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By providing high quality musical instruments and expert instruction at no cost to students in Kindergarten through grade 8, One City strives to ​

  • Improve educational access for children and families from the underserved communities in Bronzeville and the surrounding Chicago neighborhoods.

  • Keep alive the rich musical heritage of Bronzeville.

  • Provide valuable teaching experience under master teaching mentors to collegiate-level music education students at VanderCook College of Music.

One City is run by a majority-BIPOC leadership team, and serves students from underserved and BIPOC communities.

Why is One City free?

We at VanderCook believe that every child should have access to the joy and the lifelong benefits of learning to play an instrument and be part of an ensemble, regardless of income or family circumstances.

About us

  When children have access to quality music instruction, the positive impact can be life-changing. VanderCook’s One City program helps to make sure all children have access to high-quality musical instruments and outstanding music education. 

    One City offers Free music lessons, rehearsals and instruments to students from local elementary schools and neighborhoods. 

  • Grades 5 – 8 students can join One City Jazz programwhich pays tribute to Chicago’s jazz roots by offering saxophone, trumpet, trombone, percussion (drums), bass and piano.

  • Kindergarten – grade 8 students can join One City Strings program, where they will learn to play the violin using the Suzuki method, which focuses on parent involvement in the child’s learning

    One City runs for 10-15 weeks each fall and spring, and offers summer lessons and music camps as well. Any student who sticks with the One City program through the end of 8th grade gets to keep their instrument to play in high school and beyond.

Our performances!

Blue Water

Our Team

Dedication. Expertise. Passion.