Altered Stage

Altered Stage

5.0 (4)
1 hire on
5 employees
6 years in business

About this pro

Through personalized music instruction and programming, Altered Stage brings guitar lessons, bass lessons, drum lessons, and voice lessons to life. We specialize in working with absolute beginners, as well as intermediate players who want to hone their skills.

It's more than just music lessons. It's a journey, tailored to your individual musical goals, tastes, and aspirations. Take what you learn in your unlimited lessons and participate with our members in jam sessions in our new studio suite, play with members at club-arranged gigs with other members, learn how to write music and record and publish through our Altered Records label.

Our staff and the supportive Altered Stage member community will ensure an ongoing music experience that is unlike anything you'll find anywhere. Whether you've never held a guitar or drum stick, or if you played the club circuit in college and are itching to get back in the game, we can help make it happen.

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Chicago, IL 60661
Email verified
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4 Reviews


  • Marlene Novak

    convient hours flexible with lessons

  • Brad Urhausen

    Are you looking for regular? Or are you looking for awesome? If it’s the latter, then you belong at Altered Stage. I found this glorious place through a Google search, and man - am I happy that I did. As a recreational guitar player with a baseline understanding of how to play, I was looking for a comfortable place to take my playing to the next level. I never imagined that I could engage in top notch music instruction, and also a community of likeminded recreational musicians who couldn’t have been more welcoming and supportive. The icing on the cake for me is the monthly gig. It’s the perfect balance of accountability and fun to keep my musical development moving at my pace while expanding my social circle with genuine people who I can now call friends. I know there are a ton of ways to learn how to play an instrument - I just can’t understand why anyone would do it outside of Altered Stage.

  • Cristina Filipescu

    Altered Stage has brought me from an absolute beginner to playing live on stage at Reggies in one month. It just proves these guys' talent and commitment to turning me into a rock star. And it's not just the lessons. What I love most about Altered Stage is this amazing community of musicians of all skill levels. There's absolutely no pressure and everyone is very welcoming and supportive. So happy I joined their club!

  • Chris Medici

    Altered Stage is a great concept. I was looking for a place to learn guitar; I've never taken lessons before. After I saw the reviews online, I gave them a call. I am so glad I did! Jeff Bergau and I spoke for an hour, just getting to know one another. He was very reassuring and encouraging. I have been taking lessons from Jason Steele since 2014. He is great - enthusiastic, helpful, positive, and motivational. I highly recommend becoming a member and taking lessons from Jason. They also provide bass, drums, keyboards, and vocal lessons. The other members also make a huge difference - diverse, fun and love music. The space at 657 W Lake Street is incredible: the overall vibe is great - a testament to Jeff Bergau's spirit and commitment. There are private and group jam rooms as well as a relaxed atmosphere to encourage members to chill and spend time with one another. Plus, they have guitars, basses, drums, etc. all on site, which members can use. The people and place are truly unique...and awesome!

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

We offer a free trial lesson for all prospective members to make sure our unique vibe is right for them. When a new member signs up, our instructors help identify their musical goals -- which can range from learning one of their favorite songs, to playing on stage, to writing and recording an original song. Every member receives very personalized instruction based upon their interests and level of experience. We've taken members from zero musical experience to playing live within one case only five days. We encourage all of our members to participate in our regularly scheduled jam sessions with other members who are always encouraging and love to work together with new members.  It's a great vibe and, we believe, the best and most fun way to learn.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

Our lead guitar instructor, Jason Steele, lead drum instructor, David Agee, and lead bass instructor, Patrick Mulcahy are all trained musicians and have been teaching for more than 15 years each. Dave and Patrick also teach at area high schools. All of our instructors are encouraging, supportive, and make the learning process fun and interactive.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

Our members pay a monthly membership fee of $300 per month, which gives them unlimited lessons, access to our studios to practice, inclusion in member jam sessions,gigs, and workshops and enables them to participate in our periodic recording sessions (from which we publish our members' music on all major digital channels like iTunes, Spotify, etc.

How did you get started teaching?

We recognized a need for a different kind of adult music lessons. Lessons that get put into practice and make the musical journey fun, through interaction and playing with other people who are learning music.

What types of students have you worked with?

We focus on everyday people with careers outside of music. People who want to express themselves through music, relax through making music, and enhance their personal creativity. Scientists, bankers, accountants, marketing professionals, etc. make up our diverse membership. Our members range from absolute beginner to intermediate players.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Our February 2016 gig at Reggie's Music Joint featured two of our members and the set list they chose.  The first set included eight original songs from one member in addition to a few covers. The other set featured favorite cover tunes from one member who just just started playing guitar a little over one year ago -- and is now performing an entire set with other Altered Stage members. Very proud of both of them.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Make sure the vibe and fit are right for you. We hate seeing people discouraged by an instructor who doesn't "get" them. Also, make sure your instructor makes the lessons "real" as quickly as possible by learning to play an easy tune. It will increase your confidence and make it fun. Also, regardless of whether or not you choose Altered Stage, make sure you get a quote for a full hour of lessons -- we find that 30 minutes is usually not enough time to truly dig in and learn.