January 16, 2019

Hourly Business Closed June 28 – July 1!!


This year, Music Garage is the host of the Chicago date of Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. This amazing camp will feature guitar legend Buddy Guy, rock goddess Nancy Wilson of Heart and Chris Layton of Stevie Ray Vaughan‘s Double Trouble!

Due to the size & nature of this event,
from Thursday, June 28th through Sunday, July 1st.

Monthly room tenants will have 24/7 access to their rooms as usual. We plan to reopen our hourly business on Sunday, July 1st in the late afternoon/evening with normal business hours resuming on Monday, July 2nd at 10AM.

If this camp sounds like the perfect opportunity to live out your rock star dreams, there is a special discount and still time to attend Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp for Music Garage clients! Use the code “Music Garage” for 10% off any Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp package!


Music Garage BBQ!

Save The Date!! We’ll be kicking off the summer with our annual client appreciation BBQ on Monday, June 18 from 6-9PM. 

Our friends from El Big Brother will be returning with their popular taco truck, as well as our grill master/manager John Kemper cooking up the usual burgers (both veggie & beef) and hot dogs, so come hungry!

We’ll be pouring some delicious Lagunitas Brewing Co beers as well.

Join us for live music, ticket giveaways from our venue partners Riot Fest and Reggies, merch giveaways from our neighbors at House of Vans, and a chance to hang out and connect with those in the Music Garage community.

To RSVP and get event updates, check out our Facebook event page here.

Monthly Availability Update – June 2018

We currently have two drum share rehearsal spaces coming open at the end of June! Give us a call at 312-997-1972 for more information or to schedule a tour to check out the room.

Summer Internship at Music Garage

Music Garage is looking for interns for the summer! Head over to the internships page to learn more about our program and how to apply. 

New Weekend Student Rate


Our weekend business has been booming! In order to accommodate time for all of our clients, we have a new weekend student rate going into effect next week, Saturday, March 24.

For student groups of 4 or more, $20/hour all day gets you time in the best rehearsal space in Chicago. The minimum rate of $15 is still available for our duos and trios. Our weekends are as busy as our peak weeknight hours (6-10PM) so we have adjusted the student rate to align with the demand for our rehearsal rooms. 

You can book your next rehearsal by clicking the “Schedule Now” button at the top of our page or calling us at 312-997-1972.

Music Garage is Looking for Interns!

 Winterns (1)

Music Garage is recruiting smart, passionate, organized self-starters for our 2017 Winter Intern team who can dedicate 15-20 hours/week from January 9 – May 14, 2017.

If you want to work in the music industry, there is no better place to get your foot in the door than Music Garage. You’ll have opportunities to network with the 3,000+ musicians that pass through our doors each week. Our staff will teach you what it takes, from both a business and creative perspective, to make it in the industry. We’ll work with you to refine your talents and provide opportunities to foster them, and we have a lot of fun along the way!

Our interns are the face of the Music Garage. You’ll be part of a team (8-10 interns) working towards a common goal of providing the best music rehearsal experience in Chicago. You’ll greet our customers, set up our hourly rehearsals (both booking appointments and preparing the rooms), handle transactions and provide customer service at our front desk. This is where you’ll get hands-on experience interacting with musicians and gaining knowledge about gear. There may be no better networking opportunity in Chicago!

In addition to the hourly business, interns will focus on 1-2 core projects for the duration of their internship. These projects each focus on a specific aspect of the music business and will enable you to develop and hone the skills you need to make a career in the music business.

Check out our Internships page for our program description, requirements and details on how to apply.
Deadline is Friday, December 16!

Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser

BC sticker

Happy October! We’re celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month with our annual fundraiser. Stop by the front desk to buy a limited edition pink Music Garage sticker or guitar pick for $1. You can also donate any amount if you don’t want the swag, but come on, it’s pretty cool! Either way, Music Garage will match ALL revenue donated to the cause to Bright Pink, a wonderful non-profit based in Chicago that focuses on breast and ovarian cancer prevention & early detection. Help us raise funds and awareness all month long!

bc ig

July 2016: Music Education


Us and Them: The Disconnect Between Musical Education and the Modern World

by Bridget Stiebris

There’s nothing like the pungent smell of litter and increased crime reports to mark the beginning of another Chicago summer. With the stress of exams behind them, high school and college students alike can finally take a breath of relief as their obligations drift away for a fleeting three months. For the collegiate musician, a formal education brings the expectations of coursework immersed in relevant and rigorous training that will lead to a smarter, more capable musician, ready to meet the demands of today’s complex world of music. But is that the reality? University art curricula are often criticized for graduating students who have no preparation for the business of art. Do musicians fare any better?

Perhaps so, for those who seek a career as a classical musician, as conservatories and colleges build their music programs around this genre. But what of the electric guitar virtuoso, the wicked fast rapper, of the visionary contemporary composer? Does the classical curriculum educate and prepare them for a career in modern music?

Now, I am not suggesting that students analyze a Beyonce album, but hasn’t something musically important happened within the past 56 years? Why is almost every genre besides classical seemingly ignored by this curriculum? Sure, schools have a jazz studies department. However, as said by a jazz professor at DePaul, “Music school is a place for classical education. Jazz is merely tolerated.”

So what is the reasoning behind this stark discipline of classical music in formal education? While there is no question of the importance of Mahler or Mozart on the complexities of harmonic dissonance and chordal structure, surely someone in the non-classical world has made a difference in the culture and understanding of music. Gospel music unites those of the same faith and creates a passionate, rewarding experience and safer communities. Modern folk music, along with musical theater, rock, and jazz, each have rich histories filled with innovations that influenced not only the music of today, but each other. So why do we keep all of these innovators swept under the rug?


Academic Opinions

Mark Maxwell:

Classical Guitar professor at DePaul

“There have been settings of Beatles tunes by classical composers such as Luciano Berio, Toru Takemitsu and Peter Serkin among others. This in no way goes towards creating a pop music curriculum. The idea of traditional classical training, which honestly has been watered down since I was in school and sort of pathetic compared to European conservatory training, is to give serious musicians the rigorous training they need to function in the demanding venues of classical music. ‘Contemporary’ music is pervasive in the culture. But even then some schools like Berklee in Boston have their main curriculum in popular music.”


Joe Clark:

Adjunct professor of Aural Training, Jazz Trumpet at DePaul

“Yes, schools should have opportunities to explore all kinds of music. There are certain elements of sound and performance that are essential for professional musicians. Studying “classical music” or “jazz music” can be a very effective way of teaching those concepts. However, the application of those concepts is nearly universal!

Classical music and jazz music are both genres that deal with a high degree of complexity and nuance in their sounds and require a critical rooting in aesthetics, history, and the study of art.  Although I can think of exceptions in nearly every genre, the success of “pop” genres can be predicated on cultural influence, lyrical poetics, the machinations of music business, and a whole bunch of other concepts that don’t necessarily have to do with the sound itself. I always encourage students to expand their musical horizons and check out as much music as they can, but my ear training classes have a fundamental rooting in classical music because it is such a fertile source of examples of a variety of harmonic and melodic sounds.”


Comparing these two perspectives, it is interesting to see how opinions vary based on areas of study. I feel like some professors give modernity consideration, but never seriously think about adding it to a curriculum. Others may have such a concentration on the classical areas that they have no need to consider a more modern approach. It seems to me that if any sort of change were to come for this topic, we would need a push from contemporary-based performers and teachers who believe in the value of modernity in the classroom. While Professor Clark  makes an excellent point in the richness of classical music’s harmonies, he also acknowledges that these concepts can be applied to almost any genre — which is exactly what we can do.

An opposing argument to this might be: why is there a need to teach modern music in the first place? These students will have no use for this. Why is there a need to bring the Rolling Stones in the same room as Haydn?

Read on.

Walking Contradiction: Rocking with a Degree

 by Bridget Stiebris

When you think of rock music, what typically comes to mind? If you’re my grandparents, you’ll probably imagine a sweaty stadium full of angsty punks, thrashing about and punching one another in the face. And if you ever attend a Slipknot concert, that’s probably what you’ll see. Is that really all that contemporary music has to offer the world? Think of the numerous recorded performances of Jimi Hendrix. With impeccable flowing movements and a precision so sharp it’s almost scary, Hendrix twists and bends the strings of his guitar as it wails through the night. And what about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band? A timeless performer, Springsteen fills the audience with pure energy and nostalgic delight as a saxophone solo captivates the room. To dismiss this as “dumb” or “reckless” simply wouldn’t make sense. After all, Brian May, the guitarist for Queen, holds a degree in Astrophysics and has worked with NASA on numerous occasions. Dexter Holland, vocalist for The Offspring, has a PhD in molecular biology and has penned multiple scientific research papers.

It’s undeniable that these artists, and countless more, have touched the hearts of millions across the world. It’s music like this that inspires, influences, and propels us through the good and the bad of each passing day. So how does the classical world continue to dismiss it as not “serious” enough? We talk of the brilliance of John Cage, a 1950s composer who created the prepared piano (filled with bolts and rubber bands to alter the sounds of the strings) and wrote the famous 4’33” (a shocking 4 minutes and 33 seconds of pure silence). We study the music of Henry Cowell, who composed a piece called “The Banshee,” which consists of a bow roughly scraping different areas of a cello. Yet, these examples are dubbed “avant-garde” and praised for their contribution to new ideas in composition and technique.

I must stress that my goal here is not to put down or ridicule classical music; only to compare its ideals with contemporary music, and question why it can’t be taken as seriously in our modern world as the pieces above. I am constantly trying to figure out the true purpose behind this definition of “smart” music, and music that is unworthy of this title. And so, in an attempt to answer this question, we must consider those who have a degree in formal music education, and chose to pursue contemporary music paths instead. There is so much we can learn from music school graduates, but above all, we can explore how they have come to fit into the contemporary scene with their formal degrees and years of training.


Kris Meyers:

Umphrey's McGee (Meyers on right)

Umphrey’s McGee (Meyers on right)

Drummer for touring jam band Umphrey’s McGee

Masters of Music, DePaul University

“There’s a learning curve with whatever artists you’re dealing with…how they want to learn songs. But the discipline you get from the rehearsal techniques, the pedagogy, your classes, and the programs –especially at DePaul — they teach you how to memorize things. They teach you about chart reading, about style features. You study all the artists from past, present, of that genre. Understand when someone is playing a certain way.  You learn to speak the language. Big band teaches you a lot about how to set up with the proper fills, how to set up rhythmic figures. DePaul is right in the metropolitan Chicago area, so you’re getting hands-on experience playing gigs, which is where you learn a lot of the real lessons in life.”

Catch Umphrey’s McGee at Union Park in Chicago on September 2.


Arcana (Clark on left)

Arcana (Clark on left)

Joe Clark:

Adjunct professor at DePaul and lead trumpet in local jazz band Arcana

Masters of Music, DePaul University

“One of the most valuable parts of getting a degree in music is being surrounded with a bunch of other people who want to have a career in music. Every member of Arcana has different degrees: Classical Performance (Will Russel), Music Education (Mark Hiebert), Jazz Performance (Dave Agee), and Jazz/Classical Composition (Me). We also all come from different states. If it wasn’t for DePaul University, I can’t imagine our paths crossing any other way. Additionally, our different backgrounds give us different viewpoints and areas of expertise which makes sure we don’t become an echo chamber of the same kind of ideas. Plus, many of our fans first heard about us through musical connections that started at DePaul.”

Find out more about the incredible jazz outfit Arcana here.




Bob Koutek:

Bassist for local rock group North of Eight, Singer/Songwriter, Recording Artist

Bachelor’s in Music Performance, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy

North of Eight (Koutek, far left)

North of Eight (Koutek, far left)

“The formal aspect of my musical education technically began in high school when I joined choir. I had a phenomenal instructor named Debora Utley, who really made sure that music theory was a huge part of our curriculum. Fast forward to college in NYC, where I tested into Advanced Music Theory and was continually challenged to push the boundaries of my own understand of music and all its mysteries. Initially starting with a focus on musical theatre, our professor, by the name of Peter Susser, exposed us to many genres, from classical and jazz, to pop and everything in between. In no time the training I was experiencing inevitably bled into all forms of music I was performing or writing. It has helped me to communicate my musical ideas with other musicians clearly.

I cannot stress how important formal music education has been in my career. Learning music theory and more importantly being able to put it into practice has opened many doors that might have been previously closed. I believe it has helped me become a better musician and band-mate. I’ve played the clubs for nobody. The band has headlined the Metro and House of Blues here in Chicago. I’ve even I’ve sung and danced on Broadway. I truly feel as though I appreciate music more, even being out in the crowd just listening, having had musical education in my life.”

You can see North of Eight at the 4th Annual Homegrown Arts and Music Festival in Lisle, IL on August 6 and 7.


These artists are clearly not your average symphony orchestra members, yet they all praise their education for enabling them to perform better in the modern world. So if you ask the question, “how does modern music apply to classical?” You have your answer in their words.

Like it or not, all music is connected. The skills you need to sight-read will help you to quickly figure out a riff. The energy you deliver in an audition will prepare you for a sold out night on stage. Contemporary music has too much relevance in our world to be thrown away from the classroom. The concept of music education has such incredible potential to give students a comprehensive guide to the galaxies of art that await them in the world — and I say we let it.

 Music Education 101

by Lyssa Sheng

Growing up, while other kids my age were watching Barney and The Big Comfy Couch, my parents would sit me down in front of TRL and had me dancing to Janet Jackson in the family room of my grandparents house. My very first memory was when I attended my first concert at the ripe age of two; N*Sync was playing Allstate Arena, my dad had me in his arms and I remember seeing bright flashing blue lights. I played the saxophone in elementary school and got an acoustic guitar for my 11th birthday so I could learn how to play Jonas Brothers songs. My entire life was shaped by music and still very much is. Music has become a big part of people’s lives and it has connected everyone to one another.

In fifth grade, I remember seeing a commercial while watching MTV with Beyoncé talking about keeping music programs in schools and at the time, I didn’t realize it was a big issue. I couldn’t really wrap my head around the fact that there were people that wanted to get rid of music programs when it was such a big thing in my hometown. The dictionary definition of music education is “the field of study associated with the teaching and learning of music.” Whether younger kids join an after school club to learn more about an instrument or when people go to college specifically to learn about the business side of music, people tend to forget that music education is a real thing in today’s society.

In Chicago’s very own backyard, we have Columbia College of Chicago which offers tons of music related majors such as Music Management and Composition. Then we also have DePaul University which is widely recognized for their music program. Being situated in the middle of one the largest cities in America has its advantages.

Nowadays, being able to study music in school and then take it on as a professional career is a path that many people have decided to take, whether it be actually performing music or being involved with the music side of it. Music education is something that is becoming more common every day and people need to remember that there are certain individuals who want to pursue music for the rest of their lives.

Music Garage’s Top Tips for Getting Booked

by Maddie Price & Leah Streeter

1. Booking 101.

  • Know Yourself—Be specific about who you are and express what you want to your booking agent!
  • Age Restrictions—Work with your agent and the venue to determine whether or not your show will be all ages, 18+, or 21+.
  • Find bands or artists that compliment your style of music—Don’t be afraid to suggest artists for the bill.
  • Maintain communication—Respond to your agent’s emails or phone calls within 24 hours.
  • Get it in writing—Have a contract that details show arrangements and compensation. A written agreement is beneficial to both parties involved and will protect you in the event of any disagreements.

2. Congratulations, you’ve been booked! Now what?

  • Tell everyone—Don’t just leave it up to the venue and your agent to market your show. Take responsibility and spread the word amongst your network and beyond!
  • Attention to detail—Prior to sound check give the venue a detailed outline of your band’s instrumentation. Inquire about the venue’s backline as well as a time for load in.
  • If you’re early you’re on time Everyone assumes that musicians are flaky, so if you show up on time or early it gets the relationship on the right foot. Don’t be the artist that shows up an hour and a half after they’re supposed to perform.
  • Case by case—Use cases to transport your equipment. It’s professional and more efficient. When you show up with gear without cases it takes three times as long to set up…that drives sound engineers crazy!
  • Test your gear—Make sure your gear works and have backups of anything specific to your instrument. Keep backup cords or batteries in your car and separate from the equipment you use daily.
  • Recruit help –Find stagehands/ friends to help you with setup and teardown. If you take 20-30 minutes to setup it can cut your set short. It also doesn’t hurt to have a friend at the door to help count attendees and avoid any dispute over your draw.

3. Remain humble.

  • Be weary of the guest list—Make sure you don’t go over the number of people the venue allows. If your friends support you, they’ll pay to see you play.
  • Food+Booze – Ask the venue if your arrangement includes food/drink tickets.
  • Rider – If the venue has hospitality or asks for a rider, be realistic. If you’re a 12-pack of PBR band—don’t tell them you need 2 bottles of Courvoisier. Remember you are there to perform!

4. The Performance.

  • You’ve finally made it to the stage. Enjoy yourself and don’t let little mistakes get you down or affect the rest of your performance.

5. And that’s a wrap!

  • Pack up! – Gather all your belongings quickly and efficiently to please the venue.
  • Network –Support the other acts on the bill and interact with fans after the show. The connections you make that night are potential business contacts and friends.

**Use our tips and adapt them to what works for you! Whether it’s your first show or your last show, professionalism is always valued. A good reputation is the determining factor for getting rebooked, as well as, building quality relationships with agents, venues, and other artists. Now go forth and get booked!

All-Ages Shows and the Future of Local Music

All-Ages Shows and the Future of Local Music

by Leah Streeter

The year of 21 is not just the flip of a license for Chicago (and surrounding suburb) kids, yet a long awaited ticket to inclusion. Chicago’s zero tolerance policy for underage drinking leaves many youngins excluded from what seems to be the only fun to be had. For those that are eager to speed up the aging process there are all-ages shows. All-ages shows provide teens with the opportunity to see their favorite bands and get a sneak peek of Chicago’s nightlife. Bars and restaurants that are able to accommodate artists must decide whether or not they are willing to risk their business for the sake of an artist’s youthful fan base and a sold out show.

The possibility of an all-ages venue revival has been lost in several cities with the implementation of strict underage drinking policies. According to Pitchfork, there hasn’t been a solid all-ages space “since the Fireside Bowl returned to its bowling alley roots.” A majority of the venues that host musical acts in Chicago are bars first. All-ages shows do not hold much promise for immediate bar revenue but ultimately give underage Chicagoans an opportunity to engage in the local music scene.

Interestingly enough, there are positive organizations like the “All-Ages Movement Project” that focus on saving and promoting all-age venues. Although these organizations have supporters, they’re not enough to help obtain real estate for all-ages venues. With fewer all-ages venues more artists and promoters are taking it upon themselves to negotiate all-ages shows in an effort to have more draw. Promoter for Music Garage Presents, Tim Worley, says “I prefer all-ages shows because it helps sell tickets and as a promoter you want to see a full house”. For venues, promoters, and artists that abide by city policies all-ages shows come with great responsibility and reward.

The zero tolerance underage drinking policy has left several bars in the city stripped of their liquor license impacting their ability to draw a crowd and make money. A venue in Chicago simply cannot survive without a liquor license. Congress Theater was popular for all-ages shows until they were closed down in 2013. Congress Theater lost their liquor license in May 2013. The revocation order that Congress received from the Business Affairs department also pinned five separate violations of state laws regarding narcotics and controlled substances in 2011 and 2012 (Chicago Tribune). Sure, experimentation with drugs and music historically go hand and hand. We all know the mantra; sex, drugs, and rock and roll. However, since the closure of Congress, venues have been working relentlessly to ensure that all attendees are safe and not sneaking narcotics or alcohol into their shows.

Along with underage drinking policies venues must also abide by the city’s curfew. If artists want their shows to go into the wee hours of the morning they must make a choice to either schedule their shows earlier in the evening or restrict their shows to 18+. Double Door’s Talent Buyer, Nate Arling, says “[they] mutually decide the age restriction with the band/agent and hope they agree with the knowledge, history, and demographics [they] have in [their] market.” The success and safety of a show involves everyone from security to production.

Sometimes if local artists and promoters are unable to negotiate an all-ages show with a licensed venue, they’ll host their own “underground” or “D.I.Y” show. D.I.Y. shows allow artists to be intimate with their audience, create an aesthetic that matches their brand, and live by their own “house rules”. It’s likely that if you are promoting a D.I.Y. show you allow underage drinking policies and city curfew to fall to the wayside. Underground shows are gaining popularity, but they require careful planning and a secure invitation. Overcrowding and a lack of security can attract police, shut down the show, and slap those responsible with a hefty fine. D. I. Y. shows can be inclusive of all ages, but require immense responsibility from curators who want to stay in line with the law.

Ultimately, all-ages shows are a major benefit for Chicago promoters and artists. These shows have the potential to draw larger crowds and provide underage Chicagoans with the opportunity to safely engage in the local music scene. Venue staff members work diligently to ensure everyone in attendance is both safe and having fun.