Strings

Whether you’re the first chair in your high school’s orchestra or are just getting started with music, Merit’s celebrated Strings faculty is here to help unlock your full potential. 

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

Each year, Merit violinists, violists, cellists, and bassists, of all ages come together to perform in concerts online, at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, and at venues throughout the city. Past performances include concerts at the Symphony Center, Chicago History Museum, Chicago Cultural Center, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the World Suzuki Convention in Masumoto, Japan.

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. 

Browse fall strings classes

Fall registration opens August 3! Here’s a preview of the virtual programs we’re offering this fall.

Merit’s Beginning Suzuki-Alegre Strings classes focus on the foundations of proper string technique, basic musical concepts, and performance skills in a small group setting that works in harmony with the student’s private lesson routine. Students will learn the following skills:

  • Proper posture and hand position
  • Critical listening skills
  • How to produce a clear, consistent tone

Sign Up

Merit’s Beginning Traditional Strings classes focus on the foundations of proper string technique, note reading, basic musical concepts, and performance skills. Your student will begin playing in a weekly small group class with ample opportunity for group learning and individual support.

Students will learn the following skills:

  • Proper posture and hand position
  • Critical listening skills
  • How to produce a clear, consistent tone

Students who already have playing experience should schedule a placement audition instead of registering for a beginning group strings class.

Sign Up

Take your young strings student’s technical and musical skills to the next level by signing them up for a Continuing Suzuki-Alegre class with Merit’s celebrated faculty. As students progress through the curriculum, classes are extended to allow for more in-depth work on advanced technique, musical skill work, and music theory.

Sign Up

Help your young strings player continue to develop their technical and musical skills by signing them up for a Continuing Traditional Strings class with Merit’s celebrated faculty. Higher-level classes are expanded to 90 minutes to allow for more in-depth work on advanced technique, musical skill work, and music theory.

Sign Up

Programs for musicians of all levels

Group Classes & Ensembles

Temporarily Virtual

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

Private Lessons

Temporarily Virtual

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

Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory

Temporarily Virtual

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

Summer Camps & Workshops

Virtual Summer 2020

Safely make friends, memories, and music all summer long with Merit’s online camps, classes, and workshops.

Chicago’s finest strings faculty

“My role is to guide students through their many years at Merit, to offer them different encouraging paths, to lift them up when they are in doubt, and redirect them when they are losing strength. Thankfully, music is my greatest ally. Who can resist music’s beauty, its capacity to enter into everyone’s inner spirit? My students look back and realize their transformation through music. They look back and realize the immeasurable value of what Merit helped them achieve.”

– Monica Lugo
Head of Merit’s Suzuki-Alegre Strings Ensemble
& Strings Faculty Member

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