Music is an art form whose medium is sound. Its common elements are pitch, rhythm, dynamics (how loud or soft it is), and the sound qualities of timbre and texture. The structure of music ranges from organized pieces, through improvisational (performed on the fly) music, to music made with elements of chance.

Create your own

Get a beat going. Let people feel what you do. Tell them your story. Hear and watch other musicians for inspiration. Record what you're making. Perform.

Start with

Music happens with the right combination of sounds. Experiment with different ways to make noise: tap out a beat on a surface, sing a tune, and even try playing an instrument if you can.

Create and practice a complete routine, whether it be singing your own verse or playing your own beat. Repeat until you feel comfortable, which might take a few tries. Record along the way so that you can listen to yourself and hear how you're improving (there will be a big difference between Day 1 and Day 5!).

Then try

When you listen to music, try to hear each instrument or sound and think about how the artist used a combination of them in very specific ways to make you feel an emotion. Think about how you might use some of those techniques to evoke feelings in your own work.

Try playing with speed, loudness, and rhythm. What if you started quiet, and then got louder? What if you changed the timing? You might also consider combining multiple sounds (such as tapping a beat while singing along) to see how they work together.

Keep going

Music is great for bringing in people. Consider inviting other musicians to play with you, both to offer feedback and also to inspire you to try new things. Keep experimenting with new instruments, integrating other pieces of music, and testing other ways to make sound.

Look for opportunities to perform, as well as to hear others. Start small - maybe just with a group of friends - and work your way to open mics. Consider uploading your music online to share with others. Once you've collected enough recordings, you might even create an album to share with family and friends.


Workshops & Events


Arts = Smarts

After School Program
Organized by Little Black Pearl
Time: Monday-Friday, 3-6 pm
Location: 1060 East 47th St
Contact us: call 773-285-1211 to confirm
Cost: FREE

Hiphop Peace Circles

Email for more info
Organized by Circles & Ciphers
Time: Thursdays 5-8pm
Location: 1545 W. Morse Avenue (email first)
Contact us:Please email before visiting:
Cost: FREE

Drop In Hip Hop Arts Programs

Organized by Kuumba Lynx
Time: Summer: Monday-Friday 9am-3pm
Fall & Spring: Monday-Friday 4-8pm
Location: 4501 N. Clarendon
Contact us: call 773-569-2103 to confirm
Cost: FREE

Digital Music Production

Organized by Ray of Hope Center of the Arts
Time: Wednesdays 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: 1818 East 71st Street
Contact us: call 773-667-2100 to confirm
Cost: FREE

Multimedia Projects

Organized by Street-Level Youth Media
Time: Saturdays 12-6 pm
Location: 1637 N. Ashland
Contact us: call 773-862-5331 to confirm
Cost: FREE

World Music Wednesday

Showcase of music and dance
Organized by Old Town School of Folk Music
Reserve free tickets online
Time: Wednesdays 8:30-9:30pm
Location: 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue
Contact us: call 773-751-3337 to confirm
Cost: FREE (donations accepted)


World Music Festival Chicago

City-wide 11 day free festival
Check Facebook for shows and locations
Time: September
Location: Venues around Chicago
Cost: FREE