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Community Outreach

For over 15 years, VanderCook has offered dynamic music education outreach programming to the local community. Thousands of children and adults alike have learned to play instruments for the first time, read music, and improved their abilities through the many on-site and on-campus programs offered throughout the year.

One City

One City offers free music lessons, rehearsals and instruments to 5th through 8th graders from local schools and neighborhoods, using jazz as the musical foundation. Read more about One City here.

Toot 'n' Doodle

Since 1998, the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra has run Toot ‘N Doodle, a musical arts program designed to introduce 2nd & 3rd graders to the woodwind, brass, percussion, and string families. VanderCook students hone their teaching skills by giving demonstrations and guiding children through hands-on touch and try-out sessions with each instrument. For many children this "musical petting zoo” is their first experience playing non-toy musical instruments.

Community Music Program

VanderCook's Community Music Program (CMP) offers private music lessons to children and adults alike in piano, guitar, voice, all orchestral instruments, as well as jazz techniques at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Personalized learning environments are tailored for each individual student.

CMP lessons are taught on a weekly basis at VanderCook on the Illinois Institute of Technology Campus. Instruction is provided by upper division and graduate music majors at VanderCook.
Sessions consist of 8 lessons of 30 minutes each at a date and time scheduled by the instructor and student. Tuition for 8 30-minute lessons is $200.00 for a student instructor, or $320.00 for a faculty instructor.

Learn more about VanderCook faculty members here.

To register for Community Music Program courses and ensembles, please call 312.225.6288.

Vocal Arts Camp

This summer program concentrates on the most crucial aspects of vocal performance, and help young voices reach their fullest potential. Led by veteran choral music educators and performers, this weeklong day camp provides voice lessons, daily master classes and workshops. Read more about the camp here.

Summer Strings Camp

VanderCook is excited to offer this free musical day camp to Chicago middle and high school violin, viola, cello, string bass and guitar students. Presented in collaboration with Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc., this program culminates with a public performance at the week's conclusion. 2019's Summer Strings Camp runs July 29 through August 9, with a concert on the 9th. More details coming soon!

Chicago Community Classical Guitar Ensemble

The Chicago Community Classical Guitar Ensemble was formed in 1997 by VanderCook guitar instructor Dr. Julie Goldberg. The ensemble consists of guitarists from all walks of life. Most have professions outside of music; some are full-time students; and a few are professional musicians and teachers. All share a love for the instrument and enjoy the challenges and rewards of working together in an ensemble.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining The Chicago Community Classical Guitar Ensemble, please call 312.225.6288 or email Dr. Julie Goldberg directly at


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



VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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