Columbia College Chicago

Music Classes for Adults

Sherwood offers a variety of music classes for all ability levels that allow you to pick up an instrument or play with others in a comfortable learning environment.

* All classes run for 8 weeks unless otherwise indicated.

* For current tuition rates and schedule, visit our Online Registration Center.

Folk & Rock Guitar

Learn to play and sing your favorite pop, rock, and folk songs in a carefree learning environment! Folk & Rock Guitar group classes introduce musical concepts through repertoire from artists spanning the 50’s through the present: Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Nirvana and Coldplay to name a few.

Folk & Rock Guitar 1: Introduction: Learning basic chords and strumming patterns to classic songs while building basic musical skills. (No experience necessary.)

Folk & Rock Guitar 2: Further build your chord knowledge, learn basic finger picking patterns through increased repertoire. (Should have familiarity with chords in C major and E minor and able to read charts.)

Please note: A guitar is required for all guitar classes. Sherwood does not rent guitars, however your instructor can help recommend one for you.

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Fingerstyle Guitar

Fingerstyle guitar is perfect for those who want to learn how to play solo, but still want to enjoy the experience of learning with others. In Fingerstyle Guitar, you will learn a more traditional study of the guitar through arrangements of popular music like The Beatles and jazz standards.

Fingerstyle Guitar 1: Guitar essentials, single note melodies, basic chords, and music reading skills. (No experience necessary.)

Fingerstyle Guitar 2: Developing classical style finger picking techniques, understanding of fretboard knowledge and reading skills. (Must have solid grasp on the chords and scales of C major and familiarity with some solo repertoire.)

Please note: A guitar is required for all guitar classes. Sherwood does not rent guitars, however your instructor can help recommend one for you.

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Classical Guitar

Piano Classes

Since 1895, Sherwood has been the destination for learning piano in Chicago, and our eight-week Group Piano classes are a great place to begin your musical journey. In these classes, you’ll get the opportunity to try out the keyboard and interact with people like you. All group piano classes take place in our digital keyboard lab, and are open to anyone who wishes to participate.
Group Piano 1: Introducing the notes, fingering, and dynamics. (No experience necessary.)

Group Piano 2: Exploring intervals, chords and simple songs.  (Some background in basic finger technique and rhythms, dynamics, know how to read the staff, key names.)

Group Piano 3: Delving into technique, expanding 5 finger patterns, octaves, new key signatures, songs of the waltz and march style. (Must have skills from Level 2 and an understanding of treble and bass clef, rests.)

Group Piano 4: Diatonic chords, dotted rhythms and applying scales to songs. (Must have completed Group Piano 3.)

Group Piano 5: Putting it all together. Applying technique, new key signatures, and introducing blues/rock walking bass lines to increased repertoire. (Must have completed Group Piano 4.)

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Adult Piano Class

Vocal Techniques

Like any musical instrument, singing can be taught. Our new Vocal Techniques class is perfect for anyone who loves to sing and wants to train their voice in a fun and supportive environment. Each eight week class will cover such concepts as sound production, breathing, diction, interpretation and musicianship skills.

Vocal Techniques 1: Introduction, Breathing & Posture. (No experience necessary.)

Vocal Techniques 2: Applying the Concepts, Exploring Dynamics, etc. (Nominal background in singing, able to match pitch.)

Vocal Techniques 3: Singing in Harmony. (Must have taken Vocal Techniques 2.)

Vocal Techniques 4: Solo Performance. (Must have taken Vocal Techniques 3.)

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Sing Out


(Formerly Singing With Style)

From Cole Porter to Kurt Weill, Burt Bacharach to Stephen Sondheim - If these are some of your favorite American songwriters, then this is the class for you! This class is an introduction to cabaret singing that will include performance and listening to classic cabaret recordings. Students will learn how to personalize their performances by telling a story, how to work with an accompanist, and how to engage an audience through the spoken word that is the hallmark of this unique genre of vocal performance. 

This is a 16-week class.

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Singing With Style

Broadway Performance Ensemble

This class rehearses extended scenes, songs and group numbers from the contemporary Broadway musical theater repertoire. Taught by experienced Columbia College Theater Department faculty, this sixteen-week class helps develop acting skills, vocal techniques and confidence. The experience culminates in a final performance in our recital hall, which is free and open to family and friends. There is absolutely no experience necessary to enjoy this class, and everyone is welcome!

This is a 16-week class.

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Chamber Music Ensemble

Have some experience on your instrument and ready to play with a group? This class welcomes musicians of various experience levels and teaches rehearsal and performance techniques through chamber music repertoire. Students with at least two years of private study will play with instrumental combinations including trios, quartets and quintets. Before class, we’ll chat one-on-one to make sure you’re placed in an ensemble where you’d be most comfortable.

Prerequisite: Ability to read music and play your instrument at an intermediate level. Students are placed in groups based on level and instrumentation through a placement audition.

This is a 16-week class.

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Adult Chamber Ensemble

Music Theory

Perhaps you learned music by ear or took some lessons online? Music Theory is designed to create a fully integrated musician and provides you the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of music while learning the fundamental elements of how things work.
Intro to Music Theory: We will cover note reading, ear training.

Intermediate Music Theory: Students will analyze scores, harmonize melodies, and write pieces that will be featured in a Composers Concert at the end of the term. (Must have familiarity with notation, scales and key signatures, and a year of training on your instrument.)

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sheet music


In this class, we’ll explore how words and music come together as a form of expression.  Absolutely no experience is necessary, and you’ll be learning from an experienced rock musician and songwriter with over 100 published songs in his catalog. Come away with some concrete tools to turn your ideas into song.

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