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Teachers at the Old Town School

Mary Peterson

Theater, Guitar, Wiggleworms Program, School Partnerships

Recipient of the Old Town School of Folk Music's 2016 Distinguished Teaching Artist Award

Mary is a talented and enthusiastic teacher, known for her patience, communication skills and her ability to understand and assist students. She wants her students to have a great time, to learn something, and to share her joy in the arts.

She teaches adults and children in the guitar and theater program. She teaches group classes as well as private lessons.

GUITAR: Mary is a skilled teacher who specializes in beginning, reluctant and frightened guitar students and is especially happy to work with students who wish to begin studying guitar again. She is calm, patient, and encouraging and aims to create a peaceful, enjoyable space in which students can learn.

THEATER: She is a veteran stage performer and is delighted to help people with performance aspirations. She coaches students who want to audition for performance schools and can assist them in finding the right monologues and music. She also works with students who have long had the desire to perform on the stage but have never had the chance try it on for size. Mary’s children’s classes are fun, playful and educational.


“Mary is a fantastic teacher! Laid back, funny, she reassures us that even though we are frustrated right now at our playing ability, that if we just keep at it we will improve, and it will get easier. This is the most fun I have had in a guitar class so far, and I love how you get us all to sing! Every other class I have been in has been so quiet. You are a blast, and I am having a great time.”

“Mary is the best guitar teacher EVER because she doesn't let you take yourself too seriously when learning guitar. She teaches you that it's OK to love making music even if you don't have an ounce of natural talent (key in my case), but she plays and sings so beautifully that you can't help but want to try.”

“Mary is a natural born teacher. Also, she is funny. And that counts for a lot, in dating & relationships as well as guitar teaching. She creates a sense of a family with the class. Our Tuesday night class seems like such a family because she has helped all of us assimilate with one another.”
- Monica

“I introduced myself to Mary during a break. You see, I was shopping for a teacher, because I was extremely frustrated with this six string devil. I had seen the enthusiasm Mary displays at school. Also I saw how the class reacts to her. I was determined to sign up for her next class. Mary displays enjoyment for what she does. I don’t know if I’m getting any better, but I know I’m enjoying our class. It keeps me coming each week.”
- David

Get in touch with Mary at mpeterson@oldtownschool.org.

Education: BA Theatre, University of Minnesota;
MFA Theatre, Goodman School at DePaul University

Started at the Old Town School in December of 1990