Merit School of Music

Voice Classes, Lessons, & Choir

Whether you’re a singer-songwriter, musical theater buff, or coloratura soprano in training, Merit’s celebrated faculty will help you find your voice. For over 40 years, Merit students have gained the confidence to chase their dreams in music and beyond. Our singers have auditioned into All-State Choir, sung with the Lyric Opera Children’s Choir, gone on to attend some of the country’s best music conservatories, and pursued careers as teaching artists and performers. 

Merit offers Voice classes, ensembles, workshops, camps, and private lessons for the following musical styles:

  • Classical
  • Musical theater
  • Pop
  • Jazz

Programs for Musicians of All Levels

Hone your skills and technique, build confidence, and forge life-long friendships in group classes and ensembles. Beginners welcome!

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

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

Make friends, memories, and music all summer long with Merit’s line-up of camps, classes, workshops, and ensembles.

Watch Merit Voice Students in Action

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

Past performances include concerts at the Symphony Center, Civic Opera House, Time Out Market Chicago, The Field Museum, and the Skydeck at Willis Tower.

Chicago's Finest Voice Faculty

“It is my duty to push these students hard toward excellence by making them aware of how talented they are and what a responsibility that is. I give my students—from all walks of life, rich or poor—a reality check, sugar-coating nothing. And if I think they have what it takes to go far, I back up my encouragement by doing my best to infuse them with fearlessness and brazenness that is necessary to pursue a solo performance career. And their efforts are reaping fruit.”

Jade Maze
Voice Faculty Member

Meet Our Faculty

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 Voice faculty provide students with the immersive training, feedback, and mentorship they need to learn and grow. 

Voice & Choir FAQs

What age can my child start taking choir or voice lessons?

Your child can start choir at age 7 and voice lessons at age 12. Learn why.

Even if your young music-lover isn’t old enough their intended level of vocal study, there are plenty of classes we recommend that will help prepare them to raise their voice:

  • Music Masters 1 (Ages 3-5) – This class teaches children the components of timbre, rhythm, pitch, beat, and style. Your child will explore the building blocks of music, experiment with percussion instruments, and play and sing along to music from world cultures.
  • Music Masters 2 (Ages 5-7) – This class prepares young music-lovers for instrument study. Your child will learn the basics of music theory, note reading, and music composition through playing the glockenspiel and exploring musical games and stories. Children ages 5 to 7 explore the instrument families, learn to read music notation, compose, sing with Curwen hand signs, and complete short weekly homework assignments to reinforce learning.
  • Children’s Choir (Ages 7-10) – Beginners and music enthusiasts welcome—no singing experience required! Students will learn how to use proper vocal technique including posture, breathing, and vowel shape, singing in unison, harmony, and solfege (do-re-mi), and counting rhythms.

Browse Classes & Lessons →

How do I know what vocal level I should sign up for?

New to Merit? Feel free to reach out to Merit's Voice Program Manager, Sarah Forbes, at [email protected] if you need help! Returning Merit voice students should reference their teacher recommendation when selecting a Continuing Voice class.

What is the attendance policy for classes and lessons?

Students are expected to be present and on time for all classes and lessons. We are unable to provide refunds, credits, or make-ups for any lessons missed by students.

Read more about Merit’s attendance policies.

What are the audition requirements for the Conservatory Voice Division?

Learn more about audition requirements. Keep in mind that these requirements are updated each year.

Still have questions? Visit our FAQs page or contact us at [email protected].

Additional Resources

Financial aid is available for qualifying students. Learn more about how to apply.

We’re here to help! Find answers to your questions. Click here.

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Start Making Music With Merit!