Phil Circle Music

Phil Circle Music

5.0 (6)
Best of 2023
9 hires on
4 employees
30 years in business

About this pro

Phil Circle Music has been Rated in the Top 12 Music Schools in Chicago for 3 Years in a Row.

Phil Circle is an award-winning author and songwriter.

We now have lessons in guitar, bass, drums, voice, songwriting, performance, and more, provided by a list of professional musicians who all adhere to the same teaching philosophy as Phil Circle. That is, that every student has unlimited potential to excel, and that everyone has music inside them. We just need to bring it out.

From Phil Circle:

I've been a working musician and teacher based in Chicago for 30 years. With a degree in music composition and performance from Columbia College Chicago (Summa Cum Laude), several musical releases of my own material, and decades of live performance locally and nationally, I bring my experience to each student. Many of my past students have become career musicians.

While I have foundational technique and theory for every student, I also strive to tailor each lesson to a student's specific needs. Whatever your instrument, you have a creative voice. We want to find this. Through a series of exercises to develop the required skills, you will learn the complete instrument. From there, you'll be able to learn music of any level and in any style you choose.

I love what I do an have the good fortune to make my living in it. Whether you're an aspiring professional or a hobbyist, let's make sure you get to enjoy the quality of life that playing music can bring.

Doing what you love is an absolute joy. Helping others to develop the skills to enjoy the same just makes it better.

I've always enjoyed learning and still do. It's a natural course of action to extend what I've learned to others. Sharing, giving, making someone's days better... these are part of the instrinsic motivation of humans. Studies have been showing this for more than 50 years. It's pretty great, a singer-songwriter-guitarist, and as a teacher, that I get to make my living working on constantly improving this basic human trait.

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Los Angeles, CA 90024
Email verified
Phone verified

6 Reviews


  • Egoproctor Zen

    Fantastic experience, even took the time to email me some lessons after I left Chicago on a bicycle ride to Austin. Now I am riding again, suicide by adventure. "-" egoproctor

  • Bob Smith

    Great understanding of music. Phil looks for the places one lacks in and funnel his experience to enhance the learning experience. I’ve learned more in two lessons than I’ve been able to learn on my own over many years.

  • Alfred Wilson

    First lesson on Monday the 20th

  • Andi Steinberg

    I went to Phil because I am looking to improve my singing with the guitar technique. We talked about a lot of things and Phil came up with some very good points. He is easy to talk to and I feel comfortable. We have just begun and I am looking forward to improving my performance technique.

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

The first thing we'll do at the initial lesson is to get a sense of the student's goals and come up with a plan to move them into the best place for continued growth.

We'll lay out a series of exercizes for developing techniue, identify any weak spots in existing knowledge or technique, and begin running through things.

As we progress, we will continue to adjust the lessons to best accomodate the student's on-going needs and goals.

We always strive to develop every student's creative voice, that special style they have.

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

I graduated Columbia College Chicago with honors in 1997. My degree is in Music Composition and Performance. By my second semester there, I was hired as a tutor and teacher's aide. This allowed me to be involved with the teachers at the school and to get a sense of ideal teaching techniques. I also became part of the production team for The Chicago Jazz Ensemble and was the personal assistant to William Russo, composer and founder of the Contemporary American Music Program at Columbia. These jobs allowed me greater insights into the real world of music.

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

My standard hourly rate is $50 when lessons are paid for individually.

When a student pays for a month of lessons at a time, the price comes to $45 per hour.

I also offer small group lessons at students' homes. These run for 90 minutes per session, are for 3 or more students at a time, and run $20 per student attending.

Please feel free to contact me for questions regarding 30 or 45 minute lessons.

I also teach kids and kids' bands at Flatts and Sharpe Music three times a week.

How did you get started teaching?

A friend of mine was taking on a new and better job and needed someone to take over for him at the private school where he taught general music. My name came up and in short order I was teaching Pre-K through 8th Grade General Music in the classroom. I did this for six years.

I had also occasionally taken on a private student by request, usually a friend looking for tips on guitar. A similar thing happened...a friend needed a replacement as he was moving to a new position. I began etaching privately at a music store.

Both os these jobs began in 1993 and spurred me to go to Columbia for my degree the following spring.

What types of students have you worked with?

I've worked with ages ranging from 5 years to 75 years.

I've worked with skill level ranging from absolute beginners to working professionals like myself.

I've taught other teachers a new instrument, helped DJs learn theory, prepared young professionals for major auditions, and seen many students of mine pursue successful careers in music.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I coach kids' bands for a local music store. I often get to play with the kids if there's an instrument needed to complete the line-up. I've recently (and will be again) performed a a few occasionas at Chicago's Martyrs' with several bands I coached. It was an absolute delight.

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

Make sure that the teacher is a working musician, has knowledge of theory, and teaches thr whole instrument rather than taking a song to song approach.

You can view a video where I discuss this on my YouTube page:

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

Why are you interested in playing music?

Why are you interested in this instrument?

What are your goals? Career? Hobby?

What has gotten in the way of your progress?

How often do you work on playing music?