In addition to being a performer, songwriter and recording artist, Mick Archer has been involved in teaching music since graduating from The University Of Illinois at Chicago in 1980. He was a professional union musician even before entering college, and tested out of all freshman level classes because he had already mastered basic music theory during his 6 prior years of advanced piano lessons at The American Conservatory. To augment his regular academic studies, Archer also took private lessons at the famous Alan Swain (a noted pioneer in jazz education at Northwestern University) School of Jazz in Evanston, Illinois. He also took some opera lessons at The Illinois Vocal Institute in Oak Park to develop his formidable breathing technique which has kept his voice healthy through decades of heavy use. For jazz singing he studied privately with Faye Kaiser of Northwestern University.
Upon graduation Mick began giving group and private lessons at Lyon & Healy’s, then a prominent music store and school located in The Loop. From there he went on to the faculty of The Old Town School Of Folk Music, an on-and -off relationship spanning from 1982 to 2017. He also taught at several branches of City Colleges of Chicago. In the 90‘s he opened up his own teaching practice at The Fine Arts Building on Chicago’s famous Michagan Avenue, the former home of The American Conservatory, where he studied as a child.
It was there that Archer created one of the first programs that integrated elements of jazz, blues, rock and pop music into formal instruction. Teaching piano, guitar, bass and voice to students of all ages and levels, he developed a unique system for bypassing traditional reading skills and going directly to ear training and a comprehensive system of playing by chords instead of notes, in the manner used by most non-classical musicians. Several of his students have gone on to successful careers in music.This system proved popular and keeps Mick very busy teaching groups and individuals in his studio or via Zoom, at Park Ridge Park District and Family Piano/Golf Mill while maintaining his busy performing and recording career.
Mick’s teaching specialties include…
- D-A-D-G-A-D tuned guitar for Irish music
- How to read lead sheets from fake books
- Microphone technique
- How to accompany singers
- Playing dueling piano style
- Authentic stylings for Jazz, Blues, Rock and Country music
- Master classes in jazz harmony and improvisation for professionals
Having spent years in K through 8 classroom settings, he is great with kids.
Mick is patient, courteous and encouraging. So, whether you are a beginner, a gifted novice or a professional, you can learn something of lasting value from Mick Archer, teacher of music.