“My my my I’m so happy
We gonna join the band
We are gonna dance and sing in celebration
We’re in the promised land.”
-Celebration Day, Led Zeppelin
Now that we have Mayor Lightfoot’s plan to move to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois program in place, I wanted to share our plan to get us all back to what we love to do: Jam together.

Based upon the amazing job our team of instructors have done to bring the best of Altered Stage online as well as the feedback we’ve gotten from our member community, our virtual lessons and online programming are here to stay. So if you feel safer enjoying your musical journey entirely from home, we’ll help make it a great one.
We’re currently planning a measured approach toward re-opening our studio on June 15 with a maximum of six people in the studio at a time, with more limited hours, and with a safe distance between people. Safety is our primary goal here. So, based upon government guidelines, industry standards (using health clubs as the analog), and our own unique situation, here’s how it will work:


In general, we will:
  • Reconfigure the entire studio to help ensure social distancing of at least 10 feet while enabling lessons, individual practice time, jam sessions, and rehearsals.
  • Enable access by appointment only. Unfortunately we can’t allow drop-ins — it makes it more difficult to maintain a safe environment and maximum capacity numbers. We’ll post specific hours weekly which you’ll be able to see on Pike 13.
  • Reprogram keycards to access the studio during revised hours of operation.
  • Use Pike 13 as the means through which to schedule specific practice room and group jam times.
  • Admit no more than six people at a time into the studio, all by appointment and within designated jam areas marked by floor decals.
  • Stagger appointment times to enable cleaning between sessions.
  • Require all members and instructors to bring and wear masks while in the studio.
  • Confine all vocal performance to the control room adjacent to the Metro room because of the droplet-producing nature of singing. Please spray down the room after use with the sanitizer we provide. I know, not the place for a front-person, but it’ll have to do for now. Consider it vocal isolation practice. Also, we will provide disposable sanitary microphone covers which we’ll replace after each use.
  • Provide hand and surface sanitizer and paper towels to help us wipe surfaces down after use.
  • Remove all club-owned guitars and drum sticks. You will need to bring your own axe. Amps and drum kits will stay and be cleaned throughout the day, and we ask that you wipe them down with provided sanitizers and paper towels when done.
  • Reserve a designated number of hours per day for group jam sessions and a designated number of hours for lessons. For now, the two won’t happen simultaneously.
  • Ask that you arrive as close to your time slot as possible and wait outside until it’s time to enter the studio. If the weather’s bad, use the rear entrance and wait in the rear lobby until your time slot. Your keycards will work for that door and to the door down into the studio.
  • Limit studio access to members only. For now, please don’t bring guests, especially children.
  • Ask that if you don’t feel well to please stay home.
  • Ask that if come into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or is awaiting test results to let Jeff or Jason know and enjoy our online experience only for 14 days.
  • Ask everyone to wash their hands as soon you enter the studio.
For lessons we will:
  • Continue to encourage at least occasional Zoom lessons to supplement live lessons.
  • Conduct guitar and bass lessons in the lounge area with the members and instructors sitting in designated, marked areas.
  • Conduct voice lessons with one member in the control room and Bree in the studio, between the glass panels.
  • Move the DoubleDoor drum kit into the Metro room and conduct drum lessons there. In-studio drum lessons will not resume on June 15, but we will keep you dialed in as to when we can begin those again.
  • Conduct keyboard lessons in the Metro Room with safe distances between member and instructor.
For individual jams we will:
  • Limit the number of individual jammers/practicers in the studio to two at a time.
  • Stagger reservable time slots to minimize contact.
  • Open up the Double Door as a private practice space.
For group jams we will:
  • Allow up to five people maximum at a time in designated, marked areas.
  • Ask that all vocals be done in the control room.
Now, with access to the studio again, it’s a great time to reconnect with your bandmates via Zoom and prepare for your in-studio time. We can help you with that if you’d like. If you’d like to be paired with other members and either join or create a band, let Jason know. That said, it will be a good idea for bands to try to set and keep recurring rehearsal times, and be sure to give as much cancellation notice as possible.
As we get closer to June 15, our instructors will post their in-studio availability, so keep an eye out for that.
Speaking of our instructors,  I’d like to give another push for our GoFundMe campaign to help show our love and support for Jason, Nick, Bree, Vinny, and Jerry. As I’ve mentioned before, as professional musicians they have seen their income from gigs, events, weddings, etc. completely dry up. More info from this May 4 blog post. Let’s show some love — we’re only about $2,000.00 short of our goal. And thank you once again to everyone who’s donated to the campaign. Virtual hugs to you all.
Finally, thank you all so much for your patience and support during these crazy weeks. Sticking together, getting your feedback and suggestions, and sharing time online has helped us become even closer. There’s truly no community like it in Chicago or in the world, and you all make it what it is. Thank you.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions, suggestions or thoughts. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see you all again.


With love and in music,
Write A Comment