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A & E

CSA offers summer music lessons, classes, ensembles

Students of all ages enjoy learning to play musical instruments at the Northern Illinois University Community School of the Arts.
Students of all ages enjoy learning to play musical instruments at the Northern Illinois University Community School of the Arts.

Learn something new this summer. The Northern Illinois University Community School of the Arts offers a variety of programs for children and adults. 

Music classes, ensembles and private lessons begin in June and run through the end of August. All classes and lessons are taught on the campus of NIU.

Call the CSA office for more information or visit to find summer programs and online registration. Register for the session activities by June 3.


Community members of all ages and skill levels are invited to participate in private music lessons, to brush up old skills or try a new instrument. Lessons are available on many musical instruments, including violin, piano and guitar, as well as voice, banjo, oboe, flute, saxophone, drums and more. NIU music students and faculty teach private lessons, as well as experienced community-based artists and educators. Students and teachers complete six weekly music lessons from June 10 through July 29, at a time convenient for both.


Prelude Class (ages 1 to 3) is a group class with lots of fun for kids and parents. Class activities include music listening, creative movement, songs, lap games and more.

Development Class (ages 3 to 5) builds on the material learned in Prelude Class, adding musical patterns and skills through games, songs, creative movement, percussion instruments, basic music theory and learning about some of the instruments of the orchestra. A parent or caregiver must accompany the child to each class.

Prelude and Development classes meet on six Saturdays starting mid-summer July 13 (no class on Aug. 3). Prelude begins at 10 a.m. and Development begins at 10:35 a.m. Traditional and Suzuki violin instructor, music educator and Chamber Music workshops director Laurie Rodriguez teaches both of these popular classes.

Piano Starter

Children explore the piano in a fun, small-group setting, learning basic notes and playing simple tunes. For parents, this class is an opportunity to see if your child is ready for private lessons. No previous musical experience is required for this class. Information about the book parents are asked to purchase will be emailed before the first class meeting. CSA teacher Lauren McCombe leads this class on six Tuesdays beginning June 11 from 4 to 4:40 p.m. (no class July 2). Piano Starter is limited to four students, and early registration is recommended.


Guitar for Kids provides children ages 8 to 12 with an introduction to guitar playing through a fun, song-oriented approach to learning.

Guitar Basics is a beginning class for ages 13 to adult where students learn to read music, play songs, and construct and play scales and chords, in addition to learning about music theory and exploring a range of guitar techniques.

In Intermediate Guitar, students develop unique styles of playing, continue to learn music theory and build more advanced playing techniques.

The group guitar classes meet for six Wednesdays beginning June 12 (no class July 3). Instructor Quentin Dover is an accomplished musician and teacher, with many years of experience working with students of all ages, both privately and in a group setting.

Adult Piano is a beginning group piano class for ages 13 to adult. Bring the joy of piano music to your life and enjoy getting to know fellow musicians in this beginning class. Students learn simple tunes and basic skills such as reading music and chords. Every student plays on a keyboard in a piano classroom. Adult Piano class meets six times on Tuesdays beginning June 11 (no class July 2) from 5:15 to 6 p.m. CSA piano and harp instructor Lauren McCombe teaches this class.

Qi Gong (or Chi-Kung) is a precursor of Tai Chi. For ages 12 to adult, this class will focus on 24 postures divided into three sets. These exercises can be done at one time during a day or interspersed amid music practice sessions, rehearsals, etc. to renew your energy, release tension, and enable greater relaxation and concentration when practiced immediately before a performance. Taught by Eric Schroeder, this class meets six times on Mondays starting June 10 from 6 to 6:55 p.m.


NIUkulele Ensemble is a fun group designed for beginning and intermediate ukulele players ages 9 to adult. Ensemble members practice melodies, chords and songs in many styles, and perform solo, in unison and in harmony. Beginners receive instruction on the ukulele, and players with more experience are assigned more challenging parts. CSA guitar teacher Eric Schroeder directs the group, bringing his many years of experience teaching private and group lessons to the ensemble. Rehearsals begin June 10 for six Mondays from 7 to 7:55 p.m. with a concert in the Recital Hall on the final night.

CSA Guitar Ensemble provides guitarists an opportunity to play together in an ensemble setting while gaining confidence and skill on the instrument. Designed for beginning and intermediate players ages 14 to adult, the group meets for six Wednesdays beginning June 12 from 8 to 8:55 p.m. (no rehearsal July 3). On the final night a recital is scheduled at 8 p.m. CSA guitar instructor Quentin Dover directs the ensemble.

The NIU Community School of the Arts offers year-round programming in music and the arts. For more information, complete schedules, teacher biographies and registration forms, visit or call the NIU Community School of the Arts at 815-753-1450. The CSA office, located in the NIU Music Building Room 132, is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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