Ensemble Classes

There is no “I” in band.

To get the most out of the class, you'll need to be able to play your instrument at an intermediate level. For folks who have taken our core guitar programs - you'll fit right in most ensembles once you've taken Guitar 3. After that, the sky is the limit.

As we continue to conduct classes online please be advised that due to latency issues, we are not playing together as such. Class time is spent predominantly learning songs and parts. In addition, many teachers are providing supplemental materials and practice tracks. Individual students have the opportunity to lead a song during class if they so desire.

We continue to investigate recent developments in technology which allow smaller groups the ability to play together and will update the community when we have news. Of course, nothing takes the place of live musical interaction and we look forward to assembling the band together in the same room in the not too distant future.

Class Schedules and Availability

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Valentine’s Day Songbag with Lisa DeRosia with Lisa Joy DeRosia

$20 ($18 members)

02/12/2021 (1 meetings)

Friday · 7:00 PM – 8:20 PM · Online

The Sweetest Thing - Songs for lovers to make you blush and pull at your heartstrings. Lisa chooses some the favorite love songs from her collection to sing, strum, and to help you feel the love! Charts will be provided.

The ‘80s Ensemble with Andrea Bunch

$210 ($190 members)

01/05/2021 – 02/23/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Oh what a feeling! Come dance in the dark and walk on sunshine all night long as we jam 80's Pop, R&B, and rock! All instruments and singers welcome.

Class is full — Call 773.728.6000 for waiting list info

‘80s Pop Metal with Dan Fulkerson

$206 ($186 members)

01/05/2021 – 02/23/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Why wouldn't you want to spray as much aqua net into your hair and tease it up like Nancy Wilson from the band Heart in the video of her mega hit "These Dreams" or like Tommy Lee from Motley Crue in the video for "Looks that Kill"? What a strange time. This class involves learning all the bluesy riffs to "Girls,Girls,Girls", to more straight forward rocker songs like "Paradise City" and a whole lot more songs of this glamorous riff oriented genre.

Lunar Ensemble: Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens with Steve Levitt

$210 ($190 members)

01/04/2021 – 02/22/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

It’s a Monday thing. It’s a lunar thing. It’s all about country and country rock and roots/Americana/pop music originally released on vinyl. Learn the tunes and share them. Session 1: Cat Steven’s 1970 classic Tea for the Tillerman including Father & Son, Sad Lisa, Where to the Children Play and Wild World.

New Americana Ensemble with Alton Smith

$210 ($190 members)

01/04/2021 – 02/22/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

Join us as we explore the songs of the ever-burgeoning genre of "Americana," covering artists such as Jason Isbell, The Decemberists, Neko Case, Dawes, Shovels & Rope, The Lone Bellow, and more!

Beatles Acoustic with Tommi Zender

$210 ($190 members)

01/05/2021 – 02/23/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

Learn acoustic arrangements from the Fab Four’s catalog! Explore the songs, singing, and signature riffs, along with occasional post-Beatles solo tunes thrown in for good measure. Come join the class. We will work it out! Session 5: John Lennon

Beatles for Beginners with Charles Kim

$210 ($190 members)

01/07/2021 – 02/25/2021 (8 meetings)

Thursdays · 8:30 PM – 9:50 PM · Online

Have you always wanted to play in a group, but didn't know where to start! This is the class for you! Learn the immortal songs of the Fab Four while learning the essential skills of playing in time with a rhythm section, singing together, and creating a set that rocks from beginning to end. Learning an instrument can be fun, but playing in an ensemble is fantastic, and the Beatles makes it easy!

Daytime Beatles Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$210 ($190 members)

01/08/2021 – 02/26/2021 (8 meetings)

Fridays · 12:00 PM – 1:20 PM · Online

A special daytime version of our most popular ensemble class. Like it’s night time older brother, we will take on the catalog one album at a time. Join us on Friday afternoons at noon. A perfect time to tap into your inner Paul, John, George or Ringo Starting in 2021 we will begin another journey through the British releases - many of which differ significantly from their American counterparts. We will learn the entire album from A to Zed Session 1; Please Please Me Session 2 With The Beatles.

Beatles Ensemble with Tom Ryan

$210 ($190 members)

01/06/2021 – 02/24/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

The Beatles Ensemble begin another journey through the British releases - many of which differ significantly from their American counterparts. We will learn the entire album from A to Zed Session 1; Please Please Me Session 2 With The Beatles

Beginning String Band Ensemble with Colby Maddox · Dan Mulvihill

$216 ($196 members)

01/07/2021 – 02/25/2021 (8 meetings)

Thursdays · 8:30 PM – 9:50 PM · Online

This class is an introduction to early string band music featuring straightforward arrangements for clawhammer banjo, early American fiddle, and mandolin styles. Paced for students who have finished with the introductory courses for their instruments, this class gives fiddles, banjos, mandolins, and more a chance to work together to get songs "performance ready” by building the confidence and consistency it takes to make music with others. All students are invited to play and lead songs for the class and even share their own recordings with their teachers and fellow students. Play-along tracks, videos, tablature, and charts are provided, and we will spend time on technique for each instrument. Beginning String Band Ensemble is a fun and challenging way to dive into creating music with others in a supportive, encouraging atmosphere.

Bloodshot Records Songbook with Shelley Miller

$180 ($163 members)

01/16/2021 – 02/27/2021 (7 meetings)

Saturdays · 2:30 PM – 3:50 PM · Online

From the Waco Brothers and Old '97s to Neko Case and Kelly Hogan, there's no end to the great tunes and iconic artists we can explore.

British Rock Songbag w/ Tommi Zender with Tommi Zender

$20 ($18 members)

01/22/2021 (1 meetings)

Friday · 7:30 PM – 8:50 PM · Online

Join us for some British classics of the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s. It’s a grab-bag spanning The Kinks to The Smiths; sort of like Pirate Radio broadcasting from John Peel’s attic. Many artists & songs you love, including some by the two most notorious British explosion setters.

Classic Album Ensemble with Charles Kim

$210 ($190 members)

01/09/2021 – 02/27/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 1:00 PM – 2:20 PM · Online

Inspired by the 33 & 1/3 book series that celebrates landmark records of pop, rock, country, and soul, the 33 & 1/3 picks one classic album each session, and learns every glorious song

‘60s Classics Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$206 ($186 members)

01/06/2021 – 02/24/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 12:00 PM – 1:20 PM · Online

You don’t have to be 60 to be in the ‘60s Classics Ensemble. All you need is an unoccupied afternoon, your instrument, and a little bit of curiosity about that far off far out two-decades-in-one musical time. There was just no way to dig it all the first time through. Different songs are covered every session. No request refused, and you are encouraged to create your own charts to share with the class.

‘60s Classics Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$206 ($186 members)

01/09/2021 – 02/27/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 11:00 AM – 12:20 PM · Online

You don’t have to be 60 to be in the ‘60s Classics Ensemble. All you need is an unoccupied afternoon, your instrument, and a little bit of curiosity about that far off far out two-decades-in-one musical time. There was just no way to dig it all the first time through. Different songs are covered every session. No request refused, and you are encouraged to create your own charts to share with the class.

Modern Country Ensemble with Jacob Sweet

$210 ($190 members)

01/05/2021 – 02/23/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Martina McBride, and many more. Explore your inner twang, whether it be on guitar, fiddle, mandolin, dobro, banjo, drums, voice, piano, ukulele. Anything goes. Modern country is a virtual potpourri of influences, including rock, soul, folk and even blues. Ability to have fun and not take yourself too seriously required.

Vintage Country Ensemble with Paul Tyler

$210 ($190 members)

01/06/2021 – 02/24/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

Immerse yourself in the high lonesome sound, the honky-tonk heartache, and a smattering of Sunday sanctification. We’ll teach you how to find those plaintive harmonies and create a soulful backup in the music of bands like the Carter Family, the Louvin Brothers, and Girls of the Golden West. Join with other pickers and singers to make a band . This is an ensemble class. Some students will work on lead, harmony and backup vocals, while others focus on lead and backup fiddle, mandolin or guitar lines. Rhythm guitar and bass provide the foundation. Paul Tyler and Gail Tyler will teach all the parts and coach you in performance.

Dylan Songbag: You Don’t Need a Weatherman with Jimmy Tomasello

$20 ($18 members)

01/22/2021 (1 meetings)

Friday · 7:00 PM – 8:20 PM · Online

Every month, Jimmy Tomasello our resident dylanologist, will cover different parts of Bob’s vast repertoire. Lyrics and chord charts provided. Here, in the depths of Chicago winter, we will examine, explore and play songs from the Bobster’s canon that address the climate. From a Hard Rain to the sunny skies of Mozambique, join us as we plow thru the snows of old Duluth, the sands of Utah, the fires of Armageddon and much more. No need to bundle up we’ll be inside online.

Folk Songs: Carrying History Forward with Peggy Browning

$210 ($190 members)

01/07/2021 – 02/25/2021 (8 meetings)

Thursdays · 5:30 PM – 6:50 PM · Online

Zoom on into the Thursday Night Folk Songs class. In the virtual world, we'll study the songs and the people who have influenced and been influenced by old time music, country, folk, blues and bluegrass. While learning the histories of the songs and musicians, we'll work on creating our own arrangements in class. We'll work on learning by ear, not off the paper. Even though we can’t be together, we can still share good sounds via the wires. In class we'll explore the music of Hazel Dickens, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Jean Ritchie and more. Each session will culminate into a final project that we call “Alone, Together”. We pick a song from our session and each record our parts from home, one of our wonderful participants takes all the parts and puts them into one video recording

Folk-Rock Acoustic with Tommi Zender

$210 ($190 members)

01/06/2021 – 02/24/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

Let’s unplug! We'll explore folk rock from it's roots in the mid ‘60s to the plethora of contemporary acoustic acts. From the Byrds to Beck and from Cat Stevens to Sufjan Stevens, build your repertoire and improve your arrangement skills. In addition, the class will collectively create new interpretive arrangements of traditional tunes. If the power ever goes out, the show will go on!

Mountain Goats Songbook with Shelley Miller

$206 ($186 members)

01/09/2021 – 02/27/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 1:00 PM – 2:20 PM · Online

Need some hope and catharsis? The music of the Mountain Goats has got your back. Since his start recording albums into a boombox tape recorder in the 90s, Mountain Goats songwriter John Darnielle has churned out a steady stream of anthemic, joyous, heartfelt songs about outcasts, misfits and everyday people facing long odds and emerging triumphant. And with the band’s evolution and sonic explorations, their songs provide a deep well of musical exploration for instrumentalists as well. Whether you're a longtime fan or new to the band, join longtime Goats fan (and Old Town teaching artist) Shelley Miller as we sing and play our hearts out together. Song selection will lean heavily on student requests. We're gonna make it through this (and next) year if it kills us.

Grateful Dead Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$210 ($190 members)

01/07/2021 – 02/25/2021 (8 meetings)

Thursdays · 7:00 PM – 8:20 PM · Online

A long, strange trip indeed. From the deeply traditional to the cutting edge of the forms beyond chaos, the Dead did their best to love it all, and so do we. Performance oriented. It's all about the show.

Here and Now Ensemble with Andrea Bunch · Randy Morris

$210 ($190 members)

01/04/2021 – 02/22/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Come jam on what’s happening right now! We play rock, pop, and Americana tunes by bands like Walk the Moon, Florence and the Machine, The Lumineers, Feist, Alabama Shakes, Norah Jones, Fitz and the Tantrums, and more. Any tune less than 10 years old is game. What do YOU want to play? All vocalists and instrumentalists welcome. Andrea Bunch is an experienced teacher, vocalist and instrumentalist. Come have some laughs and learn a thing or two!

Hot Club Repertoire Ensemble with Rick Veras

$206 ($186 members)

01/04/2021 – 02/22/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Come learn and re-create the swinging sounds and repertoire of the great Django Reinhardt and his numerous Jazz manouche ensembles.. 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!

Irish Ballad Sing and Play with Jim McVeigh

$206 ($186 members)

01/09/2021 – 02/27/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 1:00 PM – 2:20 PM · Online

Learn how to back-up yourself and/or another singer when performing Irish Ballads on your instrument of choice (guitar, banjo, mandolin, bazouki, ukulele etc.) We will draw from the classic Irish songbook - from Count John McCormack to the Clancy Brothers, from pub favorites to sea shanties and love songs. Develop the means to deconstruct song types, understand the appropriate rhythmic patterns and add vocal stylings to bring the songs to life. The craic will be mighty! Gain insights into the way of life in Old Ireland as some common themes and events are sung about in each ballad. Jim will provide background details of every song therefore informing your interpretation the song. Jim McVeigh is from Belfast, Northern Ireland and has played extensively throughout Ireland and the British Isles. Since coming to the United States in 1993 he has performed in the Irish music scene here in the Midwest and beyond.

Jazz Harmony and Improvisation with Michael Nearpass

$206 ($186 members)

01/07/2021 – 02/25/2021 (8 meetings)

Thursdays · 7:00 PM – 8:20 PM · Online

Jazz Harmony and Improvisation will guide you through the fundamentals of jazz harmony, theory, and improvisation. If you are new to jazz, this course will be a great introduction on how to approach improvisation. It also serves as a thorough review for those with more experience. Topics covered will include: Chord/scale analysis, 12 bar blues, common song forms, ii-V-I chords, simple solo construction, and ear training.

K Billy’s Songbag—Super Hits of the 70s with John Mead

$20 ($18 members)

02/05/2021 (1 meetings)

Friday · 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM · Online

This set of songs will be just like a Tarantino soundtrack (or a Peter Quill mixtape)—classic soul, one-hit wonders, and groovy rock from the early 70s.

Klezmer Music with Marianne Bossert

$206 ($186 members)

01/05/2021 – 02/23/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Delve into the rhythm and soul of this rich tradition. Syncopated like Latin jazz, melodic like middle eastern prayer, and transformed by its migration to this country, klezmer is Jewish funk. Join other capable musicians and leave Hava Nagilah in the dust. In our online setting we will concentrate on improvisation and the music theory employed.

LA Songbag: Topanga to East LA with John Mead

$20 ($18 members)

02/26/2021 (1 meetings)

Friday · 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM · Online

Let’s start thinking about the summer sun, with tunes from Zevon and the Doors to Los Lobos and Thee Midnighters! We’ll head out from Venice Beach and drag down the viaducts to Chavez Ravine.

Listening to Jazz with Michael Nearpass

$206 ($186 members)

01/07/2021 – 02/25/2021 (8 meetings)

Thursdays · 8:30 PM – 9:50 PM · Online

Listening to Jazz is a guided listening course designed to give participants an understanding of the history, traditions, and common practices of jazz music, as well as discuss the social and cultural settings that contributed to its evolution.

Mellow Gold Songbook with Catherine Norden · Steve Dawson

$222 ($202 members)

01/09/2021 – 02/27/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 1:00 PM – 2:20 PM · Online

Relax into summer with the songs of the Bee Gees, Bread, Lionel Richie, James Taylor, and other kings and queens of 1970s mellow. We are only offering this during the summer session (Session 4), so don’t be too mellow and let it pass you by.

Monday Night Special with Peggy Browning · Mark Mitchell

$216 ($196 members)

01/04/2021 – 02/22/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

The Monday Night Special group continues to thrive in this virtual world! Come join us. In the spirit of our founder Frank Hamilton, we'll learn by ear, making music with others creating our own arrangements of some core tunes and songs. We'll draw from gospel to blues, old time numbers to lyrical ballads. Even though we can’t be together, we still find ways to share good sounds over the wires. Each session we work on a final project we call, “Alone-Together”. We pick a song from our session and each record our part at home. One of our wonderful class mates puts all the parts together into one beautiful video recording see below. Let the Monday Night Special shine it's light on you!

Neil Young Acoustic Songbook with Tommi Zender

$206 ($186 members)

01/09/2021 – 02/27/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 1:00 PM – 2:20 PM · Online

Rust never sleeps but it knows the value of a power nap. While we’re quarantined there’s a vast catalog spanning multiple decades of great songs to explore. Side burns not included.

Old-Time Revival Ensemble with Jonas Friddle · Anna Jacobson

$222 ($202 members)

01/05/2021 – 02/23/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

The beautiful sounds of traditional American music are being revived and reinvented by contemporary bands like Uncle Earl, David Rawlings, Gillian Welch, The Be Good Tanyas, Abigail Washburn, Old Crow Medicine Show, the South Memphis String Band, and more. Come learn the songs of these artists in an ensemble setting. All acoustic instruments and vocalists welcome.

Post-Valentines Songbag: Heartbreak in the Key of C with John Mead

$20 ($18 members)

02/19/2021 (1 meetings)

Friday · 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM · Online

A great set of tunes about lost love and songcraft, from Roy Orbison to Taylor Swift, from Smokey to Lucinda. Shed a tear and get your hands around the first position chords!

Rock & Soul Revue! Ensemble with John Mead

$80 ($70 members)

02/04/2021 – 02/25/2021 (4 meetings)

Thursdays · 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

This class will be focusing on the groove-driven music of the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, from original rhythm-and-blues through soul and rock & roll and into soul-influenced rock and disco. The class will learn songs integrating rich harmonies, intricate guitar interplay, and rhythmic drive. Can you dig it?

Rockabilly Ensemble with Jacob Sweet

$210 ($190 members)

01/05/2021 – 02/23/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

Explore one of the earliest and most vibrant styles of rock and roll the way it is meant be played, in an ensemble setting! A combination of R&B mixed with country influences, songs by Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and the Everly Brothers as well as current artists like Brian Setzer, Big Sandy, and Dwight Yoakam will be covered. All instruments and singers welcome. Waxed sideburns and raunchy tattoos are optional.

Roots of Bruce Songbag with John Mead

$20 ($18 members)

01/30/2021 (1 meetings)

Saturday · 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM · Online

Songs that made Springsteen—the Crystals, the Animals, Eddie Floyd, the Shangri-Las, the Easybeats, Gary US Bonds, the Detroit Wheels, and more.

Willie Nelson Acoustic Songbook with Chris Corsale

$99 ($89 members)

01/05/2021 – 01/26/2021 (4 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

We'll do tunes drawn from all eras of Willie's career. From the ‘60s Nashville "Crazy" and "Hello Walls" stuff to whatever he was working on in Austin last week. We'll leave this class with at least a dozen tunes under our hat.