Meet the Class of 2024
Merit School of Music Blog
by Sam Doran
3w ago
The second movement in the symphony of life is just beginning for Merit School of Music’s Conservatory Class of 2024. On Sunday, April 21, 59 talented graduates received their diplomas from Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory, representing the highest level of achievement at Merit. Together, we celebrated their journey, their accomplishments, and the limitless potential they bring to the world of music and beyond. This year’s graduating class is nothing short of exceptional—future engineers, professional musicians, teachers, doctors, and leaders of all kinds. No matter what their future ..read more
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Showcasing the Next Generation of Musicians at Emerging Artists Chicago Recital
Merit School of Music Blog
by Sam Doran
3w ago
The sun rays bounced off the gable roof and the melodies of Bach, Beach, and Beethoven floated through the open wooden doors of St. John’s Chapel in the Old Irving Park community. The floor was painted in a tapestry of colors shining down from the numerous stained-glass windows. Neighbors out for their Sunday afternoon stroll took a detour to sit and enjoy the notes dancing from young students’ fingers, marveling at their talent and youthful virtuosity.  This was the picturesque scene of the Emerging Artists Chicago Spring Recital on June 2, 2024. Featuring students from both Merit ..read more
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Top 5 Things to Do with Your Baby or Toddler in Chicago
Merit School of Music Blog
by Sam Doran
3w ago
Looking for the best ways to enjoy Chicago with your baby or toddler? Discover how you can explore, learn, and grow together. Whether you’re looking to spark your little one’s imagination or enjoy the city’s natural beauty, there’s something for everyone. We’ve rounded up some of the best family-friendly activities in Chicago, along with our musical offerings designed specifically for little ones. 1. Attend a Storytime The benefits of reading to babies are tremendous, so why not enjoy a storytime at one of the best children’s libraries around the city No matter where you are in the city ..read more
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Top 6 Moments from Gala 2024
Merit School of Music Blog
by Sam Doran
1M ago
On May 14, Merit School of Music’s annual Gala raised $1.275 million to lower barriers to high-quality music education to children and teens across Chicago. It was a beautiful evening full of laughter, delicious food, well-deserved recognition of our honorees, and, of course, memorable performances from Merit’s talented students. Emmy Award-winning WGN reporter and weekend anchor and Merit alum Gaynor Hall returned for her fourth year as emcee. From the opening fanfare from The Bone Rangers (on the heels of their big win at Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition!) to a rousing closin ..read more
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Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts Makes Transformative $1 Million Gift to Support Merit Music in Communities
Merit School of Music Blog
by Sam Doran
1M ago
Merit was founded upon the belief that “Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not,” and our mission to bring that opportunity for excellence in music education to students of all backgrounds throughout Chicagoland. Thanks to the partnership of many generous individuals and institutional partners, we are able to deliver upon this mission 365 days a year. Today, Merit is excited to highlight one such partnership and celebrate the generosity of the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts. Ralla Klepak was an educator, attorney, and fierce advocate for disadvant ..read more
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Black History Month Alumni Spotlight
Merit School of Music Blog
by Sam Doran
3M ago
In honor of Black History Month, Merit School of Music is highlighting just a few of our notable Black alumni. These alums are transforming the world through their musical and extra-musical talents and inspiring the next generation to dream big. Read on to get to know these impressive alumni. Dr. Derrick Gay Respected diversity, belonging, and intercultural competency strategist, Dr. Derrick Gay’s transformative work fosters inclusive cultures in educational and corporate settings. As an internationally recognized consultant, speaker, university lecturer and thought leader, Derrick has e ..read more
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From Conservatory to Career: Empowering Insights from Merit’s Leadership Institute
Merit School of Music Blog
by Laura Stillman
3M ago
The days may be getting longer and warmer as spring blooms around us, but for high school juniors and seniors, springtime can be overwhelming as they face many daunting decisions. Where should I go to college? Do I want to study music or follow another passion? If I major in a different field, will I still be able to use the skills I’ve developed studying music?  On Saturday, April 6, Merit School of Music’s Associate Board hosted a special Career Exploration panel to help the students of the Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory answer these questions, understand their options, and find pea ..read more
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Considering Suzuki Method Strings Classes or Lessons? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Merit School of Music Blog
by Laura Stillman
3M ago
There’s a lot of buzz about the Suzuki Method for learning a string instrument. But is it right for your child? What’s the difference between Suzuki violin classes and Traditional violin instruction? And what is Merit School of Music’s Suzuki-Alegre Strings Program?  You’ve come to the right place. Follow along as our music education specialists (some of the top Suzuki experts in Chicago) walk you through what you need to know when considering Suzuki strings classes or lessons for your kid or teen.  Jump to a section: What Is the Suzuki Method? What’s the Difference Betwee ..read more
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Alum Austin Paramore Writes Graphic Novel Inspired by Merit Memories 
Merit School of Music Blog
by Erin Darge
3M ago
Austin Paramore may be an award-winning copywriter, poet, and author today, but only a few short years ago, he lugged an alto saxophone as big as he was through the halls of the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center in Chicago’s West Loop. Following the release of his debut graphic novel, Malcolm Kid and the Perfect Song, Austin shares how he drew inspiration from his love of jazz that grew during his years spent at Merit School of Music.  Meet Malcom Kid In this debut graphic novel, Malcolm Kid is a high school student and aspiring pianist who finds himself the owner of a keyboard haunted b ..read more
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Top 4 Benefits of Summer Music Camps 
Merit School of Music Blog
by Erin Darge
3M ago
The temperature is rising, the days are getting longer, and—can you believe it?!—summer is on the horizon. As a parent, you might be searching for day camps to help your child stay social and creative while school is out. Summer music camps are a great parent- and kid-approved option for doing just that.  Read on as our music education experts break down the top four reasons to add a little music to your summer by joining a music camp.  Jump to a section:   ↓ Make New Friends & Have Fun ↓ Enhance Skills or Learn a New Instrument ↓ Spark Personal Growth ↓ Learn from the ..read more
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