Altered Stage

Altered Stage

5.0 (4)
2 hires on
6 employees
8 years in business

About this pro

These are challenging times indeed. However, we have faced challenges before, and we’ll overcome these as well. And, we’ll do it, as we’ve always done it in the past: by focusing on what we have in common and reinforcing the bonds between us.

At Altered Stage, community is at the core of who we are. We are bound by our love of music and love for one another. Whether we are in person or online, we are committed to helping you continue your musical journey no matter what lies ahead.

So, whether you feel comfortable being at Altered Stage or whether you prefer to connect with us and the other members of our community virtually, we can make it happen. We offer a robust number of opportunities to take lessons, attend workshops, collaborate with others to play cover tunes or create and record your own music.

We invite you to check out our virtual programming here and sign up to join one of the sessions, free of charge. We hope that you will enjoy the experience and hopefully you will want to become a member of this unique and dynamic community of people. We also invite you to sign up for a free introductory lesson with one of our instructors. The sessions are interactive and customized to your goals. Our dedicated instructors can help make your musical dreams come true whether you’re just starting out or have been playing for years. 

We offer bass, drums, guitar, and keyboard lessons to adults; yet, Altered Stage is more than just music lessons. It’s a journey tailored to each member’s musical aspirations. It’s a dynamic community of people who love music and want to learn and play with others. It’s a place to escape and unwind.

Through personalized music instruction and programming, as well as live gigs at local venues like Reggie’s, Altered Stage is uniting Chicago’s recreational musicians by providing a unique and perpetual experience that takes instruction to a whole new level. It is a great place to plug in and crank it up. A place to meet new friends and live music. Everyday.

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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?

We give you more than just musical instruction. Our instructors all have undergraduate degrees in their specialized areas of music. They have been professional musicians, performers and instructors for years. 

We work with you to define your own musical journey based upon your personal goals. Your musical tastes. Your aspirations. After all, music is an expression of your individuality.

The ability to make music is a gift that’s inside all of us, regardless of experience or skill level. Even if you’ve never picked up a guitar or a drumstick, or if you only sang in the shower, we guarantee you can begin making music after one lesson, and be ready to gig with our house band or other members within weeks. We’ve seen it over and over in our years of teaching.

We’ll take a personalized approach with you, and our staff will be available to answer your questions any time.

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 to advanced players.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Like many others, we were directly impacted by the stay-at-home orders as a result of the pandemic. However, the music never stops at Altered Stage. We have developed a monthly calendar of online lessons, workshops, collaborations, and social gatherings such as karaoke and music trivia contests. This has been very effective in helping our members maintain their mental wellbeing and nurture the connection between our community of musicians. Our online collaborations have been posted to our YouTube channel. Please check them out. 

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 a tune that you love. 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.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Where are you on your musical journey? What are your goals? What type of learner are you? How much time do you have to devote to lessons and practicing? Above all else, this experience should be as unique as your goals. We will customize your lessons and your experiences to maximize your time and progress towards achieving your goals.