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Stories

HOW TO CHOOSE AN
INSTRUMENT FOR YOUR CHILD

Not sure how to choose an instrument for your child? We’ve made it easy by breaking down the 5 principles to consider.

BEST OF LUCK TO
MERIT’S CLASS OF 2021

As they head off to college, our Class of 2021 graduates reflect on Merit’s impact and share advice for young musicians.

DONOR SPOTLIGHT: TOM & JANET LEOPOLD

Donors like Tom and Janet Leopold help young musicians by believing in Merit’s core mission.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: MADDY DEANNE

Aspiring physician Maddy Deanne reflects on how her time at Merit nurtured her desire to help others.

MERIT'S JOY FAITH KNAPP MUSIC CENTER REOPENS JULY 6

After 16 months of making music and creating community virtually, we are beyond excited to kick off summer camps & classes by reopening our doors in July.

CLASS OF 2021:
THE CHAMPIONS

Conservatory graduates found a meaningful and creative way to celebrate graduation this year, proving that Merit’s community remains as strong as ever.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: TONY

When Tony was in first grade, he was diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Soon after, Tony’s mother enrolled him in music lessons at Merit.

MERIT ESTABLISHES COVID RELIEF FUND

Thanks to support from the Ralla Klepak Foundation, our newest financial aid fund ensures COVID-19 can’t stop the music.

VIRTUAL
PERFORMANCES

Enjoy some of our favorite socially-distanced student performances that you can watch from the safety and comfort of home.

HOW TO BECOME A STRONGER MUSICIAN DURING A PANDEMIC

Merit School of Music and Chicago Sinfonietta put together a free resource to help you develop your musical skills and artistic practice during a pandemic.

MERIT MUSIC IN COMMUNITIES SPOTLIGHT:
GUNSAULUS ELEMENTARY

“We as adults have to do whatever it takes to make sure that access to what’s essential is never taken away.” – Principal Kiltae Fernando Kim, Gunsaulus Elementary

MERIT HOSTS INSTRUMENT TUNING POP-UPS THROUGHOUT CHICAGO

Not long into the pandemic, Merit realized students were struggling to keep their instruments in tune. Our team quickly found a creative solution.

VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE

Curious what it’s like to learn music online? Pop into a few virtual classrooms to meet some of Merit’s amazing faculty and experience it for yourself.

THANK YOU, ESSENTIAL WORKERS!

Merit’s Philharmonic and String Orchestras recorded a moving performance of Holst’s Jupiter in honor of the essential workers who are keeping us safe.

BUILDING AN ANTIRACIST MUSIC SCHOOL

Merit School of Music stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and join those who are speaking out against racism and hate.

MUSIC HELPS ME LEARN AND GROW

In this infographic, learn how early access to music education helps babies and toddlers gain essential developmental and social skills.

5 WAYS TO KEEP THE MUSIC GOING

Make the most of social isolation by using music to connect with friends, neighbors, family, and the Merit community.

THE POWER OF SONG

In this infographic, learn how access to music education can impact a child’s cognitive growth, wellbeing, and community.

MERIT STUDENT CHOSEN BY LANG LANG

Learn how Joshua Mhoon, a 16-year-old Merit student, was recognized by the Lang Lang Foundation as one of the most promising young pianists in the world.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: ABRIL

“Music lessons are the last thing you want to give up, but sometimes they’re the first thing that has to go. Merit made sure that my family didn’t have to make that decision.”

Growing Up at Merit

While preparing for the next chapter in her life as a musician and student, Carly reflected on the community that helped her become the person she is today.

HEROES: ROLE MODELS IN MUSIC

Mentorship matters! Proviso Mathematics & Science Academy band showed younger Merit students what it takes to set and achieve ambitious goals.

The Summer of a Lifetime

In 2019, two Merit students joined the National Youth Orchestra. Learn how NYO gave them the opportunity to travel the world while doing what they loved.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: EMILY & SAMUEL ALVELO

Siblings Emily and Samuel Alvelo attended Merit as children. Learn how their time at Merit prepared them to pursue careers outside of music.

Merit Wind Symphony Performs

Merit’s Conservatory Wind Symphony was invited by the University of Illinois to take a special tour of the school and perform alongside the illustrious Illinois Wind Symphony.

PASS ON MUSIC: A MERIT DONOR’S STORY

Friend of Merit Diana Leifer supported music education with a particularly meaningful gift. Hear the story of why Diana sold her mother’s piano to support young Chicago musicians.