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Meet Alejandro Urzagaste of North Shore Music in Wilmette

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alejandro Urzagaste.

Alejandro, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Michigan, born in Iowa to South American parents. My father, Bolivian and mother, Chilean, met in Elmhurst. My father played guitar and sang South American pop songs to my mother. I listened to music at an early age and wanted to play the drums.

We moved to Chicagoland in’85 and St. Charles soon after where I began studying the guitar and playing in bands. I played in the Jazz Workshop at St, Charles HS, the Elgin Community College Youth band and many local acts with my friends. My mom encouraged me to study with Fareed Haque who later gave me a scholarship to Northern Illinois Universtity.

Performance matters to me dearly, whether it’s on stage, in a studio or a club. Chicago provided an opportunity to hear and learn from world renowned musicians. Bobby Broom, Dennis Carroll, Von Freeman, Ron Perrillo, George Fludas and Jodie Christian soon became the norm for during college. I started going to Von Freeman’s jam session every Tuesday. Soon, I was playing in Von’s group subbing for Mike Allemana his regular guitarist. I studied with Bobby Broom and Dennis Carroll. As mentorship has it, there is no substitute for playing and I recorded with Jodie Christian in 2008.

I’m currently working on my second record with Bill Carrothers on piano, George Fludas drums and Dennis Carroll on bass. It’s mostly original compositions. We return to Victorian Recording in Barrington next month. The first session was unbelievably good and the recording should be available early next year.

A friend of mine and current staff member, Lee Rothenberg, recommended me for a teaching position at a shop he was working at in Wilmette. Who knew I’d be buying it from the owner soon after.

North Shore Music is a place where you can learn about playing music in an environment that is centered around your achievements and success. We like to develop a skill set by working with the strengths of a person and adding along the way. This helps reinforce a strong foundation.

Has it been a smooth road?
Overall it’s been pretty smooth due to our loyal student families. Everybody has been happy with the change and looks forward to the expansion of programs.

One possible challenge is redirecting all the social media to reflect the same information. I generate many inquiries online through our website and twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It’s a different day we live in when communication speeds are accelerating the ability to directly connect me with anybody who has an inquiry about lessons for themselves or a child. It’s fun.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
North Shore Music provides private instruction on guitar, bass, drums, voice, piano, ukulele and banjo. We also have band camp programs where like ages form groups and rehearse weekly to learn music and perform as a group. We are open 5 days a week.

Our staff ranges from differing ages and styles. A person can learn specific information in any field of music, any style. For instance we have expert rock guitarists who are fluid in the sounds and styles of many of the top players for the last half a century.

Our Jazz guitarists perform regularly throughout Chicago and have a wealth of knowledge about accompanying, improvising and solo guitar.

Our classical guitarist can prepare any student for the study of a rich musical history centuries old.

One can learn expert knowledge about voice, piano, bass, drums and be musical with their learning.

We center around the fundamentals of knowledge through appreciation and study. Meaning learning the instrument, the techniques, the theory, is supplemental to the sounds. Listening and enjoyment are the only necessary traits for success with us,

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Wilmette has been welcoming and receptive to us. We look to grow and cater more events in the area to be become more involved in the community. We are adding staff to our string foundation of guitar and bass. I look to have someone who specializes in early childhood development with respect to music soon.

Check with us about performances and master classes at the shop on Linden. We are going to have monthly events soon with students and faculty open to the public.

Look for us at Wilmette Summerfest in July.


  • All private lessons $35 per half hour
  • Tuition option weekly lessons billed monthly ($140-$175)
  • 10 lesson punchcard $350 (flexible scheduling)
  • Band Camp (8 weekly one hour rehearsals) $250
  • Kids Summer Camp (one week) $350

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Luciano Yi
Shara Maxwell

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