When inquired about Rico’s Music & Art shop’s mission statement, a silent man handed over a single piece of paper. The title in bold read, “why learn music?” The reasons why were simple: it is science, math, history, physical education, a foreign language and finally, most of all, it is an art.
Rico’s Music & Art teachs practically every instrument from the accordion to the ukulele, and there is an individual instructor for each instrument provided in the shop.
Rico’s entire philosophy is chimerical in a way but not too far-fetched.
Walking in your eyes are drawn to the left wall, where in one corner there is a row of paintings, ranging in style and all proudly lining the walls. A lady sits quietly with an easel and brush, gently stroking an evergreen hue across a fresh canvas.
On the other side an array of instruments line the walls, each arranged by size and by breed. A cello sits proudly at the beginning peering down at the mandolin propped up at the end. All of the instruments are for sale: the prices are negotiable and beyond reasonable. A student can come in and fall in love with an old accordion that is marked a bit above his or her price range. Rico’s gives the student options– they can pay for it in taking lessons and lay away, so as they learn the instrument they save up until they master it and inevitably bring it home.
Of course the shop does more than lessons and lay aways. Rico’s can repair just about any instrument brought in and rent out a replacement while the repair is being done.
In terms of instruction, “It is not about discipline, we don’t want to force our students to learn, we want them to want to learn, and they do,” says 25-year-old Columbia College alum, composer and piano instructor, Christopher Allan Morrow of Irving Park. “There is a debate in the music community about whether writing out sheet music is worthwhile or even conceivable in this generation of technology overload, but my students have proven that the old-fashioned way can easily be learned.”
Morrow points to a demure young man holding what appears to be a pile of sheet music. “Sal is a perfect example, he is 14 years old, and what he has learned here in such a short amount of time is unbelievable.”
“I love it here,” Sal Gomez, 14, of Irving Park, Il. says. “There is a sense of community and friendship that makes the student feel like an equal to their instructor.” The two smile at each other, Morrow glowing with pride in Gomez, whose presence is as warm and inviting as the aura of Rico’s.
Curious as to where this hidden gem is?
Just ride up north a few miles from the loop to 4821 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, Il. 60641, at the corner of Cicero, Irving Park Road and Milwaukee Avenue.
Walk in and be greeted by some of the kindest people you may ever meet.
For more information contact:
Ricomusiccenter@yahoo.com (direct email) or call the shop from 8 am to 6 pm at: (773) 794-9972
For instruction inquiries email Christopher Morrow: Chris@topherallanmusic.com