Play it. Perform it. Record it. Compose it. Pursue your passion and learn from some of Chicago’s finest professional musicians.
CMC: Your music is here.
Learn to play the piano for fun. Improve your singing, accompany someone on guitar, record your songs or learn how jazz was born.
Harper's CE Community Music Center (CMC) is open to all ages and skill levels, No matter your experience, interest or instrument, CMC's accomplished instructors, some of Chicago's finest professional musicians, are ready to help you pursue your music.
View the CMC brochure above or see the CE course schedule.
- Explore with: Intro to Jazz, American Music Styles, Fundamentals of Music Theory and more.
- Learn to play and sing with: Group Guitar for Children ages 7-10, or Group Guitar, Class Voice, or Jazz Improv Combo for adults.
- Record, mix and edit music with: our Sound Recording courses and Certificate
- Step up your music careers with: Modern and Commercial Music Business classes.
- Perform with ensembles, including: Steel Bands, String Orchestra and Festival Chorus.
Start with the basics in Piano Prep or Group Guitar for Children. Plus, you can take take private lessons on a variety of instruments. If you aren't sure if private lessons are right for you, begin with a trial lesson.
The Community Music Center believes the ideal environment for piano students is a combination of group and private instruction. Group lessons offer students peer reinforcement, social interaction, ensemble experience and group activities. Private lessons give students the necessary individual attention for technical development, and interpretive and expressive insights. By combining these two approaches, students receive a comprehensive 15-week curriculum. Students will participate in one 30-minute private lesson and one 50-minute group lesson each week. For more information call 847.925.6000, ext 7236. Ages 6-14.
Group Guitar for Children
This class teaches the beginning basics of guitar playing to children ages 7-10. Students learn to read melodies and chords to play familiar tunes. Guitars and instructional materials are provided. Classes take place at Harper’s Northeast Center in Prospect Heights.
Unless otherwise noted in course descriptions, all CMC classes and lessons are taught at Harper’s main campus in the Music Instruction Center (Building P), a space shared with the College’s Music Department. Teaching studios are equipped with excellently maintained grand and studio pianos, while our computer music lab has over 20 Macintosh computers, Korg synthesizers and an LCD system for clear teacher demonstrations.
Students who participate in group and private lessons have numerous opportunities to perform and grow and musicians:
- Annual Piano Ensemble Recital showcases our Preparatory Piano Program students in a May “monster concert,” of their group lessons pieces. Chamber Music Ensembles perform at Harper events and in the community.
- Monthly Student Recitals help students develop confidence and poise.
- Piano Festival is a non-competitive event for students to perform for an outside adjudicator and receive a rating and certificate.
- Semester Progress Reports to parents note students’ successes and areas for improvement.
- Technique Olympics: Our piano athletes participate in a series of events to earn gold, silver and bronze medals for their accomplishments in scales, arpeggios and other technical areas.
We want your voice.
Join the Festival Chorus, a non-audition community ensemble. We welcome vocalists who love to sing, like a little challenge and want to have fun. We rehearse on Monday evenings during the fall and spring semester, sing a repertoire of classical, pop, and Broadway, and perform two concerts a year (December and May) accompanied by a professional orchestra. Call 847.925.6659 to learn more.
Each spring, children and teens, age 18 or younger who play any bowed stringed instrument are invited to participate in our annual String Groove® Improvising Contest. Contestants improvise on a favorite piece of music and compete for prizes. The fourth annual String Groove® Improvising Contest was held at Harper on Saturday, April 13, 2013. Khalia Wightman, a homeschool student and part-time Hersey High School student, earned First Place, winning a CodaBow® Diamond SX and the opportunity to perform with Harper faculty member and renowned electric violinist Edgar Gabriel and his band StringFusion at their April concert in Harper's Performing Arts Center. See her performance here.
Information about next spring's contest will be posted next year. To learn about contest qualifications and how it works, visit this year's String Groove Improvising Contest page. Learn the String Groove method at Harper this summer. Call (847) 925-6300 to learn more or search the summer schedule.
Test drive our private lessons before you commit to them with a free, 30-minute trial private lesson. Then, continue learning with our eight and 16 week lessons. Trial lessons are available in piano, voice and most instruments for ages six to adult, all skill levels. Call 847.925.6659 for more information.
CMC’s highly trained professional musician instructors offer lessons for piano, strings, guitar, winds, brass, folk instruments, percussion and voice for students at all levels.
Lessons are scheduled once a week for 30, 45 and 60 minutes for 8 or 16 weeks:
- 30 min/week: for 16 weeks $537 for 8 weeks $286
- 45 min/week: for 16 weeks $806 for 8 weeks $404
- 60 min/week: for 16 weeks $994 for 8 weeks $537
If you are applying for Private Lessons for the first time, we will evaluate you so we can match you with an instructor according to your skill level. If you are a new student, complete our Private Lesson Application Form or call CMC for more information at 847.925.6659.
Learn to sing or play a musical instrument. If cost is a concern, tuition assistance is available for fall and spring semesters for students in grades 1–12, based on financial need. For more information or to apply, call 847.925.6659. If you would like to contribute to a CMC Scholarship, call 847.925.6490. Visit our Tuition Assistance page for more information, and to apply.