The Chicago Academy of Music has opened its doors in Hyde Park, offering students an opportunity to take private lessons with internationally acclaimed faculty and mentors. The primary campus is located at University Church on 5655 South University Avenue, though the music school has two satellite campuses at Saint Adalbert’s Church in West Chicago and Mana Contemporary Chicago in Pilsen.
Executive Directors Michael Scott Carter and Kahil El’Zabar founded the academy to discover local musical prodigies and foster creativity through masters of music who reside in Chicago.
“Bebop and jazz masters like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk became masters because of the camaraderie of other masters. Historically, there is a relationship from prodigy to prodigy through prodigy,” El’Zabar said.
The duo also wants to use the Academy to create a musical community.
“Music was created as a group function,” El’Zabar continued. “In a pedagogical perspective, we had to make [music] an individualized practice so students would be able to grasp what music is; but that sanitizes what music is to the very soul, to exemplify...With camaraderie of other masters, the unique nuances, secrets of expression, and formulas of excellence that are individually forged can be collectively garnered to share with our student populous for a much more direct impact of specialness.”
In expanding the music program on campus, Scott hopes to invite University of Chicago students to participate in collaborative events. El’Zabar stated that the academy is open to matching teachers with different genres of music that students may wish to explore. “We are open to innovation. We encourage students who want to be a part of this community to build and deliver something that is wonderful for the community,” Scott said.