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NIU Community School of the Arts offers summer programs

The Northern Illinois University Community School of the Arts has some great programming for children and adults this summer.

Classes, ensembles, and day camps begin the week of June 17 and run throughout June and July. All classes and lessons are taught on campus.

Private lessons

Private lessons offered on most musical instruments, as well as in specific areas of theater (such as auditioning skills), and visual art (such as drawing). Teachers are NIU students and faculty, as well as community artists. Students and teachers meet every week for six weeks and are taught at times and days that are convenient to both students and teachers.

Music day camps

Duet Camp (ages 8 to 15) is for string players, flutists and clarinetists who enjoy playing their instrument with others. Campers refine note-reading skills, learn more about playing music with others, and develop listening and leadership skills. Campers are expected to have at least one year of playing experience. The camp meets from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on July 8 to 11. The camp is limited to 12 players.

String Quartet Chamber Camp (ages 12 to 19) is for string players. Campers enjoy a sight-reading party, seminars on music theory, history, rehearsal techniques, a master class with a professional string player and a recital. The camp meets July 8 to 11 from 1 to 5 p.m. and the sight-reading party is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 25. The camp is limited to 16 players.

Auditions are required for all campers and are scheduled for May 13. Interested campers must register and sign up for an audition by noon May 10. More information is available on the website or from the office.

Camp director Laurie Rodriguez is a music educator who has many years of experience teaching chamber music, classes for small children, and violin lessons. She is an active performer as a member of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and has performed with several local chamber groups.

Music for young children

Prelude Class (ages 1 to 3) is a group class with lots of fun music listening, creative movement activities, songs, and lap games. Development Class (ages 3 to 5) builds on the material learned in Prelude Class and adds musical patterns and skills through games, songs, creative movement, playing percussion instruments, basic music theory and learning about some of the instruments of the orchestra. A parent must accompany the child to each class. Both classes meet on six Wednesday evenings beginning June 19. Prelude begins at 5:45 p.m. and Development begins at 6:20 p.m. Laurie Rodriguez teaches.

Piano Starter for Children is a beginning piano class for ages 5 to 7. Children meet in a small-group environment and learn basic notes and position of keys and play simple tunes. This is a great way for parents to know whether their children are ready for private lessons. The class meets for six Tuesdays beginning June 18 from 4 to 4:40 p.m. Teacher Barbara Wirz-Ellsworth has many years’ of teaching experience, both as a private piano teacher and as a teacher of group classes. She has been with the community school for many years.

Music for older kids, adults

Guitar Basics is a beginning class in which students learn to read music, play songs, and construct and play scales and chords. Students gain knowledge about music theory and experience various styles of guitar techniques. The class meets for six Wednesdays beginning June 19. Guitar Basics, Section 1 is for ages 9 to 12 and meets from 7 to 7:55 p.m.; Guitar Basics, Section 2 is for ages 13 to adult and meets from 8 to 8:55 p.m. Teacher Quentin Dover is an experienced guitar teacher with many years experience teaching all ages both privately and in a group setting.

Square One Piano: Group Basics Class is a beginning group piano class for ages 13 to adult. Students learn simple tunes and basic skills, such as reading music and playing chords. Piano Forte: Building Piano Skills is an intermediate group piano class for ages 13 to adult. Students are encouraged to choose music to learn that they enjoy listening to, from ragtime to folk to show music. Both classes meet on Monday evenings, Square One from 6 to 6:55 p.m. and Piano Forte from 7 to 7:55 p.m.

Teacher Susan Breitner-Hurm has taught children and adults piano lessons, both privately and in groups, for many years. She teaches Suzuki piano lessons for the community school.


NIUkulele Ensemble is a fun group designed for beginning and intermediate players ages 9 to adult. Students learn to play melodies, chords and songs in many styles and to perform solo and in unison and harmony. Beginners receive instruction on the instrument and players with more experience are assigned more involved parts. Guitar teacher Eric Schroeder directs the group. He brings many years of experience as a private and group lesson teacher to the ensemble. The group meets for six Mondays beginning June 17 from 7 to 7:55 p.m.; there is a final night recital.

CSA Guitar Ensemble encourages players to enjoy the guitar in an ensemble setting and gain confidence and skill on the instrument. The class is designed for beginning and intermediate players. The group meets for six Wednesdays beginning June 19 from 7 to 7:55 p.m. There is a final night recital. Quentin Dover is the director.

The NIU Community School of the Arts offers year-round programming in the arts. More information and forms are available at or by calling the NIU Community School of the Arts at 815-753-1450. The office is located in Room 132 of the Music Building and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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