Clarendon Hills music academy keeps it current
Derek Berg, owner/operator of the Clarendon Hills Music Academy, listens as student Ellie Banke, 11, records a song. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
Name: Clarendon Hills Music Academy
Address: 4 S. Prospect Ave.
Phone number: (630) 986-8742
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:25AM
CLARENDON HILLS — Staying in tune seems to be a big key to the success of the Clarendon Hills Music Academy for Derek Berg.
The business owner prides himself on offering a different experience than one is likely to find in most similar settings. He focuses on giving people what they want at the academy, which offers lessons in piano, guitar, bass, drums and voice to persons ages 5 to 80, regardless of proficiency.
“We have everything from beginning students to very advanced,” said Berg, who opened the business in 2006 and moved to a larger space because of the demand for lessons. Typically they have more than 200 students a week.
“We have an intense focus on the student’s musical interest, which is not the way things used to be with music lessons,” Berg said. “It used to be a lot of technique without knowing why, and the kind of music the student liked really wasn’t relevant.”
Berg said changing times have dictated a need for change in teaching music lessons.
“You really have to pique their interest and engage them,” he said. “There are so many things now to do; it’s hard for people to find time for everything. That means you have to be very present and engaged with them.”
The experience Berg offers at the Clarendon Hills Music Academy extends to the creative aspects of music usually not provided with lessons. They provide songwriting and recording, but also the opportunity to improvise.
“We have two recitals year, but we also go beyond that and do virtual performances,” he said. “We do professional-looking videos, which is something they can share. It’s great, for example, to be able to share that performance with grandparents who aren’t in the area. And parents love being able to actually have a professional-looking video of their child’s performance.”
Berg said he refers to himself and others who teach at the academy as “music coaches.”
“We use all types of music, which allows us to open the door to types of music they didn’t even know existed in some cases,” he said. “You can take jazz or classical to a hip-hop beat; there are all kinds of interesting things you can do with music.”
Berg said he is offering a free lesson to Doings readers. He also will provide certificates for free lessons to readers’ friends, he said.
For more information about free lessons, call Berg, 630-986-8742.