Mission Statement

Led by Founder and Director Mike O’Mara, a longtime Evanston resident and teacher with 18 years’ teaching experience, etc. Music School represents a holistic approach to musical and theatrical education wherein private lessons, ensembles, classes and original productions at every level involve and respect the students’ interests and strive to utilize them to foster motivation towards achieving each young artist’s goals via organic, collaborative study and experimentation.

Class Structure:

Each lesson, class and production at etc. is tied together at every level. From the beginner to the most advanced, each student can see first-hand how their own efforts work to help the entire community of learners. Songs learned in private lessons are then used in student-produced cabarets and musical revues; pieces written in workshops are later performed in our communities; and scenes polished in classes later form the basis of original works of musical theater.

Core Tenets of the etc. Music School:

Guided by the core beliefs that every child, teen and adult deserves an opportunity to learn and create art in an affirming atmosphere and understanding that everyone can contribute to an arts community, the etc. Music School teaches and learns with the following core tenets of operation:

1. The most important part of any school is the students – not the company. What is done in the interest of the students is what is good for the school.

2. Arts education and participation is a core component of the human experience and deserved by all, regardless of race, religion (or choice not to follow a religion), economic status, gender, age, or sexual orientation.

3. An arts school is only as strong as it’s most inexperienced student. It is the responsibility of those who have acquired skills over time and through training to mentor and affirm those who are just starting their arts journey. We were all them once.

4. Innovative, original, exciting programming should not be limited by audition only to those with the benefit of being born with tremendous innate ability, access to private tutors or extroverted personality types. It is the responsibility of our community to affirm and celebrate the efforts put forth by all students at all levels. There will therefore be NO audition requirement to taking part in etc.’s original productions.

5. Teachers in the arts form unique and special bonds with their students. The trust put forth by students towards their teachers should always be rewarded with consistency and respect on the part of the teacher. All teachers at etc. Music School are expected to be there because they want to be teachers first and foremost.

Regular rehearsals and some performances occur at our studio at Noyes Cultural Center. Other performances are staged at various places in and around Evanston and the surrounding neighborhoods!