Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test required for entry. View our Health and Safety page for full details.

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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The ‘80s Ensemble with Andrea Bunch

$206 ($186 members)

10/26/2021 – 12/14/2021 (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 ‘80s Pop, R&B, and rock! All instruments and singers welcome.

‘80s Pop Metal with Dan Fulkerson

$214 ($194 members)

10/26/2021 – 12/14/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

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.

Alt-Country Ensemble with Shelley Miller

$214 ($194 members)

10/30/2021 – 12/18/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 1:00 PM – 2:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

Grab your twang and get ready to rock. We'll learn songs by favorite alt-country artists such as Uncle Tupelo, Lucinda Williams, The Waco Brothers, Lydia Loveless, and more. You'll also learn some of the basic skills it takes to play and sing in a band - then put them to use playing an end-of-session online performance. Open to all instruments and vocalists. Guitar prerequisite: 2 Rep or comparable experience. For all other instruments: proficiency with basic major/minor chords (or melody playing) in keys of D, G, A & E and the ability to keep a steady rhythm in 4/4 and 3/4 time.

New Americana Ensemble with Alton Smith

$214 ($194 members)

10/25/2021 – 12/13/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @909 W Armitage Ave

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!

Bandleading 101 with Steve Hashimoto

$35 ($30 members)

10/23/2021 (1 meetings)

Saturday · 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

Everything you need to know about starting/leading a band but were afraid to ask! Longtime Chicago professional musician and bandleader Steve Hashimoto gives you the skinny on how and why to start and lead your own band. It’s harder than it looks – avoid the most common mistakes that lead to dissension and breakups! We’ll address a multitude of topics including Goals, Repertoire, Duties, Decision Rights, Member Selection and much much more.

Beatles Acoustic Songbook with Tommi Zender

$214 ($194 members)

10/26/2021 – 12/14/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @909 W Armitage Ave

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!

Beatles for Beginners with Charles Kim

$180 ($163 members)

10/28/2021 – 12/16/2021 (7 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

$188 ($170 members)

10/29/2021 – 12/17/2021 (7 meetings)

Fridays · 12:00 PM – 1:20 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

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

Beatles Ensemble with Tom Ryan

$214 ($194 members)

10/27/2021 – 12/15/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

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 5: Help! Session 6: Rubber Soul

Class is full — Call 773.728.6000 for waiting list info

String Band Ensemble with Colby Maddox · Dan Mulvihill

$194 ($177 members)

10/28/2021 – 12/16/2021 (7 meetings)

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

This class focuses on 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. String Band Ensemble is a fun and challenging way to dive into creating music with others in a supportive, encouraging atmosphere.

Bluegrass Ensemble with Colby Maddox · John Huber

$222 ($202 members)

10/25/2021 – 12/13/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

In Bluegrass Ensemble, you will learn the basics of playing and singing for bluegrass. From kick-offs to endings, discover the structure of a bluegrass song through playing the music. We look at what to play behind verses, choruses, and solo breaks in bluegrass songs. We encourage students to work on singing and solos while the teacher leads songs at first. As students gain confidence with their parts, the teachers hand the reins over and students are invited to share their solo and rhythm and lead songs in class. Play along tracks, instructional videos and charts are all provided, and students are encouraged to send their recordings of class songs to the teachers and to the whole class list via email. This class is a fun and challenging way to work out your bluegrass chops.

Blues Band - Live! with Harlan Terson

$210 ($193 members)

10/27/2021 – 12/15/2021 (7 meetings)

Wednesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

Work out the blues with your own Old Town School band. The first meeting will include a jam session, ensemble selection and band placement. Eight weeks of practice will land your band a gig! Final performances will be at Rosa’s Blues Lounge 3420 W. Armitage (usually the last Sunday of the session). Class time depends on student's ensemble designation. Even if you sign up for the Saturday section you will need to go to the Wednesday audition on the first night of class. Students must attend the first class or receive teacher permission. Instruments include electric guitar, bass, drums, vocals, horns, woodwinds, and keyboards. Class time depends on student's ensemble designation. It could be 6:30 PM or 8:00 PM or Saturdays at 1:00 PM.

Brazilian Ensemble with Luciano Antonio · Heitor Garcia

$222 ($202 members)

10/25/2021 – 12/13/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

For instrumentalists (drums, bass, piano, guitar, percussion, wind, strings) and singers. In this class the instructor will coach players and singers on Brazilian rhythms, harmonies, vocal placements and proper Portuguese pronunciation. Detailed ways to groove Samba, Bossa Nova, and different rhythms from North/Northeastern Brazil (Baião, Xote, Xaxado, Axé, Ijexá, Maracatú...) will be looked at and broken down with a magnifying glass. Arrangements are written to explore the specific instrumentation the class will gather. Want to dive deep into the Brazilian World of Music? This is the class for you!!

‘60s Classics Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$214 ($194 members)

10/30/2021 – 12/18/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 11:00 AM – 12:20 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

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

$206 ($186 members)

10/26/2021 – 12/14/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, 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.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$214 ($194 members)

10/25/2021 – 12/13/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

Musical history was made when these musicians blended their individual skills. Their unprecedented sound has yet to be matched. Make it yours with Steve Levitt, who leads you into their incredible world. We will examine the classics as well as solo offerings from each of these icons. Session 5: The first album with the epic Suite Judy Blue Eyes

Eclectic Electric Ensemble with Tommi Zender

$214 ($194 members)

10/27/2021 – 12/15/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

A variety of post-punk/new wave, psychedelic, goth, experimental-pop, etc., lovingly curated with emphasis on student requests. CBGB to 4AD; Talking Heads to Radiohead. Similar to the KROQ “Morning Becomes Eclectic” radio show. You don’t want to eat the same thing everyday, do you?!

Folk Songs: Carrying History Forward with Peggy Browning

$188 ($170 members)

10/28/2021 – 12/16/2021 (7 meetings)

Thursdays · 5:30 PM – 6:50 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

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 Ensemble with Tommi Zender

$214 ($194 members)

10/27/2021 – 12/15/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

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!

Class is full — Call 773.728.6000 for waiting list info

Grateful Dead Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$188 ($170 members)

10/28/2021 – 12/16/2021 (7 meetings)

Thursdays · 7:00 PM – 8:20 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

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

$222 ($202 members)

10/25/2021 – 12/13/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

This class will meet online on Monday, October 25th and Monday, November 1st. It will meet in person beginning the week of November 8th. 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.

History of Rock Ensemble with John Mead

$188 ($170 members)

10/28/2021 – 12/16/2021 (7 meetings)

Thursdays · 8:30 PM – 9:50 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

Play the rock & soul of the late 20th century: 1950s rhythm & blues, 1970s soul, Elvis, Motown, the great American songbook of rock & roll. DRUMMERS BY AUDITION ONLY

Hot Club Repertoire Ensemble with Rick Veras

$214 ($194 members)

10/25/2021 – 12/13/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

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 Session Ensemble with Mike Austin · Jim Conway

$222 ($202 members)

10/25/2021 – 12/13/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

Do you play, sing, or dance to traditional Irish music by yourself? Do you want to gain the confidence to join in with others at sessions? If so, this class is for you. In this welcoming, guided session, we will take the tunes, songs, rhythms, and steps you have learned in your instrument-specific lessons and classes and make music together in a supportive and joyful environment. You will hear new tunes and songs to add to your expanding repertoire. We will also introduce you to session etiquette and share how to best comport oneself at a session here and in Ireland. You can expect stories, jokes, and lots of great music. Come join us!

Jazz Performance Ensemble with Michael Nearpass

$188 ($170 members)

10/28/2021 – 12/16/2021 (7 meetings)

Thursdays · 7:30 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

As the title says, this will be a full jazz ensemble for the serious player. Participants should be able to read music and feel comfortable in improvising over major and minor 2-5-1 chord progressions in all 12 keys. Be prepared to improvise over chord changes in different styles of jazz including standards, bebop, Latin, fusion, etc. 

Jug Band Ensemble with Jonas Friddle

$214 ($194 members)

10/27/2021 – 12/15/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

With roots in the blues, jazz, and ragtime, jug band music includes some of the happiest songs you’ll ever hear. We’ll explore the repertoire, learn musicianship skills, and prepare for a variety of performance opportunities, all in a fun and supportive environment.

Klezmer Music with Marianne Bossert

$206 ($186 members)

10/26/2021 – 12/14/2021 (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.

Latin Music Essentials with Manny Bances

$222 ($202 members)

10/31/2021 – 12/19/2021 (8 meetings)

Sundays · 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

Play the vibrant music of the Latinx experience. Learn about the clave, a concept that gives the music its unique rhythmic structure. Play roots styles like son montuno, mambo, cumbia, rumba, cha cha cha, bugalu, merengue, plena, afrocuban 6/8,bolero and other forms that contribute to the sound of Latin Jazz, Salsa, Latin pop,rock,funk,hip/hop etc.The influence of Jazz and world music will also be explored. Some of the artists we'll cover:The Buena Vista Social Club, Santana, War, Fania All Stars,Manu Chao, Selena, Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente and a host of others. We'll try our hand at arranging music from other sources in a Latin style and stretching our improv chops (descarga). Recommended reading “Salsa Guidebook for Piano and Ensemble” by Rebeca Mauleon (provides a good idea how the music is put together) “Cuba and its Music from the First Drum to the Mambo” by Ned Sublette

Jazz Improv: Listening and Playing with Michael Nearpass

$188 ($170 members)

10/28/2021 – 12/16/2021 (7 meetings)

Thursdays · 6:00 PM – 7:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

Learn to speak the language of jazz, develop your ears and heighten your musicianship. Investigate the chord/scale relationship, turnarounds, voice leading, jazz charts, new scales, and chord substitution. We will listen and analyze tunes in the style of standards, bebop, latin-jazz, blues, modal, and more. Students should be familiar with basic theory, have functional reading skills and a desire to expand one’s musical horizons.

Monday Night Special with Peggy Browning · Mark Mitchell

$222 ($202 members)

10/25/2021 – 12/13/2021 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

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. Let the Monday Night Special shine it's light on you!

Old Time Ensemble with Steve Rosen

$206 ($186 members)

10/27/2021 – 12/15/2021 (8 meetings)

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

Play in a string band with fellow students. You’ll learn a half dozen new fiddle tunes, a humorous song or two, and brush up some old favorites. This is a great class for you if you’ve been studying privately and want to start playing with other people. At the end of the session, put on a concert for fellow students and friends.

Old-Time Revival Ensemble with Jonas Friddle · Anna Jacobson

$222 ($202 members)

10/26/2021 – 12/14/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

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.

Class is full — Call 773.728.6000 for waiting list info

Poets of Pop Ensemble with Bill Brickey

$214 ($194 members)

10/27/2021 – 12/15/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

Look what happened while rock and blues were sleeping! Explore the music of some of todays most lyrical and eloquent pop artists in an ensemble setting with singer songwriter Bill Brickey. Pop music is a genre once unique to the American music scene. In this class guitarists, bassists, drummers, and singers "band" together to discover how blues, folk, and rock classics have been combined to create the thing we call pop music.

Punk Ensemble with Shelley Miller

$214 ($194 members)

10/30/2021 – 12/18/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 2:30 PM – 3:50 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

From the pop-punk and emo of the early aughts, to folk-punk, garage-punk, queercore and DIY punk scenes around the world, punk in the new millennium has continued to grow and evolve to express the spirit of the day. We'll take a deep dive into the last 20 years of punk, from well-known artists like Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy to lesser known or emerging artists like Downtown Boys and Le Butcherettes. We'll also take a look at a few punk songs from around the world. Our set list is built primarily from student requests. Class concludes with a performance at the end of the session.

Rockabilly Ensemble with Jacob Sweet

$206 ($186 members)

10/26/2021 – 12/14/2021 (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.

Soul Ensemble with Bill Brickey · Alton Smith

$194 ($177 members)

10/28/2021 – 12/16/2021 (7 meetings)

Thursdays · 7:00 PM – 8:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

The Soul Ensemble is back!! Step into the groove with us as we sing and play 20th AND 21st Century soul tunes from the 60s and 70s all the way to 2021 -- from classic Motown, Memphis, Philly, and Chicago soul to songs by contemporary artists such as Yola, Black Pumas, Allison Russell and The War and Treaty.

Tom Petty Songbook Ensemble with John Mead

$214 ($194 members)

10/26/2021 – 12/14/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · In-Person @909 W Armitage Ave

Dive deep into the catalog of one of our great rockers, from the 70s to the 21st century. For voices and all instruments. Proficiency strongly recommended. NO PERFORMANCE DRUMMERS BY AUDITION ONLY DRUM CHAIR Filled for Session 5

Twin Cities Ensemble with Shelley Miller

$214 ($194 members)

10/31/2021 – 12/19/2021 (8 meetings)

Sundays · 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM · In-Person @4544 N Lincoln Ave

Join us for a rockin' 8 week trip through the Twin Cities' rich musical history. In this genre-hopping class, we'll learn songs by Prince, The Replacements, Husker Du, Babes in Toyland, The Jayhawks, Soul Asylum, and more--a mix of high energy, sweet harmony and riffs for days. Gain experience and confidence playing/singing with a band, learn the basics of live sound and, as a group, polish up an 8-12 song set for an end-of-session online performance. Ensembles are a great way to take your skills to the next level, meet like-minded musicians and learn songs by some of your favorite bands.

Women’s Acoustic Songbook with Paula McKernan

$187 ($170 members)

11/03/2021 – 12/15/2021 (7 meetings)

Wednesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

Celebrate the vast catalog of female songwriters and musicians (old and new) by playing their songs! All instruments, genres, and musicians of all genders welcome. Put some sass in your songbag, take a solo, create our own thick acoustic and vocal arrangements. Learn songstress chord voicings, vary strums, fingerpick, and encourage your musicality through an approachable, ensemble experience. Listen to a playlist from last few sessions and more here.