In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the CDC’s current recommendations, Merit School of Music has closed the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center and suspended all in-person activities until further notice. Virtual options are now available for private lessons, Early Childhood classes, and small group classes. We thank you for your understanding and continued support during this unprecedented situation.

To learn more about online offerings and supporting Merit during this time, please


Kids Rock. At any age.

Merit’s Early Childhood learning environment is playful, developmentally stimulating, 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 group classes, private lessons, and eventually the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory.


While Merit’s building is temporarily closed to keep our community healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, music and playtime can continue at home with Merit’s virtual Early Childhood music classes.

These online classes will feature the same engaging, pedagogically-rich programming you expect from Merit, all available from the comfort of your own home. All you need to join the fun is a computer or mobile device and access to the internet.

BONUS! Sign up for your preferred Early Childhood class today and get unlimited access to ALL of Merit’s virtual classes until Merit is able to resume in-person programming.

Registration for Merit’s Early Childhood summer session is also still available. Save your spot today!

Why Merit?


+ Language and literacy aptitudes
+ Spatial reasoning
+ Fine motor coordination
+ Planning, prediction, and understanding of syntax


+ Music students show better memory, vocabulary, and reading levels over the course of a year
+ Musical children are more likely to pursue higher education


+ Enhanced communication and interpersonal skills
+ Added motivation/ambition
+ Greater self-regulation, discipline, and focus


Your registration supports an AWESOME mission to provide Chicago youth with equal access to music education.

early childhood merit music


“My teacher’s enthusiasm and joyous attitude were key to my child’s learning.  The teacher ensured that each skill was fun to learn.”

“I loved the use of instruments and props as well as the variation in types of music.  There were always 1-2 inclusions of multi-cultural songs each week.”

“My girls simply loved all the songs – they were always excited to go to class!” 

“Class has definitely helped my child’s gross motor skills.  She was pretty quiet before and now she’s running and dancing all over the place.  It’s something she looks forward to every week.”

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Browse classes & register

FREE TRIAL CLASS: Trying to decide if music is the right fit for your student?  Contact Student Services to schedule one free trial class before enrolling in the full session.

REGISTER AT ANY TIME: Merit accepts late registrants into classes with open spots even after classes have begun for the session.  Contact Student Services to join a class at any point with prorated tuition for your missed classes.  Subject to class availability.

REFER-A-FRIEND DISCOUNT: Receive $20 off your student’s tuition for each friend you refer who enrolls in Merit Early Childhood classes.  See Student Services for details.

SIBLING DISCOUNT: Receive $20 off your second or third child’s tuition when you enroll more than one student in Early Childhood classes.  This discount does not apply to Ukulele & You! classes.  See Student Services for details.

AUTO-ENROLL: Students enrolled in the automatic re-enrollment program receive a 10% discount on class tuition! Learn more about auto-enroll here.