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

$210 ($190 members)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (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.

‘80s Pop Metal with Dan Fulkerson

$206 ($186 members)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (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.

New Americana Ensemble with Alton Smith

$210 ($190 members)

10/26/2020 – 12/14/2020 (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!

Movie Soundtrack Ensemble with Dan Fulkerson

$210 ($190 members)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

So many movie soundtracks are full of terrific songs we’ve decided to offer an ensemble class to learn tunes from various soundtracks. Session 6: Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2 has an amazing list of hit songs. From Joan Jett to The Jackson 5. ELO to Blue Suede to Redbone. There are so many hit songs from your favorite artists. Even if you haven't seen the movies, you'll respect the songs that were chosen as the best songs of the seventies music style. It will certainly be fun learning the songs from this successful marvel franchise. You'll be "Hooked on a Feeling" joining this fun class. Let's "Go All the Way" and sign up now!

Beatles Acoustic with Tommi Zender

$210 ($190 members)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (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

$184 ($166 members)

10/29/2020 – 12/17/2020 (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

$184 ($166 members)

10/30/2020 – 12/18/2020 (7 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. Sessions 6: Christmastime and Rarities

Beginning String Band Ensemble with Colby Maddox · Dan Mulvihill

$189 ($172 members)

10/29/2020 – 12/17/2020 (7 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

$206 ($186 members)

10/31/2020 – 12/19/2020 (8 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.

Bluegrass Ensemble with Colby Maddox · John Huber

$222 ($202 members)

10/26/2020 – 12/14/2020 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

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.

Classic Album Ensemble with Charles Kim

$210 ($190 members)

10/31/2020 – 12/19/2020 (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 Session 5 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

$206 ($186 members)

10/28/2020 – 12/16/2020 (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)

10/31/2020 – 12/19/2020 (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

$216 ($196 members)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (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)

10/28/2020 – 12/16/2020 (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.

Decemberists Songbook with Andrea Bunch · Randy Morris

$210 ($190 members)

10/26/2020 – 12/14/2020 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

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

$184 ($166 members)

10/29/2020 – 12/17/2020 (7 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)

10/28/2020 – 12/16/2020 (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! Session 5: Laurel Canyon

Grateful Dead Ensemble with Steve Levitt

$184 ($166 members)

10/29/2020 – 12/17/2020 (7 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.

Hot Club Repertoire with Rick Veras

$99 ($89 members)

10/26/2020 – 11/16/2020 (4 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)

10/31/2020 – 12/19/2020 (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

$180 ($163 members)

10/29/2020 – 12/17/2020 (7 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.

John Prine Songbook with Bob Goins · Ed Holstein

$206 ($186 members)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

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. Join the multitalented Bob Goins and Chicago’s folk icon Ed Holstein for songs and stories to celebrate one of America’s most prolific songwriters John Prine.

Jug Band Ensemble with Jonas Friddle

$210 ($190 members)

10/28/2020 – 12/16/2020 (8 meetings)

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

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)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (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.

Listening to Jazz with Michael Nearpass

$180 ($163 members)

10/29/2020 – 12/17/2020 (7 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.

Lunar Ensemble: Little Feat “The Last Record Album” with Steve Levitt

$210 ($190 members)

10/26/2020 – 12/14/2020 (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.

Monday Night Special with Peggy Browning · Mark Mitchell

$216 ($196 members)

10/26/2020 – 12/14/2020 (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)

10/31/2020 – 12/19/2020 (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 Ensemble with Steve Rosen

$222 ($202 members)

10/28/2020 – 12/16/2020 (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)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (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.

Poets of Pop Ensemble with Bill Brickey

$210 ($190 members)

10/28/2020 – 12/16/2020 (8 meetings)

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

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.

Rock & Soul Revue! Ensemble with John Mead

$150 ($130 members)

10/29/2020 – 12/17/2020 (7 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?

Radiohead Ensemble with John Mead

$150.50 ($130.50 members)

10/29/2020 – 12/17/2020 (7 meetings)

Thursdays · 7:45 PM – 8:45 PM · In-Person @4545 N Lincoln Ave

Learn the prog rock, post-punk angst, eerie electronic textures, and assured songwriting of this forward thinking Oxford quintet. Play songs from Ok Computer, Amnesiac, and In Rainbows and others. Don’t be a “Creep,” get in your “Stupid Car” and join this class you won’t be “Let Down” or left “High & Dry.” Open to instruments electric and acoustic.

Class is full — Call 773.728.6000 for waiting list info

Rockabilly Ensemble with Jacob Sweet

$210 ($190 members)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (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.

Willie Nelson Acoustic Songbook with Chris Corsale

$99 ($89 members)

11/24/2020 – 12/15/2020 (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.

Contemporary Acoustic Songbook with Deanna Devore

$181 ($161 members)

10/27/2020 – 12/15/2020 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

Learn songs from singer-songwriters/acoustic bands from the last 20 years... Expect the usual suspects and some unknowns. Suggestions encouraged.