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!

Sat. July 30, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Afro-Pop Ensemble Sampler »

Come learn the rhythms, melodies, and harmonies of Cameroon, Ghana, Congo, Nigeria and South Africa in this invigorating afro-pop ensemble workshop. World renowned Cameroonian bassist and band leader, Gros Ngolle Pokossi will lead students in unpacking the basics in the genres of makossa, soukous, highlife, and afrobeat.

IntermediateProgram: Ensemble

$25 ($24 members)

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Fri. August 05, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
THE SOCIAL - Dan’s Faves »

Join Dan Fulkerson for an evening of singing and playing some of his favorite summer picks. It’s sure to be an eclectic mix!

Open to AllProgram: Guitar

$15 ($10 members)

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Fri. August 05, 7:00 PM – 9:50 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
THE SOCIAL- Words & Music: The Songwriter’s Circle »

Come share your song, new or old, all-done or somewhere in between. Listen and respond to the work of your peers in a supportive and creative community of artists.

Open to AllProgram: Guitar

$10 ($7 members)

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Sat. August 06, 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.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sat. August 06, 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. August 06, 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. August 06, 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.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. August 07, 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.

IntermediateProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. August 07, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Anybody Can Improvise »

By the end of this workshop, you'll be improvising! You can also expect to walk away from the workshop with an ability to improvise in real world situations. This course is geared to those who know a few chords, but who are new to improvisation. Though this course is geared toward guitar and piano, all instruments are welcome. If participating with another instrument, student should be able to identify the names of the notes on their instrument. For example: the student should be able to find a single note "C" if required.

BeginnerProgram: Guitar

$25 ($24 members)

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Sun. August 07, 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! 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. August 07, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Intro to Scottish and Italian Baroque Fiddling »

This workshop introduces the stylistic conventions of the Scottish tradition and also the performance practices of the Italians who migrated over the Alps and English Channel to combine forces with the Scots. Using the tunes from the Gentle Shepherd, Brandi will unpack both traditions and the specific ways they influenced each other, and demonstrate what makes Scottish fiddling so unique in the 18th century. Participants leave this workshop with a packet of the tunes, including some from their original facsimile format.

Open to AllProgram: Fiddle & Cello

$10 ($10 members)

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Fri. August 12, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
THE SOCIAL - Steamboat Days »

Join musician and nautical history guru, Charlie Ipcar for an evening of traditional and contemporary steamboat songs! Charlie will share songs by roustabouts, ballads about the boats and their passengers, and much more! Attendees are encouraged to bring their own steamboat selections to share during the second half of the evening!

Open to AllProgram: Guitar

$15 ($10 members)

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Fri. August 12, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
THE SOCIAL - Pop Up Choir »

Folks of all singing levels are welcome to come together and experience the joy of harmony singing - to pop music! We'll start with some vocal warmups and harmony singing exercises. Then, we'll all learn a couple of modern pop tunes arranged for vocal harmony. Can't read music? Totally new to singing? No problem, join us! Andrea Bunch has been teaching music and singing for 15 years. She creates a fun atmosphere where people can make music, have some fun, and learn a thing or two.

Open to AllProgram: Guitar

$15 ($10 members)

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Sun. August 14, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Round Peak Fiddle with Bruce Molsky »

Join renowned Old Time musician, Bruce Molsky for this workshop in Round Peak fiddle! The Round Peak style originated around Surrey and Stokes Counties in North Carolina and it has become one of the most distinctive Old Time music styles in existence.

IntermediateProgram: Fiddle & Cello

$40 ($38 members)

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Sun. August 14, 2:45 PM – 4:15 PM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Round Peak Banjo with Bruce Molsky »

Join renowned Old Time musician, Bruce Molsky for this workshop in Round Peak banjo! The Round Peak style originated around Surrey and Stokes Counties in North Carolina and it has become one of the most distinctive Old Time music styles in existence.

IntermediateProgram: Banjo

$40 ($38 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, 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 – 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. 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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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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The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000