Teachers at the Old Town School

Matt Brown

Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar

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 Richard Amoroso, and old-time music with Brad Leftwich, Bruce Molsky, Paul Brown, Ginny Hawker, and Tracy Schwarz. He has appeared at 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. Matt's latest releases include "Speed of the Plow" with guitarist Greg Reish and "Keep Me Waiting" with the Chicago band Big Sadie. He 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.

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

Started at the Old Town School in September of 2011

Upcoming Workshops

Sat. December 16, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Christmas Carols for Banjo »

Learn how to play several Christmas carols on the banjo. Tab will be provided, all styles of picking the 5-string banjo will be welcome. Requests are welcome ~ please email Matt a week in advance to submit your ideas!

Open to AllProgram: Banjo

$25 ($24 members)

REGISTER NOW

Private Lessons in the 8-week session beginning 10/30/2017

Mondays 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Tuesdays 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Tuesdays 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Wednesdays 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Wednesdays 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Sundays 10:30 am – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave

Private Lessons in the 8-week session beginning 01/08/2018

Mondays 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Tuesdays 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Wednesdays 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Wednesdays 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Sundays 10:30 am – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave

Group Classes for the session beginning 01/08/2018

Two-Finger Banjo 3 with Matt Brown
$202 ($192 members)
for 8 weeks
01/08/2018 – 02/26/2018Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4545 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Introduction to the Violin/Fiddle with Matt Brown
$202 ($192 members)
for 8 weeks
01/08/2018 – 02/26/2018Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM4545 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Introduction to the Banjo with Matt Brown
$202 ($192 members)
for 8 weeks
01/09/2018 – 02/27/2018Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4544 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
21st Century Banjo Repertoire: Mumford & Sons with Matt Brown
To explore the music of this GRAMMY-winning British band, we will strive to learn one song from each of their three studio albums.
$202 ($192 members)
for 8 weeks
01/09/2018 – 02/27/2018Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM4544 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000