About Us

The Mission


Derek Berg (Owner)

"Clarendon Hills Music Academy believes that striking a perfect balance between musical mastery and creativity in a stress-free environment. Too often, music programs spend most of their time exclusively rocking out OR boring a student with drills. We believe a perfect music lesson should simultaneously focus on building skills WHILE diving into the creative elements of music. Striking this balance combined with creating a lesson plan around the student's musical interests is the mission." - Derek Berg (Founder of Clarendon Hills Music Academy)

Ingredients To An Outstanding Music Experience

1. Musical Relevance (Focusing on the music you love)

It is a fact that students must learn to play the music they LOVE in order to feel a real connection to their instrument. Focusing on the music each student actually cares about is huge in creating an engaging music lesson experience.

2. Large Studios & Open Door Policy

It is hard to inspire while confined to closet-sized studios. Many traditional studios try to maximize the number of studios in a given space in order to maximize profits. CHMA could easily divide each of the studios in half in order to generate more revenue, BUT that would compromise comfort, environment, and the ability to maintain an open door policy for parents to sit in the lesson and comfortably enjoy their child's lesson. Students should not feel cramped like most shoe box studios.

3. Creative Focus

Students will be given the opportunity to explore the creative side of music most traditional studios fail to explore. Improvisation, songwriting, style study and playing by ear are some of the examples of the creative elements.

4. Musical Mastery

Since it is difficult to achieve mastery without the building of a music foundation, students shall take a deep dive into skill building exercises and theory. This allows each student to play more complex and involved versions of the songs they love.

5. Fun Factor

Enjoying the process is huge when it comes to a student sticking with it! Striving to provide a lesson experience that is focused on having fun while simultaneously developing skills is HUGE.

6. Customized Lesson Plans

A one size lesson plan is not practical. Since each student has different tastes and learning styles, each lesson plan is going to be different. This is the main reason you don't see instrumental group lessons as a part of CHMA's program offerings. It is hard to give the VIP treatment to a room of 10 students with different musical tastes, interests, and preferred learning strategies. At CHMA each student benefits from a custom age appropriate lesson plan that focuses on the interests of each individual student.

7. The 4 P's that Make an Outstanding Music Teacher

At CHMA we look for the 4 P's : Proficiency, Passion, Professionalism, and Personality when hiring our music instruction contractors. It can be very challenging to find coaches that have all four of these qualities. This is the reason we have to pass on 90% of the music instructors that apply.

8. The Combination Lesson Option

Students should have the option to focus on multiple instruments within a single lesson time. Most studios don't offer this option. Since CHMA has teachers that are proficient in multiple instruments, it only makes sense to allow students the chance to expand their horizons.

9. Private Makeup Lessons

There is a growing trend in our industry of offering group makeup lessons instead of private 1-on-1 makeup lessons. If a student cancels a lesson with 24-hour notice, they should have the opportunity to take a private makeup lesson instead of packing students into bulk group sessions.

10. Optional FREE Performance Opportunities

Hard working students should have the option to show off their efforts by giving them the option to perform two times a year. We also feel it is important not to charge a ticket fee for families to attend student shows.

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