Who is ChicagoSMA?

The central mission of the Chicago School of Musical Arts (ChicagoSMA) is to provide innovative, high quality and accessible music and arts programming to students of all ages.

Our Mission

Convenience: Classes are offered in your schools, youth centers, places of worship and other safe family-oriented learning centers.

Community: We service communities based on their direct cultural, religious and economic needs in order to strengthen the families we serve. Music and arts have the power to unify communities and bring people together.

Customizable: We work with your organization to create the programming that best serves your needs.

Local Artist-Teachers: Our teachers are renowned performers and passionate educators that live and work in your neighborhood. They are committed to consistent student growth and excellence.  Each teacher at ChicagoSMA has been background checked by CPS and has been an expert in their field for over 10 years.

ChicagoSMA specializes in group classes, private lessons, ensembles, traditional band, orchestra coaching, and in-school program residencies.

founders

THE FOUNDERS

ChicagoSMA is an all female team.  Founded by Christie Sola, Sylvia Myintoo and Fiona Hammer on February 19, 2018.

Our Story

In the spring of 2017, Christie approached Sylvia, both professional violinists, and asked her if she would like to start an in-school group music lesson program at different educational sites in the Chicagoland area. The two women have been colleagues and friends for nearly 20 years, both teaching violin at Near North Montessori School (Chicago, IL). Together, Sylvia and Christie built the Montessori program for more than 60 violin students. Their students, at Near North Montessori, successfully take private and group music lessons as part of their school day. As luck would have it, Fiona, a mother of two of Christie’s students, was passionate about the school’s music program and was concurrently volunteering her time to help the school create more arts-focused events. Within a few weeks ChicagoSMA incorporated, and the three women set their minds to work on creating programming for their first school!

ChicagoSMA offered its first classes, Intro to Violin, Intro to Guitar and Hip-Hop, at the Lincoln Park Chicago Public School Alcott Elementary, Ms. Sola’s sons’ school.

Currently, ChicagoSMA is celebrating 5 years of bringing music to over 50 schools, 650 students with the help of over 70 artist-teachers.  ChicagoSMA has expanded from Illinois to California, with the goal of adding more programs, classes and teachers in the fall of 2023.

Why Choose ChicagoSMA?

ChicagoSMA is unique in that the programming is fully customizable and can cater to each school community’s unique needs.

What makes ChicagoSMA stand out the most is the emphasis on outstanding teachers who are also local artists. As teachers themselves, Christie and Sylvia feel that the teachers should be highlighted as outstanding assets to the community and treated as such.

ChicagoSMA prioritizes convenience, quality and affordability for its families. Classes are held at school, and ChicagoSMA creates group classes centered around the basic foundational skills for each instrument.

The traditional model for music lessons is either a large group ensemble environment or private one-on-one lessons. In contrast, ChicagoSMA’s group classes can run from 4-12 students for instrumental lessons, which brings the cost down for families and adds the fun, community aspect of working in a group environment.

With the perspective of mothers, teachers, and performers these three women are confident that ChicagoSMA can change the musical landscape for students across the Chicagoland area and, with future expansion, across The United States.