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Classes at the Old Town School

Since 1957, we've been teaching people of all ages to play music in a comfortable, social setting. Old Town School is now the largest public school of the arts in the US, teaching traditional folk instruments like guitar, banjo, and mandolin, a wide range of dance, theater, and visual arts classes, as well as our popular early childhood Wiggleworms® program.

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How do our classes work?

We believe all classes should be a fun and social way to learn and explore the wide world of music and dance! Be prepared to have fun while working hard on learning your new skills. While we take teaching music very seriously, this isn’t a conservatory. No auditions here, just bring your interest in learning new skills or a new instrument into our relaxed and encouraging environment.

Whether you're a complete beginner or looking for more advanced skills, there's a place in our classes for everyone! All are invited to join in the fun, and our classes are welcoming and safe environments to learn new skills, play songs, and even make mistakes together to grow as a group with shared goals.

Don’t own an instrument? Let our Music Store help with inexpensive rentals. Perhaps you're in the market for a brand new or used guitar to call your own, too! Our resident experts will help get you the right instrument and accessories you need. (Please note: rentals are available for an additional cost per session and are only available for pickup at our Lincoln Ave. campus.)

We believe music and dance should be fun and engaging. Since 1957, we've been teaching folks to sing, play, and dance in the grand folk tradition of making music and dancing together. Group classes are the best way to learn new skills and help your fellow students grow throughout class. Come to learn and meet new people along the way! Countless life-long friendships have formed through the unique social setting of an Old Town School class.

Most group classes end the session with a showcase in the Old Town School concert hall – on the very same stage graced by legendary musicians – or offsite at some of Chicago's finest venues, restaurants, bars, and community centers. Our teaching artists, and your other classmates, create a comfortable and stress-free way to showcase your skills. Another important part of learning in the folk tradition is getting the chance to play along with other members of the Old Town School community at weekly jams. Show off what you've been working on, explore other classes from the catalog, and perhaps pick up some tips from your classmates too!

In addition to our legendary group classes, private lessons are also available. Weekly lessons last 30, 45, or 60 minutes and are a great way to get personal attention or work on some specific skills or genres.

Meet Our Teaching Artists

Our talented faculty will help you get started on your musical journey. Get to know them! Search by name, instrument, or program.

Browse Our Faculty

Ready to get playing?

Pick your age range or interest and learn more about our currently available course options.