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A & E

Learn something new at NIU Community School

Summer is a great time to focus on the arts and to learn something new. The Northern Illinois University Community School of the Arts has great programming planned for children and adults this summer. Classes, ensembles and day camps begin the week of June 16 and run throughout June and July. All classes and lessons are taught on the campus of NIU.

Private lessons

Private lessons are available 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 for young children

Prelude Class (ages 1 to 3) is a group class with 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 Saturdays beginning June 21. Prelude begins at 10 a.m. and Development begins at 10:35 a.m. Laurie Rodriguez teaches both classes

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. The class meets six times, from 4 to 4:40 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning June 17. Teacher Jaina Krueger is a piano and harp teacher with the community school, where she has taught for several years.

Music for older children and 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 18. 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 begin on June 16 and meet for six Mondays, Square One from 6 to 6:55 p.m. and Piano Forte from 7 to 7:55 p.m.

Teacher Carly Gorman has taught piano lessons with the community school for many years; she also teaches at Kishwaukee College.


NIUkulele Ensemble is a fun group designed for beginning and intermediate players ages 9 to adults. 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 begins on June 23 meets for six Mondays beginning June 17 from 7 to 7:55 p.m. There is a recital scheduled for 7 p.m. July 30.

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 25 from 8 to 8:55 p.m. There is a recital scheduled for June 30 at 8 p.m. Quentin Dover is the director.

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. from July 7 to 10, with a sightreading party planned for June 24 from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. The camp is limited to 12 players.

String Quartet Chamber Camp (ages 12 to 19) is for string players. Campers enjoy seminars on music theory, history, rehearsal techniques, a master class with Chicago chamber musician Jasmine Lin, and a recital. The camp meets from 1 to 5 p.m. July 7 through 10, with a sightreading party planned for June 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. The camp is limited to 16 players.

Auditions are required for all campers and are scheduled for May 20. Interested campers must register and sign up for an audition by noon May 13. 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.

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 Music Building and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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