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.

Drummers are encouraged to bring their own cymbals and snare. Vocalists are encouraged to bring their own microphone and microphone stand. Electric guitar players are to bring a small, 10 Watt practice amp. Banjo players are encouraged to bring tuners.

Many ensemble classes conclude with a public performance either in the confines of the School or at a local venue. Please be advised if an ensemble choses to perform it will generally happen the last weekend of the class or the following week.

Class Schedules and Availability

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New Americana Ensemble with Alton Smith

$181 ($161 members)

06/29/2020 – 08/10/2020 (7 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online Classes Available

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!

Movie Soundtrack Ensemble with Dan Fulkerson

$181 ($161 members)

06/30/2020 – 08/11/2020 (7 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online Classes Available

So many movie soundtracks are full of terrific songs we’ve decided to offer an ensemble class to learn tunes from various soundtracks. Session 4: Dazed and Confused

Beatles Acoustic Ensemble with Tommi Zender

$181 ($161 members)

06/30/2020 – 08/11/2020 (7 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online Classes Available

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 4 ‘70s Solo Recordings

Beatles for Beginners with Charles Kim

$181 ($161 members)

07/02/2020 – 08/13/2020 (7 meetings)

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

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

$181 ($161 members)

07/03/2020 – 08/14/2020 (7 meetings)

Fridays · 12:00 PM – 1:20 PM · Online Classes Available

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. Session 4 Let It Be

Beatles Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$181 ($161 members)

07/01/2020 – 08/12/2020 (7 meetings)

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

The Beatles Ensemble begin another journey through the American releases - many of which differ significantly from their British counterparts. Performance oriented. We learn the entire album and perform it Session 4 Let It Be

Beginning String Band Ensemble with Colby Maddox · Dan Mulvihill

$189 ($169 members)

07/02/2020 – 08/13/2020 (7 meetings)

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

An introduction to string band music. This class covers a variety of styles and is paced for students who have finished with the introductory courses in their instrument. Simple arrangements that different instruments can play together will be the focus. Come all fiddles, banjos, mandolins, guitars, and the like and experience the diverse worlds of the acoustic string band. Students can repeat this class multiple times in order to prepare for jamming with others around the campfire, living room, barroom or joining one of Old Town's specialty ensembles.

Bluegrass Ensemble with Colby Maddox · John Huber

$189 ($169 members)

06/29/2020 – 08/10/2020 (7 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online Classes Available

In Bluegrass Ensemble, learn the basics of playing and singing for bluegrass. You’ll learn about kick-offs and endings, and what to play behind verses, choruses, and solo breaks in bluegrass songs. You’ll also learn the basics of singing lead and harmony. Take a pass at a solo while the class backs you up. This class is a great experience in and of itself, but also equips you with the essesntials to go out into the larger bluegrass community to play at jams and other circles.

Classic Album Ensemble with Charles Kim

$155 ($138 members)

07/11/2020 – 08/15/2020 (6 meetings)

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

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 Session 4 The Classic Album Ensemble plays from a weekly rotation of their favorite album tracksin a Zoom-friendly, back-to-basics summer class! We're loading up the jukebox with Bowie's "Ashes To Ashes", The Kinks 'Lola', Iggy Pop's The Passenger' and more! Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass and keyboards welcome.

‘60s Classics Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$181 ($161 members)

07/01/2020 – 08/12/2020 (7 meetings)

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

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

$155 ($138 members)

07/11/2020 – 08/15/2020 (6 meetings)

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

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.

Classic Country Ensemble with Alton Smith · Steve Dawson

$189 ($172 members)

07/05/2020 – 08/16/2020 (7 meetings)

Sundays · 3:30 PM – 4:50 PM · Online Classes Available

George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Charlie Rich, Tammy Wynette, Buck Owens, Tom T. Hall, and many more from country music's golden era (including classic duets!)."

Modern Country Ensemble with Jacob Sweet

$181 ($161 members)

06/30/2020 – 08/11/2020 (7 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online Classes Available

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

$181 ($161 members)

07/01/2020 – 08/12/2020 (7 meetings)

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

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.

Decemberists Songbook with Andrea Bunch

$181 ($161 members)

06/29/2020 – 08/10/2020 (7 meetings)

Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online Classes Available

Come play the whimsical, melodic, modern Americana of the Decemberists. Colin Meloy's indie folk songs are a joy to play and sing. All instruments/ singers and newbies are welcome. Class may include reenactments of sea battles.

Folk Songs: Carrying History Forward with Peggy Browning

$181 ($161 members)

07/02/2020 – 08/13/2020 (7 meetings)

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

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. In class we'll explore the music of Hazel Dickens, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Jean Ritchie and more. It's a way of learning, not just a song.

Folk-Rock Acoustic Ensemble with Tommi Zender

$181 ($161 members)

07/01/2020 – 08/12/2020 (7 meetings)

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

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! Session 4: Neil Young

Grateful Dead Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$181 ($161 members)

07/02/2020 – 08/13/2020 (7 meetings)

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

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.

Beginning Jazz Lab with Michael Nearpass

$140 ($120 members)

07/02/2020 – 08/13/2020 (7 meetings)

Thursdays · 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM · Online Classes Available

Develop the basic building blocks to improvise in the jazz idiom. Work collectively on Major, Dorian, Blues, and Dominant Bebop scales, arpeggios and basic jazz vocabulary. Among the tunes presented for study: “Impressions,” “Little Sunflower,” “Watermelon Man,” “Summertime,” and more.

Jazz Improv 1 with Michael Nearpass

$181 ($161 members)

07/02/2020 – 08/13/2020 (7 meetings)

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

Practice Jazz Improvisation over Blues and Jazz Standards. Increase vocabulary of Major, Dorian, Blues and Dominant Scale Choices in all 12 keys. The II-V-! Chord Progression will be discussed at length. Play with and analyze Jazz Transcriptions from the masters Build your improv skills and then show off your chops in a final night performance. You should be familiar with basic jazz theory and able to read music.

Jazz Improv 2 with Michael Nearpass

$181 ($161 members)

07/02/2020 – 08/13/2020 (7 meetings)

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

This class will prepare you to hit the bandstand and play with others. Material will alternate each 8 week session. American Standards, Bebop, Cool Jazz, etc. Learn the tunes and blow over them in a fun relaxed setting.

John Prine Songbook with Bob Goins · Ed Holstein

$189 ($169 members)

06/30/2020 – 08/11/2020 (7 meetings)

Tuesdays · 5:00 PM – 6:20 PM · Online Classes Available

A favorite son and alumnus of the Old Town School, John authored one of the most remarkable songbooks in popular music. Come recreate and celebrate countless gems like “Illegal Smile,” “Angel From Montgomery,” “In Spite of Ourselves” and many more in this eight-week journey. John the multitalented Bob Goins and Chicago’s folk icon Ed Holsein for songs and stories to celebrate the one of America’s most prolific songwriters John Prine.

Jug Band Ensemble with Jonas Friddle

$181 ($161 members)

07/01/2020 – 08/12/2020 (7 meetings)

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

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.

Live From Wrigley Field Ensemble with Dan Fulkerson

$181 ($161 members)

06/30/2020 – 08/11/2020 (7 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online Classes Available

For Sessions 3 & 4 this baseball season, Dan Fulkerson will offer rock ensemble classes based on bands that will perform at Wrigley Field in 2020. For Session 3 we’re looking at Weezer, Fallout Boy and Green Day. Later in the Summer, hair bands: Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett.

Lunar Ensemble: with Steve Levitt

$181 ($161 members)

06/29/2020 – 08/10/2020 (7 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online Classes Available

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 perform them. We will concentrate on a particular genre, artist, or album each session. Session 3: Sweetheart of the Rodeo by the Byrds, arguably THE seminal record of Country Rock

Mellow Gold Songbook with Catherine Norden · Steve Dawson

$189 ($169 members)

06/29/2020 – 08/10/2020 (7 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online Classes Available

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

$189 ($169 members)

06/29/2020 – 08/10/2020 (7 meetings)

Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online Classes Available

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

$181 ($161 members)

07/01/2020 – 08/12/2020 (7 meetings)

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

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

$189 ($169 members)

06/30/2020 – 08/11/2020 (7 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online Classes Available

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

$181 ($161 members)

07/01/2020 – 08/12/2020 (7 meetings)

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

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.

Pop Divas Ensemble with Andrea Bunch

$181 ($161 members)

07/05/2020 – 08/16/2020 (7 meetings)

Sundays · 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM · Online Classes Available

A class for instruments and SINGERS. Rhythm and harmony. Learn and live 50 years of groove and drama: Amy Winehouse, Amy Ray, Sade, Aretha, En Vogue, Lucinda Williams, Beyonce, Ruth Brown, KT Tunstall, and more. A lot more. And who knows? Maybe Michael and Prince.

Rockabilly Ensemble with Jacob Sweet

$181 ($161 members)

06/30/2020 – 08/11/2020 (7 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online Classes Available

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.

The ‘80s Ensemble with Andrea Bunch

$181 ($161 members)

06/30/2020 – 08/11/2020 (7 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online Classes Available

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.

Songs By Women Acoustic Songbook with Paula McKernan

$140 ($120 members)

06/29/2020 – 08/10/2020 (7 meetings)

Mondays · 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM · Online Classes Available

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 Spotify playlist of songs from the last few sessions here.

Klezmer Music ONLINE with Marianne Bossert

$181 ($161 members)

06/30/2020 – 08/11/2020 (7 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online Classes Available

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.