 4-13)
A FEW SPOTS LEFT! August 20 • 10:00am – 12:45pm (Ages 8-13) & 11:45am – 12:45pm (Ages 4-13)

Have a music-loving child who isn’t quite sure which instrument to choose? The best way to pick is by trying them all! This fun introductory class is designed to give young music lovers the chance to explore various instruments—piano, violin, trumpet, guitar, flute, voice, & many more!

Children ages 8-13 will begin the day with a session on wind and brass instruments and guitar. Younger kids are invited to join us for the second part of the session as we explore strings, piano, and voice. Students will end the session by choosing their favorite instrument and will have the opportunity to reserve a spot in Merit’s popular fall group classes and ensembles.

> Learn more & register now!

July 18 – 29 • 9:30am – 4:30pm

Make friends, memories, and beautiful music at Merit’s summer Band Camp! Brass, woodwind, and percussion students will build skills together in large ensemble rehearsals and have a chance to try something new in two engaging elective classes, with exciting options ranging from West African Drumming to Songwriting. After students spend two weeks having fun, making friends, and refining their skills with the support of Merit’s celebrated faculty, the camp will conclude with a fun final performance.

This camp is best for students who have studied a band instrument for a minimum of two years (at Merit or elsewhere). No teacher recommendation or placement audition required!

> Learn more & register now!

July 11 – 15 • 10:00am – 2:30pm

Join other young clarinet players from across Chicagoland for a week-long intensive led by Merit’s renowned faculty. It will be a fun and exciting week filled with large group rehearsals, challenging music, practice tips, and chamber music. Come prepared to work hard, meet new friends, and sharpen your skills! The last day of camp will include performances for family and friends.

This camp is best for students who have studied clarinet for a minimum of two years (at Merit or elsewhere). No teacher recommendation or placement audition required!

> Learn more & register now!

August 8 – 12 • 10:00am – 2:30pm

Join other young flute players from across Chicagoland for a week-long intensive led by Merit’s renowned faculty. It will be a fun and exciting week filled with large group rehearsals, challenging music, practice tips, and chamber music. You’ll have the opportunity to work with special guest artists, including Sharon Bezaly (soloist) and Aaron Goldman (National Symphony Orchestra). Come prepared to work hard, meet new friends, and sharpen your skills! The last day of camp will include performances for family and friends.

This camp is best for students who have studied flute for a minimum of two years (at Merit or elsewhere). No teacher recommendation or placement audition required!

> Learn more & register now!

July 5 – 9 • 10:00am – 2:30pm

Join other young French horn players from across Chicagoland for a week-long intensive led by Merit’s renowned faculty. It will be a fun and exciting week filled with large group rehearsals, challenging music, practice tips, and chamber music. You’ll have the opportunity to work with special guest artists, such as Carl Alexander (Countertenor), Daniel Gingrich (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Dr. Natalie Grana (DePaul University), Neil Kimel (Lyric Opera Orchestra), and Sound Mind (Mental Health Advocacy Group). Come prepared to work hard, meet new friends, and sharpen your skills! The last day of camp will include performances for family and friends.

This camp is best for students who have studied French horn for a minimum of two years (at Merit or elsewhere). No teacher recommendation or placement audition required!

> Learn more & register now!

June 21 – 25 • 10:00am – 2:30pm

Join other young percussionists from across Chicagoland for a week-long intensive led by Merit’s renowned faculty. It will be a fun and exciting week filled with large group rehearsals, challenging music, practice tips, and chamber music. You’ll have the opportunity to work with special guest artist, Vadim Karpinos (Chicago Symphony Orchestra). Come prepared to work hard, meet new friends, and sharpen your skills! The last day of camp will include performances for family and friends.

This camp is best for students who have studied percussion for a minimum of two years (at Merit or elsewhere). No teacher recommendation or placement audition required!

> Learn more & register now!

July 11 – 15 • 10:00am – 2:30pm

Join other young saxophone players from across Chicagoland for a week-long intensive led by Merit’s renowned faculty. It will be a fun and exciting week filled with large group rehearsals, challenging music, practice tips, and chamber music. Come prepared to work hard, meet new friends, and sharpen your skills! The last day of camp will include performances for family and friends.

This camp is best for students who have studied saxophone for a minimum of two years (at Merit or elsewhere). No teacher recommendation or placement audition required!

> Learn more & register now!

June 27 – July 1 • 10:00am – 2:30pm

Join other young trombone players from across Chicagoland for a week-long intensive led by Merit’s renowned faculty. It will be a fun and exciting week filled with large group rehearsals, challenging music, practice tips, and chamber music. You’ll have the opportunity to work with special guest artists, including musicians from professional groups like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra, and more. Come prepared to work hard, meet new friends, and sharpen your skills! The last day of camp will include performances for family and friends.

This camp is best for students who have studied trombone for a minimum of two years (at Merit or elsewhere). No teacher recommendation or placement audition required!

> Learn more & register now!

June 27 – July 1 • 10:00am – 2:30pm

Join other young trumpet players from across Chicagoland for a week-long intensive led by Merit’s renowned faculty. It will be a fun and exciting week filled with large group rehearsals, challenging music, practice tips, and chamber music. You’ll have the opportunity to work with special guest artists, including Christopher Scanlon and Dorival Puccini, Jr. of Axiom Brass Quintet. Come prepared to work hard, meet new friends, and sharpen your skills! The last day of camp will include performances for family and friends.

This camp is best for students who have studied trumpet for a minimum of two years (at Merit or elsewhere). No teacher recommendation or placement audition required!

> Learn more & register now!

June 27 – July 1 • 10:00am – 2:30pm

Join other young tuba and euphonium players from across Chicagoland for a week-long intensive led by Merit’s renowned faculty. It will be a fun and exciting week filled with large group rehearsals, challenging music, practice tips, and chamber music. You’ll have the opportunity to work with special guest artists, such as Robbie Black (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra), Dana Hofer (Brass Repair Inc), and Dr. Max Briggs (Vandercook College of Music). Come prepared to work hard, meet new friends, and sharpen your skills! The last day of camp will include performances for family and friends.

This camp is best for students who have studied tuba or euphonium for a minimum of two years (at Merit or elsewhere). No teacher recommendation or placement audition required!

> Learn more & register now!

June 20 – August 23 • Times TBD

Merit’s Summer Wind Ensemble unites advanced woodwind, brass, and percussion students from around Chicagoland to rehearse and perform together in the summer months. This ensemble is conducted by esteemed Merit faculty member Chip Staley and performs a concert around the city each summer.

Merit Conservatory students are recommended for this ensemble if they are in any Conservatory band. We also welcome new students to join if they have at least four years of playing experience and are comfortable performing music at a grade three or higher. New Merit students are required to complete a placement audition.

> Learn more & register now!

Programs for musicians of all levels

Group Classes & Ensembles

Hone your technique and skill alongside other driven young musicians. Beginners welcome!

Private Lessons

In-person & virtual options available

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

Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory

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

Summer Camps

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 online, at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, and at 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. Even when we can’t make music together in person, the Merit community finds new life online through virtual group classes, Zoom concerts, and socially-distanced private lessons.

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

Clarinet Student

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 provides students with the immersive training, feedback, and mentorship they need to learn and grow.