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 »

Strings

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

SAVE THE DATE! Fall Early Bird Registration opens June 27

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 the confidence to chase their dreams in music and beyond. 

Merit offers Strings classes, ensembles, workshops, camps, and private lessons for the following instruments:

  • Bass
  • Cello
  • Viola
  • Violin

Browse summer strings programming

CLASS IS FULL June 25 • 10:00am – 12:45pm (Ages 8-13) & 11:45am – 12:45pm (Ages 4-13)
JUST ADDED! 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 Orchestra Camp! Violin, viola, cello, and bass 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 Drumline to Conducting. New this year, your child may also add choir to their Orchestra Camp schedules! 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 ages 8 and up who have studied their string instrument for a minimum of three years (at Merit or elsewhere) and are comfortable sight-reading.

> Learn more & register now!

June 23 – August 4 • 5:00 or 6:00pm for 60 mins

Want to try something a little different this summer? Join Merit’s Suzuki-Alegre Summer Cello Choir! Students will work with fellow cellists on a wide variety of repertoire ranging from classical to modern, with a particular focus on music from Latinx composers.

This ensemble is best for students ages 9 and up who have studied their string instrument for a minimum of four years (at Merit or elsewhere), have strong technique, and are comfortable with sight-reading and ensemble playing. Current Conservatory students should register for the 6pm section; all other students should register for the 5pm section. A placement audition may be required after registration is complete.

> Learn more & register now!

June 23 – August 4 • 5:00 or 6:00pm for 60 mins

Want to try something a little different this summer? Join Merit’s Suzuki-Alegre Summer Violin Choir! Students will work with fellow violinists on a wide variety of repertoire ranging from classical to modern, with a particular focus on music from Latinx composers.

This ensemble is best for students ages 9 and up who have studied their string instrument for a minimum of four years (at Merit or elsewhere), have strong technique, and are comfortable with sight-reading and ensemble playing. Current Conservatory students should register for the 6pm section; all other students should register for the 5pm section. A placement audition may be required after registration is complete.

> Learn more & register now!

June 22 – August 10 • 5:00pm – 5:55pm

Merit’s Beginning Suzuki-Alegre Cello 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. Suzuki-Alegre students benefit from the pairing of the Suzuki method with a diverse array of music from Latinx culture.

Students will learn the following skills:

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

Students enrolling in this class must also sign up for summer private lessons through Merit. More information on private lessons can be found here.

> Learn more & register now!

June 22 – August 10 • 5:00pm – 5:55pm

Merit’s Beginning Suzuki-Alegre Violin 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. Suzuki-Alegre students benefit from the pairing of the Suzuki method with a diverse array of music from Latinx culture.

Students will learn the following skills:

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

Students enrolling in this class must also sign up for summer private lessons through Merit. More information on private lessons can be found here.

> Learn more & register now!

June 22 – August 10 • 5:00pm – 5:55pm

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. Suzuki-Alegre students benefit from the pairing of the Suzuki method with a diverse array of music from Latinx culture.

Students will learn the following skills:

  • Refining their basic posture and technique
  • Mastering scales and arpeggios
  • Memorizing and practicing Suzuki-Alegre repertoire at their level (memorization required)
  • Understanding basic note and rhythmic reading

Students enrolling in this class must also sign up for summer private lessons through Merit. More information on private lessons can be found here.

> Learn more & register now!

June 22 – August 10 • 5:00pm – 5:55pm

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. Students with 1-3 years experience should start here.

Students will learn the following skills:

  • Mastering scales and arpeggios
  • Practicing advanced finger positions
  • Refining their posture and technique
  • Becoming more comfortable reading notes & rhythms

> 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 STRINGS students in action!

 

Each year, Merit violinists, violists, cellists, and bassists, of all ages come together to perform in concerts at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, venues throughout Chicago, and online.

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.

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.