Acoustic Performance Group - Enrolling now!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 by Zachary Kidder | Courses

Hey Musicians!

We're opening up enrollment for our Acoustic Performance Group led by our highly celebrated instructor, Bill Uhler! 

We have a few students who are good players and want to do solo performances, but performance anxiety makes it difficult for them to perform well whenever the opportunity to play for someone arises. Our teachers have discovered through years of trial and error that the absolute most effective way to work through the nerves is to perform regularly.

In our Acoustic Performance Group, We'll focus on performing as soloists or duos to small groups of peers and instructors who will be able to offer feedback, encouragement, and settle some of those performance-altering nerves.  

The group will meet for 1 hour with a limit of 6 performers. This should allow plenty of time for everyone to play 3 - 4 songs. The group will meet weekly on Tuesday at 7:00pm starting June 11.

Call us at (847) 432-6350 or email us at to enroll today!

Recital Reminder

Thursday, May 30, 2019 by Zachary Kidder | Events

We are one week away from our Spring Recital!

Recitals are fun and exciting, but can also seem stressful. The pressure turns up to 11 for some people when they think about performing in front of an eager crowd.

Here are some tips for entering the performance phase of your musicianship.

1. Know how you sound and how you want to sound

Record yourself when you can. You can do this with small personal recording devices like a Zoom or a free recording software like audacity, but a smartphone is usually the most practical option.

Practicing in a large space whenever possible is also a good idea. The demands of projecting in a concert hall are different than a practice room.

2. Don't try to be better on stage than you are at home

We are all here to support your progress in music. If you don't sound as good as you want to sound, no biggie. Keep your head up, celebrate where you are, and recognize that you're better now than you were 6 months ago. It's all part of the process.

3. Downplay The Importance of Performing

Nerves will get you down if you let them. It's hard to play with shaky hands and a nervous voice. Performing definitely can definitely be nerve wracking (and even disappointing) if you've invested your hopes and dreams in the few moments you'll be on stage. It's best to frame the idea of performing as a practical extension of your journey as a musician and enjoy those few spotlight moments. 

4. Address the physical cause and effect of nerves before you hit the stage

What happens to your body when you get nervous and how can you prevent it? We get tense, short of breath, maybe a little shaky, or anxious. Trying to take a deep breath when you're already shaking in your boots doesn't do much good. The trick to getting anti-anxiety breathing exercises to work for you onstage is to incorporate them into daily practice. If you’re used to breathing while you play every day in the practice room, you can do it in performance too!

5. Be kind to yourself and silence the negative self chatter

Artists can be a little self defeating in this way. We tend to attach a lot of negativity to what others might think of our performances, but frankly, nobody shows up to the performance to have their minds blown. People show up to performances because they want to see somebody really enjoying something they love and that's exactly what you are doing. These performances aren't about how good you are or how much people should love your performance. They're about giving something you love to an audience you love. Make a habit of thanking of your imaginary audience with gratitude so that you will feel this emotion as you walk out on the stage.

Student Spotlight: Gen Nehrt

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by Zachary Kidder | Student Spotlight

Congratulations to Music Gallery Academy student, Gen Nehrt! ☺

Gen was recently declared a top performer at the Uncommon Ground Open Mic in Chicago where she performed Lost Boy by Ruth B.

Gen demonstrated something we love to see in students. She sought performance opportunities and used the skills she learned here to gift others with her music. She faced the terror of pre-performance, the relief of adrenaline, and is experiencing the lasting confidence that follows vulnerability in a public space. Gen’s experience is especially remarkable to us because she just started playing the guitar within the past year. Within this short time of dedicated practice, her playing went from beginner to performing musician and she discovered the tenacity to overcome the crippling anxiety that sometimes accompanies pre-performance. 

Gen realized a valuable lesson of performance. She was secure enough to say to herself, “Even if I tank, it will be okay”

This reminds us that wrong notes are just steps closer to the right ones. We should all celebrate where we are and let our best efforts speak for themselves and trust that each performance serves to make us better performers over time.

Thanks to Gen for her ambition and congratulations to her success!