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.

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5 Ways to Keep the Music Going

All of us here at the Merit School of Music miss you! While we’re all stuck inside, we wanted to share a few ways students can use music to connect with friends, families, and neighbors while observing social distancing.

1) Share a song that brings you comfort.

Yo-Yo Ma is using social media to share videos of himself playing short songs and pieces that bring him comfort in challenging times. Take a page out of Yo-Yo Ma’s book, and post a video of yourself playing a song that has helped you navigate challenging times. If you’re looking for sheet music, head over to Daniel’s Orchestral Music Online to browse 12,400 works by nearly 2,000 composers. When you post your video, don’t forget to use the hashtag #MeritMakesMusic so we can share your song with the Merit community!

2) Practice (online) with a friend.

Call up some friends from Merit on Zoom, FaceTime, or Instagram Live, and show then what you’re working on! You could even test out the platform Musical Overture, a website Merit alum Clarissa Bevilacqua used to form and practice with her international trio, as profiled in the documentary Hear Us. These next few weeks are a great opportunity to see breakthroughs in your practice habits and motivate your friends to do the same.

3) Take your private lessons online.

The Joy Faith Knapp Center may be closed, but online private lessons are in full swing at the Merit School of Music and other music schools across the country. If you haven’t already continued your private lessons at home, ask your teacher today about online options. Have some extra time on your hands? If you have access to a second instrument at home or have always wanted to take voice lessons, this might be a great time to learn something new!

4) Share music with your neighbors.

Take inspiration from CSO violist Diane Mues. Diane is bringing music to her neighbors in Wilmette while processing social distancing with a series of front yard performances. Most recently, Diane went outside to play Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 while her neighbors listened on from a safe distance. Click here to watch the video.

5) Catch a concert from your couch.

Shows across the city may be canceled, but many bands are releasing live sets on YouTube and other streaming services. Check out this Boiler Room set by Merit alumni Will Miller and Lane Beckstrom’s jazz collective Reservoir or this performance at WHGB by Merit alum Macie Stewart’s band Ohmme. Many orchestras and opera companies throughout the world are broadcasting live and recorded performances for free. A comprehensive list of these streaming performances can be found at Musical America Worldwide.

Looking for ways to stay in touch with your friends, teachers, and ensemble members at Merit?