Is available for Hybrid Teaching
Aaron Shapiro grew up in a musical family. His grandfather was a fingerpicking guitar instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music and his uncle was a rock drummer. At age five Aaron began studying classical guitar at the Laughlin School of Music in Glenview, Illinois. His first year there he learned the basics of fingerstyle playing and started to read music. Aaron recorded the earliest songs he learned into a small tape recorder boombox and soon began performing in recitals at his local library. Early in his teens Aaron discovered the music of Prince, Earth Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder. He started playing Rock and R & B songs on his Epiphone electric guitar and also joined his middle school’s jazz band, where he first heard the music of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Alongside his private guitar studies with Jeff Parker, Aaron became active at Midwest Young Artists Conservatory where he took classes in jazz combo, big band and music theory.
As a high schooler Aaron’s abilities a jazz soloist gained attention at the state and national levels. He was selected twice to perform with Illinois All-State high school jazz band and held down a monthly gig with his trio at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. He was also chosen from a national pool of musicians to perform with The Grammy Jazz Ensemble, where he shared the stage with Esperanza Spaulding and recorded at Capitol Records in Hollywood. Aaron was also featured on CBS reporter Harry Porterfield’s weekly news series “Someone You Should Know”.
In 2010 Aaron began performing and touring with EveryPeople Workshop, a Chicago based collective of jazz musicians including saxophonists Chris Madsen, Nick Mazzarella and trumpeter Marquis Hill. With EveryPeople Workshop, Aaron debuted his big band compositions at The Jazz Showcase in Chicago and recorded three albums. Aaron has since performed at many of Chicago’s renowned live music venues including Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Andy’s Jazz Club, The Green Mill and Ravinia Festival’s Bennett Gordon Hall. Since 2015 he has performed at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and recorded with The Eternals, a band described by Pitchfork as “a seamless blending of dub, funk and punk”. In 2017 he performed before a speech made by President Barack Obama at the Stony Island Arts Bank. Aaron has also recorded with saxophonist Patrick Bartley, drummer Daru Jones, and R&B vocalist Coultrain.
He joined the Music Institute of Chicago’s guitar faculty in 2023, and helps his students achieve their musical goals by instilling the fundamentals of guitar technique, music theory and building repertoire that broadens his students’ skillsets.
BA, DePaul University
Studying music brings joy and purpose to your life, and can help you become your best self. When we improve our musical skills, it also makes us better learners, more intrinsically focused and goal-oriented people.
For me, music is about sharing an authentic part of my personality and expressing a range of moods through sound. It doesn't matter whether the audience is large or small, but how the music impacts each person in the room.
Playing guitar adds a sense of structure and discipline to my life through daily practice and performance. Because I am a lifelong student of the instrument, I never feel bored or wonder what to do in my free time. There's always something new to learn!