My name is Rita McConville, and I teach beginner to intermediate piano and voice at Music & Arts in Itasca. I also teach at the Dance and Music Academy in Glenview, IL.
I have been a musician all of my life. At three years old, I turned pages while my mother played the organ in our Catholic church in rural Wisconsin. I ultimately sang in the church choir, and piano lessons started in 2nd grade. I took up the (French) horn in 5th grade and played in bands and orchestras throughout high school and college. I have a Communication Arts degree from UW-Madison, but I took as many music classes as I possibly could! After graduation, I made my way back into music ministry and sang at a church in Appleton, Wisconsin for many years.
Eventually, my professional career brought me to Chicago, where my music career began to blossom. For ten years, I studied with Robert Tenges, currently the Executive Director of Sherwood Music School in Chicago, where I polished my vocal technique and developed my own style as a jazz and standards singer, as well as established my ever-growing repertoire of fantastic music. I also studied for a semester with Chicago jazz singer Spider Saloff and David Bloom of the Bloom School of Jazz.
Since 2008, I have sung professionally with big bands, small combos, trios and duos, as well as continuing in music ministry. I have worked with many respected members of the Chicago jazz community and have sung at many notable Chicago venues, including: The Green Mill, Davenport’s Cabaret/Piano Bar, Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, and the Taste of Chicago. I also spent ten years in Music Ministry at St. Teresa of Avila parish in Lincoln Park. Currently, I perform with the Reunion Jazz Orchestra and the Sound of the Big Band Orchestra, and work in small combos and trios at various venues in the Chicago suburbs. Keeping myself in music ministry, I also am periodically performing with the Bodhi Band at the Bodhi Spiritual Center in Chicago.
Along with all my adult music education, I have also studied with personal presence coach Rachael Jayne Groover, former professional singer and author of the book, "Powerful and Feminine; How to Increase Your Magnetic Presence & Attract the Attention You Want." Working with Rachael has helped me with my stage presence, keeping me centered, confident, and connected to my audience.
My goal in teaching piano and voice is to focus on the fundamentals so my students have a solid foundation with which to grow on, but to do that in such a way that my students enjoy playing or singing so much that they can’t wait to do it outside of the lesson. My mom always tells me that students won’t practice if they aren’t having fun, and having been a young music student, I totally get that! I really enjoy watching my students grow in their musical ability and understanding, and I’m grateful to help them nurture their musical talent. I am also pleased to be one of the wonderful teachers at Music & Arts!