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Clawhammer Banjo

Save the picks for the bluegrass class.

Clawhammer Banjo is used in old time music. The tunes are both easy and repetitive. It's exciting to build your way to playing in an old time band in which banjos, fiddles, mandolins, and guitars play with energy for cloggers and partner dancers. When you advance, you can branch out into more complex repertoire: French Canadian, Fiddle Tunes of the Midwest, and other specialty classes.
How is clawhammer played?
It is played by rhythmically rapping your right hand downward (as if knocking on a door) and plucking the string or strings along the way. Your right hand's index finger brushes against the strings and then the banjo head underneath the strings, and combined with your thumb catching the uppermost string, you get the trademark rhythmic sound of clawhammer.

Introduction to the Banjo


Thursday with Chris Walz

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $202 ($192 members)

For anyone attracted to the 5-string banjo but not sure which style to try first, this is for you!

Clawhammer Banjo 1


Tuesday with Dan Mulvihill

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $202 ($192 members)

Begin by using chords to strum simple songs with a technique known as frailing.

Clawhammer Banjo 2


Thursday with Steve Rosen

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $202 ($192 members)

Go beyond the basics with Clawhammer techniques such as drop-thumbing, while playing more challenging songs and fiddle tunes.

Clawhammer Banjo 3


Tuesday or Thursday with Steve Rosen or Dan Mulvihill

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $202 ($192 members)

Develop stronger left and right hand techniques in frailing and drop-thumb using hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.

Beyoncé on the Banjo with Matt Brown


Sunday with Staff

60 minutes  ·  Once a week for 1 week  ·  $20 ($15 members)

Clawhammer Banjo Blues


80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 4 weeks  ·  $101 ($96 members)

Paul Simon & James Taylor for Clawhammer Banjo


Monday with Michael Miles

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $202 ($196 members)

Private Lesson Options

Our private lessons like our group classes run in 8-week sessions, however, you can begin private lessons during any week in the session. Please call our customer service folks at 773.728.6000 to register as private lesson availability is based upon individual teacher schedules.

Lessons are scheduled weekly, for 30, 45 or 60 minutes, and are available every day of the week at our Lincoln Square and Lincoln Park locations. Our experienced and professional faculty will work with you to develop an individualized program that helps you achieve your musical goals.

Stop in at either location or call the front desk at 773.728.6000 to register.

8-week Session Prices

$288 for 30 minutes ($278 for members)

$416 for 45 minutes ($401 for members)

$536 for 60 minutes ($516 for members)

Session & Registration Dates

8-week lessons: 06/24/2019 – 08/18/2019

Monday 05/20/19: Re-registration for current students begins

Monday 06/03/19: Transfer registration

Wednesday 06/05/19: Open registration

8-week lessons: 09/02/2019 – 10/27/2019

Monday 07/15/19: Re-registration for current students begins

Monday 07/29/19: Transfer registration

Wednesday 07/31/19: Open registration

8-week lessons: 10/28/2019 – 12/22/2019

Monday 09/23/19: Re-registration for current students begins

Monday 10/07/19: Transfer registration

Wednesday 10/09/19: Open registration


Click for teacher profiles and schedules

Dave Bragman »
Banjo, Guitar

Jonas Friddle »
Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin, Ensembles, Band Coaching

Michael O'Toole »
Guitar, Ukulele, Fiddle, Banjo, Mandolin, Theory, Improvisation