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Updated May 9, 2022: Masks are strongly recommended on campus and vaccination or negative covid test is required for entry. Please view our Health & Safety page for specific policy details for in-person classes and concerts. »

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


Monday with Joshua Guy

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $214 ($194 members)

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

Location: Lincoln Square - Lincoln Ave Campus

Clawhammer Banjo 1


Tuesday with Dan Mulvihill

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $206 ($186 members)

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

Location: Online

Clawhammer Banjo 2


Thursday with Steve Rosen

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $206 ($186 members)

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

Location: Online

Clawhammer Banjo 3


Tuesday or Thursday with Steve Rosen or Dan Mulvihill

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $206 ($186 members)

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

Location: Online

Clawhammer Banjo 2 Repertoire


Wednesday with Steve Rosen

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 8 weeks  ·  $206 ($186 members)

Location: Online

Clawhammer Banjo Blues


Monday with Michael Miles

80 minutes  ·  Once a week for 4 weeks  ·  $99 ($89 members)

This class 4 week class will look at technique, rhythms, tunings, chords and repertoire.For intermediate players.

Location: Online

Clawhammer Banjo Workshops with Michael J. Miles


Monday with Michael Miles

75 minutes  ·  Once a week for 1 week  ·  $25 ($23 members)

Michael presents his compelling arrangements with the kind of detail that demystifies complexity and establishes pathways for students to arrange their own works.

Location: Online

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

$296 for 30 minutes ($286 for members)

$424 for 45 minutes ($409 for members)

$544 for 60 minutes ($524 for members)

Session & Registration Dates

8-week lessons: 06/20/2022 – 08/14/2022

Monday 05/16/22: Re-registration for current students begins

Tuesday 05/31/22: Transfer registration

Wednesday 06/01/22: Open registration

8-week lessons: 08/29/2022 – 10/23/2022

Monday 07/11/22: Re-registration for current students begins

Monday 07/25/22: Transfer registration

Wednesday 07/27/22: Open registration

8-week lessons: 10/24/2022 – 12/18/2022

Monday 09/19/22: Re-registration for current students begins

Monday 10/03/22: Transfer registration

Wednesday 10/05/22: Open registration


Click for teacher profiles and schedules

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

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