Workshops

Join us for an upcoming workshop! Your date with the arts.

Workshops are special, one-time experiences of music and dance with master teachers at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Low in time commitment but high in artistry, workshops are timely, engaging, and dynamic sessions targeted to serve participants with varied interests and goals.

The typical duration of a one-day workshop is an hour and a half to two hours, but we also offer intensives and multi-day or multi-week options. Workshops costs are dependent on length, specialty, and teaching artist, and some are funded by grants to make them low-cost to you. Each week we host something or someone new, so check back often!

Fri. September 02, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
The Gather-All »

The Gather-All is a family jam for musicians of all ages and abilities. Practice songs you know and learn to play some new ones in a welcoming and fun environment. You don't have to be in a class at Old Town School to join this music-making experience! The Gather-All is held from 6:30pm-7:30pm. ALL ages, instruments, and abilities are invited and encouraged to come!

Open to AllKids Group Class – Program: Music

$5 ($5 members)

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Sat. September 03, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
The Music & Life of Turlough O'Carolan Series »

This 4 week workshop series taught by Aislinn Gagliardi will cover the diverse life and works of the 17th c. Irish harper and composer Turlough O'Carolan. Each week students will learn a distinctly different tune and its historical/cultural background, alongside relevant anecdotes of this prolific composer's life. This week’s piece is John O’Connor.

IntermediateProgram: Ensemble

$25 ($24 members)

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Sat. September 10, 1:00 PM – 2:50 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Dance Basics for Couples »

Swing and sway to the blues, rockabilly, and the sounds of the big bands. Learn to be comfortable with fundamental moves on the dance floor. in this two-hour workshop, Louie will cover the one-step, the fox-trot, and the six-count swing. Emphasis will also be given to the basics of coupling, floorwork, and turns. This class is ideal for couples who are either preparing for their own wedding or those wanting to dance with ease at any party or occasion. Spend some time with your honey, get moving, and have fun!

Open to AllProgram: Dance

$45 ($43 members)

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Sat. September 10, 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Swing Dance: Brush-Up Workshop »

Brush up on your Swing in this low-commitment, one-day workshop! Stop by on a Saturday afternoon to work with Louie on your swing turns, plus pick up a few new ones to liven up your dancing - you'll add turns like the "Charleston," "Texas Tommy" and "Slingshot." Sign up with or without a partner, we’ll figure it out!

IntermediateProgram: Dance

$25 ($24 members)

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Sat. September 10, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
The Music & Life of Turlough O'Carolan Series »

This 4 week workshop series taught by Aislinn Gagliardi, will cover the diverse life and works of the 17th c. Irish harper and composer Turlough O'Carolan. Each week students will learn a distinctly different tune and its historical/cultural background, alongside relevant anecdotes of this prolific composer's life. This week’s piece is Morgan Magan.

IntermediateProgram: Ensemble

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. September 11, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Gentle Shepherd: Inside the Music »

Brandi Berry and the Gentle Shepherd residency team walk you through their process of turning a long forgotten score into a live folk opera. How do you transform two lines of music and several verses of text into a 4-minute song for people to listen to live? In this workshop, you will look at an actual tune from Gentle Shepherd, explore the many options and decisions to be made, and learn how to build an arrangement from a few basic elements. Open to all singers and instrumentalists.

Open to AllProgram: Fiddle & Cello

$10 ($10 members)

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Fri. September 16, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
THE SOCIAL- Dylan Songbag “Blood On The Tracks” »

"Blood On The Tracks" recorded in Mid-September 1974 in New York City. Let's celebrate one of Zimmy's greatest offerings by playing the album and several outtakes from those sessions. From "Tangled up in Blue" to "Buckets of Rain" and more.

Open to AllProgram: Guitar

$15 ($10 members)

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Sat. September 17, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Songwriting with Iain Matthews & Andy Roberts »

Join acclaimed musicians Iain Matthews & Andy Roberts of Plainsong for an intimate songwriting workshop on the afternoon before their concert at the Old Town School!

Open to AllProgram: Songwriting

$30 ($28 members)

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Sat. September 17, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
The Music & Life of Turlough O'Carolan Series »

This 4 week workshop series taught by Aislinn Gagliardi, will cover the diverse life and works of the 17th c. Irish harper and composer Turlough O'Carolan. Each week students will learn a distinctly different tune and its historical/cultural background, alongside relevant anecdotes of this prolific composer's life. This week’s piece is Miss MacDermott or the Princess Royal.

IntermediateProgram: Ensemble

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. September 18, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Appalachian Songs and Harmony »

Join Anna and Elizabeth on the afternoon before their performance at the Old Town School of Folk Music. The sisters have studied Appalachian music for the last decade spending time with master singers and digging through archives to learn some beautiful old songs, which they're excited to share.

Open to AllProgram: Voice

$25 ($24 members)

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Mon. September 19, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Words & Music with the Handsome Family »

Join famed folk duo Brett and Rennie Sparks, aka The Handsome Family, on the Monday after their Old Town School performance for an intimate workshops where they will discuss the songwriting process and how to incorporate creative storytelling into songs.

Open to AllProgram: Songwriting

$25 ($24 members)

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Sat. September 24, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Chord Melody Jazz Guitar »

Join Howard Alden, one of NYC’s most recognized jazz guitarists, for a clinic in chord melody. Enhance your playing by harmonizing melodies in thirds, and developing dexterity with parallel thirds to apply to improvised lines. This is a great way to imply the harmony as you solo over changes in any kind of situation.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$30 ($28 members)

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Sat. September 24, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
The Music & Life of Turlough O'Carolan Series »

This 4 week workshop series taught by Aislinn Gagliardi, will cover the diverse life and works of the 17th c. Irish harper and composer Turlough O'Carolan. Each week students will learn a distinctly different tune and its historical/cultural background, alongside relevant anecdotes of this prolific composer's life. This week’s piece is Lord Inchiquin.

IntermediateProgram: Ensemble

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. September 25, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Slidin’ the Blues with Jim Kahr »

Chicago's legendary blues recording artist Jim Kahr is presenting an unplugged acoustic guitar workshop on “Bottleneck Slidin’”. The workshop will cover bottleneck techniques, finger picking in various tunings, several different chord progressions, and soloing techniques. Styles covered will include those of Elmore James, R. Cooder, Hound dog Taylor, Muddy Waters, etc. Kahr, a Chicago Blues icon, has played with such artists as John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells and Charlie Musslewhite. He is happy to be back at the School for another great workshop! here

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$45 ($40 members)

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Sun. October 02, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Poised for Performance - Intro to the Alexander Technique for Vocalists »

Is your body disconnected from your singing? Do you want fuller, easier breathing? Do you suffer from stage fright? Has poor posture or chronic body tension been getting in the way of your freedom and expression as a vocalist? The Alexander Technique has helped people connect to their body and breath, to relieve stress, and to reduce unnecessary tension for over a century.

Open to AllProgram: Voice

$30 ($28 members)

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Fri. October 07, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Line Theory with Jonathan Kreisberg »

Join Jonathan Kreisberg, one of the most compelling Jazz composers and performers of today, for this workshop as part of his residency at the Old Town School. Jonathan will discuss the elements of a great line. He will provide an organized approach to creating harmony and interest while playing denser melodic passages.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$30 ($28 members)

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Sat. October 08, 1:00 PM – 2:50 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Dance Basics for Couples »

Swing and sway to the blues, rockabilly, and the sounds of the big bands. Learn to be comfortable with fundamental moves on the dance floor. in this two-hour workshop, Louie will cover the one-step, the fox-trot, and the six-count swing. Emphasis will also be given to the basics of coupling, floorwork, and turns. This class is ideal for couples who are either preparing for their own wedding or those wanting to dance with ease at any party or occasion. Spend some time with your honey, get moving, and have fun!

Open to AllProgram: Dance

$45 ($43 members)

REGISTER NOW
Sat. October 08, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
The Art of the Duo with Jonathan Kreisberg »

Join Jonathan Kreisberg, one of the most compelling Jazz composers and performers of today, for this workshop as part of his residency at the Old Town School. Jonathan will play duos with some of the students where he will offer critique and cover several common issues that may arise in the duo setting. Some of the subjects to be touched upon will be attention to detail when learning tunes, interaction vs. a supportive focus, and the relationship of absolute time and "time feel".

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$30 ($28 members)

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Sat. October 08, 1:00 PM – 2:50 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Understanding the Major Pentatonic Scale »

What's the point? Why is this scale so much more useful than other major scales? Dan has the attitude and the secrets to help you understand how to decipher a major scale into pentatonic scales.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sat. October 08, 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Cajun and Zydeco Dance »

Let the good times roll! Learn to partner dance like the Cajuns have since 1721 in southwest Louisiana. In this workshop, you will learn the traditional Cajun two-step and waltz, plus the more contemporary Cajun jitterbug step. As a bonus, you'll be introduced to the faster, looser Zydeco two-step! Celebrate Mardi Gras by getting onto the dance floor! No partner necessary to register.

Open to AllProgram: Dance

$25 ($24 members)

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Sat. October 08, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Improv & Odd Time Signatures with Jonathan Kreisberg »

Join Jonathan Kreisberg, one of the most compelling Jazz composers and performers of today, for this workshop as part of his residency at the Old Town School. Jonathan will cover some of his personal approaches to making odd time signatures feel like home. He will also discuss how odd time arrangements and compositions can bring new inspiration and materials to your playing.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$30 ($28 members)

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Sat. October 08, 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Understanding the Minor Pentatonic Scale »

The minor pentatonic scale is THE pinnacle scale for blues, hard rock, and heavy metal and has been used in some of the most famous guitar riffs of all time. Dan will cover all five patterns of the minor pentatonic scale and dissect famous riffs to help you cultivate your relationship with this mesmerizing scale.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. October 09, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Solo Guitar with Jonathan Kreisberg »

Join Jonathan Kreisberg, one of the most compelling Jazz composers and performers of today, for this workshop as part of his residency at the Old Town School. Jonathan will share his approach to solo guitar in this workshop. In addition to covering several techniques, he will discuss the importance of having a firm grasp of all of the elements of a composition in order to achieve freedom in improvisation while staying grounded.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$30 ($28 members)

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Sun. October 16, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Making Friends with Barre Chords »

The lament of the guitarist after the first couple of classes: “ARGGHH, barre chords!” Have no fear - there is hope! In this workshop, you’ll develop the muscles and theory to play bar chords across the neck and learn how to move fluidly from open chords and other chord forms. Also learn partial bar forms so you can play your favorite songs while you're developing your technique. Barre chords without frustration!

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. October 16, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Effect Pedals and Electronics for Guitars »

The modern guitar is not just a guitar and an amp anymore! Processing units in between guitar and amp, called effect pedals, or “stomp boxes,” enhance the range, color, and orchestral possibilities of the instrument. Learn the best way to use distortion, overdrive, fuzzes, delays, reverbs, choruses, loopers, wah-wahs, volume pedals, compressors, and more. Look at the modern possibilities of Kaoss pads, e-bows, and custom switching. Using these modern colors doesn't have to be confusing, and can be creative and fun!

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. October 23, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
The Swedish Fiddle Tradition »

This workshop is an introduction to Swedish traditional music. Tunes, specific bowing techniques and ornamentation used in Scandinavian playing will be taught by the nyckelharpa player Anna Gustavsson (SWE).

IntermediateProgram: Fiddle & Cello

$25 ($24 members)

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Sat. November 12, 1:00 PM – 2:50 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Dance Basics for Couples »

Swing and sway to the blues, rockabilly, and the sounds of the big bands. Learn to be comfortable with fundamental moves on the dance floor. in this two-hour workshop, Louie will cover the one-step, the fox-trot, and the six-count swing. Emphasis will also be given to the basics of coupling, floorwork, and turns. This class is ideal for couples who are either preparing for their own wedding or those wanting to dance with ease at any party or occasion. Spend some time with your honey, get moving, and have fun!

Open to AllProgram: Dance

$45 ($43 members)

REGISTER NOW
Sat. November 12, 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Country Dancing! »

Learn some fun country dances with Louie Stallone, starting with the basic two-step, which you can dance in pairs or by yourself. We’ll then break down a few classic line dances, and maybe one or two you’ve never seen before. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and there’s no need for a partner, but bring ‘em if you got ‘em!

Open to AllProgram: Dance

$25 ($24 members)

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Sat. November 19, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Dance Revolution- An All Abilities Exploration »

Join BACKBONES, an organization connecting people with spinal cord injury and their families, along with Momenta Dance, an all abilities dance group, for this special workshop exploring dance and movement. Kris Lenzo, dancer with a disability and 2016 3Arts awardee, will lead this workshop which welcomes people of all abilities to explore dance and movement.

Open to AllProgram: Dance

$10 ($10 members)

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Sat. December 03, 1:00 PM – 2:50 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Dan’s Rhythm Method »

Admit it: Playing guitar in a rhythmic fashion can feel very awkward. Fear not! It happens to the best of us, so don't let rhythm challenges stop your musical journey. Let Dan help set you straight - straight fours, straight eights, you name it. Concentrate on your strumming, and improve your performance in many ways.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sat. December 03, 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Scales With Colors »

Join Dan Fulkerson, rock and pop guitar guru, as he demonstrates his unique method of learning scales and soloing. Dan will provide crayons and paper as part of the process. Come as you are, and leave a better musician! All levels are welcome.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. December 11, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Fingerpicking For Absolute Beginners »

Learn simple thumb- and- one finger approaches to fingerpicking that can eventually turn in to more complex accompaniment. No fingerpicking experience is necessary; you'll start fingerpicking—simple techniques and patterns that you can use right away! You'll learn simple arpeggios, alternate bass patterns, and a “Travis picking” pattern. If you've already tried fingerpicking, Charles can help you with simple tips to help you with your tone, speed and coordination. And keep in mind that you can start fingerpicking even if you've learned only a few chords!

BeginnerProgram: Guitar

$25 ($25 members)

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Sun. December 11, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Making Chord Transitions Easier! »

Guitarists often find chord transitions to be challenging and time-consuming. Whether you're finding it difficult to move between open chords, barre chords, or anything else, this workshop will make life easier!

BeginnerProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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