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Teachers at the Old Town School

Catherine Norden

Piano, Guitar, Theatre, Music Theory

Pop, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Folk, and More

Catherine has the great good fortune to be part of the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Frank Hamilton – Steve Levitt teacher lineage.  She was the department chair for the kids’ group piano program at the Old Town School of Folk Music, when such a thing existed, and she has been on Frank’s Faculty since the inception of the group of teachers who have dedicated their artistic lives to building and fostering community in the school. She serves on the editing team for the Old Town School of Folk Music songbook.

In addition to piano, guitar, and singing, at various points Catherine has also played
bass, drums, sousaphone, banjo, and viola. Favorite musical endeavors include
supporting roles in The Snow Queen at Victory Gardens Theatre, the Buzzkills, the
Marching Illini, and the Nightflecks, and producing the Schoolhouse Rock concert, a
faculty-led showcase.  Her current main project is Catherine Norden and Her Heroes.  
In piano lessons, Catherine's students develop reading skills and understanding of
music theory, as well as accompaniment while singing, ear training, and improvisation
across all musical genres.  Her guitar classes include learning plenty of rock and roll
with blues, jazz, soul, and folk inflections.  The ensembles she teaches are purely for
love of the style. Past and present ensembles include her favorites Neil Young, Elton
John, the Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson, Todd Rundgren, Fleetwood Mac, Mellow Gold,
Frank Zappa, the Monkees, and Steely Dan. She is the musical director for the Musical
Theatre Ensemble, teaching this showcase-based class with Incredible Teachers Mary
Peterson and Jeff Gandy. The music theory curriculum she developed and teaches is
completely unique, thorough, immediately useful, and fun.
In addition to teaching students at the Old Town School of Folk Music and around the
country, Catherine is raising two children, practicing and singing every day, trying to
hone her jazz chops, and coaxing her music theory book into existence.

Education: B.A. University of Illinois
J.D. The John Marshall Law School

Started at the Old Town School in August of 2001


Group Classes for the session beginning 01/03/2022

Extended Play: Cathy Norden with Catherine Norden

$206 ($186 members)

01/04/2022 – 02/22/2022 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Guitar 4Ever with Catherine Norden

$206 ($186 members)

01/06/2022 – 02/24/2022 (8 meetings)

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


Group Classes for the session beginning 02/28/2022

Guitar 1 with Catherine Norden

GUITAR 1: SKILLS Your musical journey starts here. Learn chords, simple strums and tuning in a fun relaxed group setting. You’ll be introduced to the basic elements of rhythm and harmony that will have you making music in no time! Guitar 1 is for the rank beginner. If you play a little or used to play years ago, challenge yourself and enroll in Guitar 1 Rep. Students leave Guitar 1 with the following: Basic Open Position Chords A D E G C Am Em A7 B7 D7 E7 G7 A sense of playing single notes...a few licks Essential Boom Chicka Strums in 4/4 and 3/4 I IV V tunes in A D G and E A solid sense on how to read a Lead Sheet The desire to keep playing.

$214 ($194 members)

02/28/2022 – 04/18/2022 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 10:00 AM – 11:20 AM · Online

Continuing Music Theory with Catherine Norden

Deepen your understanding of how music works while improving your ability to communicate musically! We will work on recognizing and applying harmony, ear training, sight-reading and rhythm. For students who have taken Beginning Music Theory, another introductory music theory course, or guitar fingerboard theory.

$206 ($186 members)

02/28/2022 – 04/18/2022 (8 meetings)

Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

Extended Play: Guitar with Catherine Norden

The Extended Play class serves a group of students who have gathered together around a particular teacher to continue study of the guitar. Each section is specific to that teacher. New comers are of course always welcome. It is suggested that they possess skills of Guitar 3 rep proficiency.

$214 ($194 members)

03/01/2022 – 04/19/2022 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online