NIU Community School of the Arts - Music, Art, and Theatre Lessons

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MUSIC, ART, AND THEATRE LESSONS - updated for Fall 2014/Spring 2015

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One-on-one instruction forms the core of the community school’s program. A teacher who is sensitive to the student’s learning style, interests, and goals can help the student make progress and enjoy the process of making art — whether it’s in music, visual art, or theatre.

Most of our instructors teach traditional private lessons, a term used to describe a wide variety of teaching methods. Teachers create, use, and adapt methods based on their own experience, education, and performance style. Teachers work closely with students and parents to determine what method is best for the student to achieve his or her goals. Teacher and student meet each week to work on a variety of skills, which in music will include mastering the instrument, as well as sight-reading, music history, ear training, and theory. The community school offers traditional private lessons on all musical instruments, as well as in visual art and theatre. 

In FALL and SPRING, students may register for 14 lessons for one semester, or in fall, for 28 lessons for two semesters. In summer, students register for 6 lessons. Lessons are arranged after a registration form is submitted to the office and will be set up at the mutual convenience of students and teachers.

Resources for Parents
The Parent Guide with tips for children starting music lessons
A Music Resource Guide with area and web sources for instruments, music, and services
A Suzuki Guide for those who would like to know more about the Suzuki approach to lessons at NIU

Duration of lessons
Students may sign up for 30, 45, or 60 minute lessons.

How are lessons arranged? 
To register for lessons, print and complete the registration form. The form may be mailed or faxed to the office, but this process must be completed before lessons can begin or a student may join a class or ensemble. 

  • If you know the name of the teacher you would like to study with, indicate the name in the space provided on the registration form. If the teacher you requested is unavailable, we will call you to discuss alternative teachers.
  • If you are a new student and do not have a teacher in mind, check the biography section. Note that our teachers are listed at different levels based on their experience and training and that prices for lessons vary accordingly. (See the fee grid below for price details.) If you are not sure whom you would like to study with, indicate your preference for the level of the teacher, and we will make the assignment. Lessons are offered on most instruments and in basic areas of the visual arts and theatre. 
  • If you want more information about a teacher, or would like to discuss your options, or do not see a teacher of the instrument you are interested in studying, call the office at (815) 753-1450. We will do our best to help.
  • Once you register, your teacher will call you to schedule lessons at a mutually convenient day and time.
  • Semi-private lessons: Semi-private lessons can give you a different kind of lesson experience - and save you money. Find a friend at approximately the same skill level and we will do our best to find you a teacher. Minimum time for semi-private lessons is 45 minutes.
  • Music lessons are taught in the practice rooms on the third or fourth floor of the north side of the NIU Music Building, unless you and the teacher make a different arrangement. Generally, teachers meet students for the first time at the elevator at the north side (Lucinda Avenue) of the building and accompany them to a specific practice room. Parents may want to escort younger children to and from lessons.
  • Art lessons are generally taught in the Art Building (Jack Arends Hall).
  • Theatre lessons are generally taught in the Music Building; this is a temporary arrangement while Stevens Building is under renovation. Minimum time for art and theatre lessons is 45 minutes.

Recitals and Accompanists

Recitals are a great way for students to share what they have learned with family and friends in a formal yet supportive setting. Recitals are generally scheduled at the end of the fall and spring semesters. At the NIU Community School of the Arts, all private lesson students are encouraged to perform a polished piece at one of our recitals, but it is not a requirement. A list of accompanists is available. Students are expected to contact and pay accompanists directly.  

Note: Some teachers have their own student recitals. They do their best to schedule these recitals to accommodate everyone’s schedule. However, students who are unavailable on the date of their teacher’s recital are welcome to participate in the Showcase Recitals in fall and spring.

All recitals are free and open to the public.  A list of currently scheduled recitals can be found on the calendar page.

Fees and Registration Deadlines 
The deadline for registering for Fall 2014 is August 25 and for Spring 2015 is January 12. Late registrations are accepted on a space-available basis.   

FEES  (The fees for Suzuki lessons are at Suzuki Lesson Fees.)

 Traditional Lessons 14 Private Lessons Fall Only/Spring Only
28 Private Lessons 
Fall and Spring Semesters
Level 30 Min 45 Min 60 Min 30 Min 45 Min 60 Min
Apprentice 1 $224 $336 $448 $448 $672 $896
Apprentice 2 $236 $354 $472 $472 $710 $945
Apprentice 3 $264 $396 $528 $528 $792 $1,056
Associate $376 $564 $752 $752 $1,129 $1,504
Faculty $464 $696 $928 $928 $1,392 $1,856