Teachers at the Old Town School

Michael O’Toole

Guitar, Clawhammer Banjo, Country & Irish Fiddle, Mandolin

Michael O’Toole first came to the Old Town School in January of 1973 to learn fiddle from Dave Prine and later, banjo from Fleming Brown. In March of 1974, he joined the faculty teaching guitar, fiddle and clawhammer banjo at the Old Town School of Folk Music North in Skokie, IL. He left in May of 1975 to travel, busking across the U.S., Mexico and Europe where he settled for three years in Paris, France. He returned to Chicago in 1981 and taught fiddle on Armitage from ’82 to ’84. From 1985 to 1987 he studied composition and theory with the late James Mack at Loop College. Over the next decade, Michael worked in local theater composing, arranging and directing music for over two dozen productions. Throughout the 90’s, he operated a small recording studio next to the historic No Exit cafe in Rogers Park, where he hosted the Monday night open mic and created the second longest running performance showcase in town, In One Ear. Michael has also taught at Flatts and Sharpe Music in Rogers Park since 1987. From 1998 to 2005, he returned often to France to play festivals and house concerts. From1997 to 2010, Michael entertained the 0-4 crowd at Lincoln Park Zoo’s StoryTime as Professor Boonie. Michael returned to Old Town in 2006 and has been teaching group guitar and private lessons in guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. He is very happy to be back home at the OTSFM. At present Michael is teaching and busy launching a one hour children’s podcast. He believes that music is at its best when it’s a shared adventure and that there is a seat for everyone on that bus.

Education: Northeastern Illinois University,
City Colleges of Chicago


Private Lessons

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays.
For Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo - 5 String | ages Guitar: 6 & up Banjo, Fiddle, Mandolin: 10 & up
Call 773.728.6000 for times, locations, and availability.


Group Class Offerings

Gypsy Jazz Ensemble
$161 ($152.25 members)
for 7 weeks
4/28/2014 – 6/16/2014 Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM 4545 N Lincoln Ave REGISTER NOW
Guitar 2 Repertoire
$184 ($174 members)
for 8 weeks
4/29/2014 – 6/17/2014 Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM 909 W Armitage Ave REGISTER NOW
Guitar 3
$184 ($174 members)
for 8 weeks
5/4/2014 – 6/22/2014 Sundays · 12:00 PM – 1:20 PM 909 W Armitage Ave REGISTER NOW
Guitar Fingerboard Theory
$184 ($174 members)
for 8 weeks
4/29/2014 – 6/17/2014 Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM 909 W Armitage Ave REGISTER NOW

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