Teachers at the Old Town School

Michael O’Toole

Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin

Irish & Country Fiddle, Clawhammer Banjo

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

Started at the Old Town School in May of 2006


Private Lessons in the 8-week session beginning 03/02/2015

Tuesdays 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm at 909 W Armitage Ave
Tuesdays 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm at 909 W Armitage Ave
Wednesdays 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm at 909 W Armitage Ave
Wednesdays 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm at 909 W Armitage Ave
Thursdays 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm at 909 W Armitage Ave
Sundays 9:00 am – 11:30 am at 909 W Armitage Ave
Sundays 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 909 W Armitage Ave

Group Classes for the session beginning 03/02/2015

Guitar 2 Repertoire with Michael O’Toole
This class is great entry point for the self taught. You will build repertoire and develop skills.
$184 ($174 members)
for 8 weeks
03/03/2015 – 04/21/2015Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM909 W Armitage AveClass is full — Call 773.728.6000 for waiting list info
Guitar 2 with Michael O’Toole
Your playing will take on a new dimension.
$184 ($174 members)
for 8 weeks
03/08/2015 – 04/26/2015Sundays · 12:00 PM – 1:20 PM909 W Armitage AveREGISTER NOW

Group Classes for the session beginning 04/27/2015

Gypsy Jazz Ensemble with Michael O’Toole
Come learn and re-create the swinging songs and sounds of Gypsy Jazz. Traditionally this genre is played with lead and rhythm guitars, bass and violins but other melody instruments are welcome like accordion, clarinet, and even a tenor banjo! Play the repertoire of the famous Hot Club Of France and more!
$184 ($174 members)
for 8 weeks
04/27/2015 – 06/15/2015Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM4545 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Guitar Fingerboard Theory with Michael O’Toole
$184 ($174 members)
for 8 weeks
04/28/2015 – 06/16/2015Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM909 W Armitage AveREGISTER NOW

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