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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

VanderCook College of Music

One City

One City

One City offers free music lessons, rehearsals and instruments to students from local elementary schools and neighborhoods.  Students in grades 5 – 8 can join One City Jazz, which pays tribute to Chicago’s jazz roots by offering saxophone, trumpet, trombone, percussion (drums), bass and piano.  Students in grades Kindergarten – 5 can join One City Strings, where they will learn to play the violin using the Suzuki method, which focuses on parent involvement in the child’s learning.

When children have access to quality music instruction, the positive impact can be life-changing. VanderCook’s One City program helps to make sure all children have access to high-quality musical instruments and outstanding music education. 

One City runs for 10-15 weeks each fall and spring. Any student who completes the program through 8th grade will keep and own the instrument to play in high school and beyond.

Who Can Attend? 

One City Jazz welcomes 5th through 8th graders who have above-average grades with good school attendance and punctuality.  One City Strings welcomes students in Kindergarten through 5th grade whose parents are able to attend weekly Suzuki parent education sessions.


Saturday mornings, 10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  See schedule below.


VanderCook College of Music, 3140 S. Federal St., Chicago


Who are the Teachers?

VanderCook professors and college music education majors.

For questions or additional information,
please contact Dr. Leah Schuman
at 312.788.1171 or [email protected]

Looking for more information about One City?

Please visit



VanderCook and One City thank for their generous Reverb Gives donation of $5,000 worth of keyboards, electric basses and percussion kits for our 5th grade class!

Reverb Gives Logo

VanderCook College of Music is thrilled to announce that our One City outreach program recently received a CityArts grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

One City for website

The mission of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is to enrich Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. To support this overarching mission, the Cultural Grants Program’s goal is simple: to serve as a catalyst to foster a robust, healthy arts community where artists, nonprofit arts and culture organizations and creative industries thrive. In 2020, DCASE will provide more than $2.7 million annually in direct funding for Chicago’s arts community through its Cultural Grants Program. Designed to reach artists, creatives, and nonprofit arts and culture organizations across Chicago, DCASE Cultural Grants provide operating funds and project support for nonprofits and project specific funding for individual artists.

Thank you to our generous supporters!

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

© 2023 VanderCook College of Music. All Rights Reserved.
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