Ensemble Classes



There is no “I” in band.

The best way to become a better player is to play with others. The ensemble class gives you opportunities to play with other people on a regular basis in a comfortable setting where folks can listen to and learn from each other.

To get the most out of the class, you'll need to be able to play your instrument at an intermediate level. For folks who have taken our core guitar programs - you'll fit right in most ensembles once you've taken Guitar 3. After that, the sky is the limit.

Drummers are encouraged to bring their own cymbals and snare. Vocalists are encouraged to bring their own microphone and microphone stand. Electric guitar players are to bring a small, 10 Watt practice amp. Banjo players are encouraged to bring tuners.

Many ensemble classes conclude with a public performance either in the confines of the School or at a local venue. Please be advised if an ensemble choses to perform it will generally happen the last weekend of the class or the following week. Check out the different ensemble genres on the right of the page.

Afrobeat Ensemble »

Come learn the rhythms, melodies, and harmonies of Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, South Africa, and more in this invigorating ensemble class. We'll work together to learn the deceptively complex interlocking parts of this music, spanning the genres of Bikutsi, Makossa, Highlife, Soukous, and More. Thursdays at 7PM

Afrobeat Ensemble »   Emmanuel Ngolle Pokossi »   

Soul Ensemble »

Come join one of the longest running ensembles at Old Town School. The dynamic duo of Alton Smith and Bill Brickey lead class members to a rollicking time drawing on the American Songbook of Soul Music. This year we're taking a musical road trip to cities of soul. Session 3: Muscle Shoals
Session 4: Memphis Session 5: Philly
Session 6: Chicago
People all over the world join hands… THURSDAYS at 7PM

Soul Ensemble »   

The '60s Classics Ensemble »

Get on board for a mind-blowing journey through a musical decade that remains a major influence on popular culture. Bring your Fender, your farfisa, your green tambourine, your mini skirt or love beads. The party ain't over 'til it's over. You want Kinks, Temptations, Satisfaction or maybe the Singing Nun? The possibilities are endless. Classes are held Wednesdays at noon or late Saturday morning after cereal and cartoons. Taught by the Human Jukebox: Steve Levitt.

‘60s Classics Ensemble »   Steve Levitt »   Billboard's Top Hits of the '60s »   

Gypsy Jazz Ensemble »

A new night and a new time. Gypsy Jazz Ensemble returns!
Sometimes called the Hot Club of Lincoln Square this vibrant ensemble will afford players a chance to really stretch out and share ideas with fellow jammers. Led by multi-instrumentalist Michael O'Toole, we invite guitarists, horn players, reeds, violinists, and more to produce some HOT gypsy jazz.
Mondays at 8:00PM.

Gypsy Jazz Ensemble »   Michael O'Toole »   Introduction to Gypsy Jazz Guitar »   

'90s Ensemble »

Explore the rock, pop, soul, and funk of the 90s with instructors Andrea Bunch and John Mead, from the Afghan Whigs to PJ Harvey and Nick Cave to Massive Attack and My Bloody Valentine. Tuesdays at 8PM

‘90s Ensemble »   Andrea Bunch »   John Mead »   

Big Band Jazz Ensemble »

We're bringing the Cotton Club to Lincoln Ave. and it's going down on Tuesday nights. If you used to play in high school or college jazz ensemble, you'll fit right in. There's plenty of opportunity to improve your jazz improvisation and play with like-minded participants. Open to intermediate and advanced players who can read music.

Big Band Jazz Ensemble »   Jack Cassidy »   

Ensemble Basics »

This introductory class is highly recommended if you've never taken an ensemble class, or a refresher for students with some ensemble experience. Students will play from a repertoire of rock & pop classics to help hone their ensemble skills. TUESDAYS at 6:30 Starting Session 3 we are adding a section on SATURDAY.

Ensemble Basics »   Charles Kim »   

R&B Ensemble »

Every session we learn and perform the music of seminal figures in the R&B genre. Get down and get it right from the talented teaching artist John Mead. Session 3 we will focus Gladys Knight with and without the Pips. Wednesdays at 8PM.

John Mead »   R&B Ensemble »   Gladys' website »   

List of All Ensemble Classes (65 found)

‘60s Classics Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Wednesday or Saturday with Steve Levitt

You call the tune; we'll learn the tune.

‘90s Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Tuesday with John Mead or Andrea Bunch

Whatever dude..East Village, East London, Eastern Europe, East Building.

Afrobeat Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $196 ($186 members)

Thursday with Emmanuel Ngolle Pokossi

Join with others to celebrate the music of a continent.

Americana Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Tuesday with Skip Landt

This class emphasizes American popular music of the 1920s and 1930s but includes songs from the folk revival and beyond.

Argentine Folk Music with Pampero Sur

WorkshopOpen to AllNew!

90 minutes  ·  Once a week for 1 week  ·  $30 ($29 members)

Thursday with Staff

Band Coaching Adult

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Beach Boys Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with Cathy Norden

Take your ensemble playing and harmony singing skills to a higher level with the music of a true genius, Brian Wilson.

Daytime Beatles Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Friday with Steve Levitt

Session 3 White Album Part 2

Beatles Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Wednesday with Steve Levitt

Session 3 White Album Part 2


Beatles for Beginners

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with Charles Kim

The music of the Fab Four simplified for those who have only played a short while.

Beginning Jazz Lab

Group ClassIntermediateNew!

60 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $147 ($137 members)

Thursday with Jack Cassidy

This is the class to build your chops in.

Big Band Jazz Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

110 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $224 ($214 members)

Tuesday with Jack Cassidy

Think the Cotton Club comes to Lincoln Square.

Bluegrass Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Monday with Colby Maddox or John Huber

Blues Band - Live!

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $224 ($214 members)

Wednesday or Saturday with Steve Hutchins

Form a blues band, rehearse, and perform in an authentic blues club.

Brass Class: Square Roots!

Group ClassIntermediate

60 minutes  ·  Once a week for 4 weeks  ·  $81 ($76 members)

Wednesday with Evan Jacobson or Anna Jacobson

Toot your horn this summer and play at our Square Roots Festival.

Brazilian Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Tuesday with Luciano Antonio or Heitor Garcia

Voices and instruments join together to play this infectious music.

Mellow Gold Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Monday with Cathy Norden or Steve Dawson

Have you ever been mellow? Here's your chance.

Celebrating Tradition

Group ClassOpen to All

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Monday with Maura Lally or Peggy Browning

Make music together, creating your own arrangements in the tradition of Frank Hamilton & Win Stracke, our School's founders.

Classic Album Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Saturday with Charles Kim

Session 3: Squeeze "Singles 45's and Under"

Concept - Soundtrack Album Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with Steve Levitt

Session 3 Aqualung by Jethro Tull
Session 4 TBA

Classic Country Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Sunday with Alton Smith or Steve Dawson

Calling all cowboys and cowgirls we're heading down Nashville way for the good old songs.

Modern Country Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Tuesday with Jacob Sweet

Come explore your 21st century inner twang.

The Wrecking Crew Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediateNew!

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Monday with Alton Smith

From the Chairman to the Monkees and loads in betrween

Disco Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with John Mead

Get down, get down, get down! We ARE gonna Rock the Boat.

Eclectic Electric Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Wednesday with Steve Doyle or Tommi Zender

we can take this bus anywhere you want.

Ensemble Basics

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Tuesday or Saturday with Charles Kim

Get your act together before joining an ensemble or group.

Folk Songs: Carrying History Forward

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with Peggy Browning

A fun and rewarding ensemble class for all levels of player

Folk-Rock Acoustic Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Wednesday with Tommi Zender

Work on licks, harmonies, arrangements and more.

Glam Rock Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

If you would like to be contacted when this class runs again, please email Guitar Program Manager Jimmy Tomasello with your contact information.

Grateful Dead Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with Steve Levitt

Come join Uncle Steve's band

Grunge Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Sunday with Shelley Miller

yeah yeah whatever…where are my Doc Martins?

Gypsy Jazz Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Monday with Michael O'Toole

Come join the Hot Club of Lincoln Square.

Here and Now Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Monday with Andrea Bunch

Just what it says, contemporary music.

Irish Session Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Monday with Mike Austin or Teresa Shine

Bring your individual learning to the group session experience!

Jam Band Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Monday with Jon Wall

Let's kick out the jams and get better while we're at it.

Jazz Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

110 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $208 ($198 members)

Monday with David Jennings

You've learned the chops and charts and now it's time to play with others.

Jazz Ensemble Improv 1

Group ClassIntermediateNew!

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with Jack Cassidy

Now we're starting to really play this stuff!

Jazz Ensemble Improv 2

Group ClassIntermediateNew!

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with Jack Cassidy

Let's get good and serious.

Latin Jazz Ensemble

Group ClassAdvanced

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Sunday with Manny Bances

Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz performance will inform your jazz study.

John Prine Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

If you would like to be contacted when this class runs again, please email Guitar Program Manager Jimmy Tomasello with your contact information.

Johnny Cash Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $204 ($194 members)

Tuesday with Bob Goins or Ed Holstein

Prison, trains love, death and much more

Jug Band Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Wednesday with Jonas Friddle

With roots in the blues, jazz and ragtime, jug band music includes some of the happiest songs you'll ever play.

Klezmer Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Tuesday with Marianne Bossert

Celebrate the expressive melodies of this Eastern European music of Jewish descent.

Latin Grooves and Roots Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Sunday with Manny Bances

Add some spicy flavorings to whatever style you play: Jamming with Latin Roots music and contemporary funky fusions.

Mountain Goats Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediateNew!

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Saturday with Shelley Miller

Folks have asked and now we're offering it.

Muppet Mania

Group ClassIntermediateNew!

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $196 ($186 members)

Monday with Charles Kim

Near Eastern Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Monday with Ronnie Malley

New Orleans Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with Jon Spiegel

From Ragtime to the Radiators and all flavors in between.

Old Time Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

110 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $250 ($240 members)

Wednesday or Saturday with Paul Tyler, Steve Rosen or Jim Becker

Play in an Old Time string band with fellow students. You'll learn new tunes, and brush up some traditional favorites.

Old-Time Revival Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Tuesday with Jonas Friddle or Anna Jacobson

The beautiful sounds of traditional American music are being revived and reinvented by contemporary bands. Come play the songs!

Poets of Pop Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Wednesday with Bill Brickey

We're paying attention to both lyrics and groove.

Pop Divas Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Sunday with Andrea Bunch

A room full of stars. Join the constellation.

Punk Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediateNew!

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Saturday with Shelley Miller

R&B Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Wednesday with John Mead

Immerse yourself into the work of an artist or musical movement.
Session 3 Gladys Knight Session 4 Stevie Wonder

Reggae Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with Gregg Ostrom

Come get you some ska, rocksteady, roots reggae, and dancehall from the great nation of Jamaica.

Riot Grrl Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Saturday with Shelley Miller

Open to all genders ready to speak out and get loud.

Rockabilly Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Tuesday with Jacob Sweet

Join this rootsy band comprised of a combination of R&B mixed with country influences.

Son Jarocho: Guitarra de Son

WorkshopOpen to AllNew!

minutes  ·  Once a week for 1 week  ·  $25 ($24 members)

Saturday with Son de Madera

Songs and Stories from the Chicago Folk Boom

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Wednesday with Ed Holstein

A special weekday afternoon class celebrating a portion of Old Town School history.

Soul Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $216 ($206 members)

Thursday with Alton Smith or Bill Brickey

Session 3: The music of Muscle Shoals- Aretha, Wilson, Clarence and more

Tom Petty Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Thursday with John Mead

Oh hell yes! Baby put on your party dress and join the band.

Vintage Country Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Wednesday with Gail Tyler or Paul Tyler

Women's Acoustic Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

Monday with Andrea Bunch

Come together to celebrate popular music by women from all eras.

Women's Rock Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediate

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

If you would like to be contacted when this class runs again, please email Guitar Program Manager Jimmy Tomasello with your contact information.

Yacht Rock Ensemble

Group ClassIntermediateNew!

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $200 ($190 members)

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000