Store Hours: Monday Thru Saturday 11A - 6P

Learn guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, piano, and more! The Upper Bout offers one-on-one private lessons with our experienced instructors. Interested? Great! Please email [email protected], or call the store at 217-607-8132.

Music Lessons

Music Lessons at The Upper Bout

Music is an important part of life and taking lessons is a great way to get started in making music!

No matter what your skill level, no matter what style of music you want to learn, we have instructors that can help you on your musical journey!

Lessons are generally a half-hour, one-on-one sessions scheduled for the same time every week. This allows the student to review what was taught last week, learn something new, and have a whole week to practice in preparation for the next lesson.

Rates are set by the instructor, so call or email today for more information

Piano and Voice Instructor
Dr. Felix Chan

Dr. Felix Chan received his BM at the University of North Texas. He earned his Master's and Doctoral degrees in Music from the University of Illinois. Besides the USA and Hong Kong, he has performed in Europe where he received additional musical training in France (Paris), Austria (the Esterhazy Palace), Italy and Poland.

He has taught piano to children, teenagers and adults in all levels and abilities for more than 20 years. He is an experienced teacher, recitalist and accompanist. He has taught at the U of Illinois and The Conservatory of Central Illinois. From 2002 to 2007, he played in 19 musicals (over 135 performances) and he was the musical director for two musicals.

Dr. Chan's piano teachers include Ian Hobson, Katherine Glaser (a devoted student of the legendary pianist and pedagogue Artur Schnabel), Ward Davenny, William Heiles, Kenneth Drake (an expert in Beethoven and the pianoforte instrument of his time), Joseph Banowetz and Tony Caramia (jazz piano). He is also a classically trained singer (baritone). He has sung in four full-length operas and in many major choral works.

Dr. Chan is committed to teach every student and provide them with quality instruction so they can reach the best of their musical abilities.

Guitar Instructor
Caleb Cook

Caleb Cook has 20 years experience playing guitar, and over 10 years experience in the general field of music performance/education.

Caleb received his A.F.A. in Music Performance from Parkland College in 2006. At Parkland, he studied with local guitar professors Wes Howard, Jordan Kaye and Shawn Purcell. During his time at Parkland he studied and practiced classical guitar, classical music theory, jazz guitar, jazz theory, and composition.

Caleb participated in several collegiate ensembles in his time at Parkland, including: Jazz Big Band; Small Jazz Combo; Classical Guitar Ensemble; and he spent two years singing with the Parkland Chamber Choir.

Caleb is a regular gigging musician who has been performing for live audiences since he was 17. Since graduating from Parkland he has played a part in several bands as singer and/or guitar player as well as further developed his solo career as an acoustic artist and song writer.

Caleb offers lessons in guitar, bass guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, music theory and composition. It is his goal to teach and inspire other developing musicians, while continually growing himself.

Guitar Instructor
Sean Fraser

Sean Fraser -- Guitar Instructor

Sean has taught people of all ages and backgrounds for over 14 years pointing them in the right direction and helping them achieve their musical goals. He believes in tailoring each lesson to the individual student's passions, interests in musical styles, songs and specific techniques while making sure that no bad habits are developed. In addition, he strives to guide students around common pitfalls of learning the guitar. In his lesson plans, Sean incorporates core fundamentals such as chord theory, scales and advanced sequences, sight-reading and rhythm studies, improvisation, music theory and technical exercises.

Using an immersive teaching method Sean utilizes the latest in educational software technologies such as Guitar Pro and Transkriber to help students grasp songs, concepts, and techniques more quickly and efficiently. As part of his technical immersion he uses a 32” digital display which acts as a digital blackboard enhancing students’ ability to learn. Student’s learning time is also maximized through the use of pre-printed lesson materials and onsite transcriptions printed at the touch of a button.

In addition to guitar itself, in his studio, Sean also covers the use of guitar effects and signal chains to help students find the sounds they are looking for. He also incorporates pedal boards for electric guitar students to give them a “real world” taste of what it takes to play live with effects units. Students are also exposed to multi track recording and how to layer tracks into songs and the ins and outs of the recording process. With all of these tools in his studio at his disposal his goal is to help students not only see a more complete picture of the guitar, but its place in popular music. For additional information please visit

Guitar Instructor
Bill Kirby

Bill Kirby -- Guitar Instructor

Bill is an Educator, Guitarist, and Bass Guitarist from Tolono Il. He studied music education at Parkland College and further advanced his musical education while studying classical guitar under Nicholas Lambson of Humboldt State University. He also studied jazz under West Coast Vocalist, Bill Allison.

For more information, visit

Guitar Instructor
Sami Issa

Sami is a professionally trained classical guitarist since 2004, and has experience in many fields of music education.

Sami will work with you to improve your musical skills, guide you in the right direction, and help you achieve your goal.

At 11 years old, Sami started classical guitar lessons at a private institute in Damascus, Syria. Later, he learned piano as a second instrument and took lessons in music theory and history.

In 2011, Sami co-founded One Mic Entertainment, a recording company in Syria. He is an accomplished lyricist, song writer, and producer for many Syrian recording artists. Also, providing dubbing, sub-titling, and background music for TV productions.

In 2013, Sami traveled to the United States to advance his music career and expand his experience in music performance, education, and production. He completed a 100 hour course in Audio Engineering with the Chief Engineer Ken Schubert at Cue-Studio in Virginia.

Sami is currently enrolled at Parkland College in Illinois studying music theory, composition, ear-training, and music history. He is also a member of the Parkland Guitar Ensemble and continues classical guitar study with Dr. Guido Sánchez-Portuguez.