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- Group Classes & Ensembles
- Private Lessons
- Early Childhood
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- View by Instrument/Age
- Why Choose Merit
- Community Programs
- Selective Programs
- Chicago Musical Pathways
Why Choose Merit?
Everything you need to know about why Merit School of Music is the right place for you or your child.
Chicago's Community Music School
For more than 40 years, Merit School of Music has enriched the lives of Chicagoland youth through equal access to transformative, high-quality music education.
From group classes and private lessons with Chicago’s finest instructors, to our Early Childhood classes for babies and toddlers, to our tuition-free Conservatory program, Merit students of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels have the opportunity to learn and grow through music.
Wondering if Merit is the right fit for you or your child?
Why Choose Merit?
A premier music school with a community focus
Options for All Ages, Instruments, & Levels
The Best Music Teachers in Chicagoland
Merit’s passionate and highly experienced teaching artists are some of the best in the region. They foster a safe, developmentally rich, and fun environment for students to learn and enjoy music. Read what both parents and students have to say about their teachers at Merit.
A Diverse & Welcoming Community
Merit engages students from over 139 zip codes throughout Chicagoland. Students of all ages and backgrounds come here to learn together, dream together, teach each other, and broaden their worldviews. Read more about our community here.
Support at Every Age & Stage
Merit’s robust music education pathway allows your child to continue to learn and grow through music as their interest and skills expand. Small class sizes and individual support from teachers create a personalized music education experience, ensuring the right mix of rigor and fun for each student.
Our High-quality Curriculum Is Built for Musical & Personal Growth
Our age-appropriate and sequential curriculum covers three main areas of instruction: musical knowledge, instrumental skills, and personal and social-emotional growth. Merit teachers are hired and trained to embody our philosophy — providing an inspirational, motivational, deep, and meaningful experience for all students.
40+ Years of Excellence
As a nationally accredited music school, we’ve helped students reach their full musical and personal potential since 1979. You can be confident you’re in good hands. Learn more about our history here.
Merit By the Numbers
esteemed teaching artists
Conservatory graduates attend college
We're Here to Help!
Interested in music classes or lessons, but not sure where to start? Fill out the form below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What instruments, classes or lessons are available? Where or how do we get started?
We’ve created a distinctive music education pathway, which students can join at any stage:
- Early childhood classes
- Group classes & ensembles
- Private lessons
- Summer camps
- Merit Music in Communities
- Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory
Merit offers programming for:
Band instruments include bassoon, clarinet, euphonium, flute, french horn, oboe, percussion, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and tuba. Strings instruments include bass, cello, viola, and violin. Vocal styles include classical, musical theater, pop, and jazz.
Will this be affordable?
What are the other students like? Is the environment inclusive and diverse?
Merit students range from newborns through adults, though most of our students fall between the ages of 0 and 18. The skills and experience of students vary, and we welcome beginners through advanced musicians to join the Merit community.
We engage a diverse student body that reflects the city of Chicago. Our students come from every background and every corner of Chicagoland. As we bring together students from 135+ zip codes through music, we are proud to foster a community that supports diversity, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging.
View up-to-date statistics on Merit’s student body in our latest annual report.
Will my child be able to build friendships outside of school?
Music classes give kids and teens a creative outlet, and the opportunity to forge friendships with music-loving peers from across Chicagoland. This is just one of the many benefits of music education!
At Merit, students love being part of a community and making friendships. Watch this video of students sharing what Merit means to them.