Teachers at the Old Town School

Matt Brown

Styles - Old-Time, Bluegrass, Early Country

Matt teaches traditional music the way he learned it, in a call-and-response fashion with strong emphasis placed on the history and context of the music. He believes wholeheartedly in the power of aural learning, and uses tablature and other written methods to reinforce the initial work of passing along the music by ear. This is a method that can be intimidating at first, but it instills the music deeply and results in instant memorization. It also allows us to work immediately on musicianship and expression, since our noses aren't constantly buried in a piece of paper. His classes are fueled by laughter and camaraderie, and they prepare students to play musically socially at the School and beyond.

Thanks to his banjo-playing father, Matt grew up with old-time music. He studied classical violin with Linda Litwin and then Richard Amoroso and old-time music with Brad Leftwich, Bruce Molsky, Paul Brown, Ginny Hawker, and Tracy Schwarz. He has performed at the Station Inn, The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage and the Philadelphia Folk Festival, has toured as a soloist, with Rhythm in Shoes and Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, and has made guest appearances with Tim O'Brien, Della Mae, Uncle Earl, and performed twice with Mike Snider on the Grand Ole Opry. Matt has released five albums under his own name, including My Native Home, which features collaborations with Tim O’Brien, Ben Krakauer, Brittany Haas, and Mark Schatz. More recent releases include Speed of the Plow with guitarist Greg Reish and Keep Me Waiting with the Chicago band Big Sadie.

Matt owns Allograph Records, a label he created to release On Big Shoulders, an album he dreamed up and co-produced with GRAMMY-nominee Liam Davis. On Big Shoulders features 12 Chicago musicians (including several Old Town School teaching artists!). They held their release show on Sunday, December 2nd at the Old Town School, and were joined by Chess Records artist Barbara Carr on two songs. It was a magical night!

Matt has taught at the American Roots Music Program at Rocky Ridge, The Colorado Suzuki Institute, The Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, The Swannanoa Gathering's Old-Time Week, Southern Week at Ashokan, and he has taught workshops at Boston's Berklee College of Music, the Music Institute of Chicago, Music for Youth in Arlington Heights, and Morehead State University in Kentucky. He leads the Old Town School of Folk Music's Fiddle Camp each summer, and it's one of his favorite things to do!

Education: B.A. in Philosophy from West Chester University in West Chester, PA

Started at the Old Town School in September of 2011

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