Chicago Music School Makes Virtual Classes the New Norm

In 2018, we introduced you to Ifetayo Ali-Landing, a violinist who had just made her Symphony Center debut with the Chicago Sinfonietta. She was 15 years old at the time.

Ali-Landing received her training at the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, run by her mother, Lucinda Ali-Landing, who has had to take all of the institute’s music classes online since the pandemic hit.

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“I had to get extra creative,” said Lucinda Ali-Landing. “All of us music teachers, if we weren’t creative before we had to get creative now.”

Despite internet lags, a student currently taking private lessons says she’s adjusting well.

“Working with Lucinda has made it so much easier for me,” said Autymn Williams. “I’ve had a relationship with her since I was 3. She’s really good at explaining and articulating in a lesson.”

In addition to private lessons, the institute is also offering performance classes with guest lecturers from around the world, plus educational “Chat and Chew” sessions for parents, where college admissions representatives or professional musicians address parents' questions and concerns.

“Music does not take away anything from your life,” Lucinda Ali-Landing said. “It only adds to your life. When you are a skilled artist, your talent is your ticket.”

It’s this motto her children heard growing up that has lead them to play at the collegiate level.

“People want violists, so that is your ticket to get into school,” said one of her daughters, Adjedmaa Ali. “Once you get in, you don’t have to continue being a musician, that is literally your ticket. They take it, literally take it apart and you’re in. And you can continue to do whatever you want after that.”

“Finding an instrument can be hard,” her other daughter, Ifetayo Ali-Landing said. “But once you get past that, taking lessons is now easier than ever.”

While the uncertainty of the pandemic lingers, Lucinda Ali-Landing says the show must go on. Even virtually.

“For people who are really prone to technology, the young folk, now is their time to shine and come up with some new stuff that they can do with their music,” she said. “It’s time to be an entrepreneur and create your future.”

More on this story

Private lessons and performance classes are just two of the virtual classes offered at the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute. You can browse its full list here

Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3

Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.

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