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 with Mike Snider on the Grand Ole Opry. Matt has released five albums, including My Native Home, which features collaborations with Tim O’Brien, Ben Krakauer, Brittany Haas, and Mark Schatz. Matt's latest album, Speed of the Plow, comprises old-time fiddle and guitar duets with Greg Reish. He has taught at The Colorado Suzuki Institute, The Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, The Swannanoa Gathering, and Southern Week at Ashokan, and has taught workshops at Berklee College of Music and Morehead State University.

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. September 23, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Honky-Tonk Fiddle »

Learn the secrets of honky-tonk fiddling by dissecting an iconic fiddle solo from a legendary recording and discussing the elements one can use to improvise solos on country songs!

IntermediateProgram: Fiddle & Cello

$25 ($24 members)

REGISTER NOW
Sat. October 14, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Round Peak Clawhammer Banjo »

This workshop will introduce you to the wonders of the Round Peak style of clawhammer banjo playing which is associated with Charlie Lowe, Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Dick Freeman, Kyle Creed, and younger players such as Paul Brown, Riley Baugus, and Dirk Powell.

AdvancedProgram: Banjo

$25 ($24 members)

REGISTER NOW
Sat. October 28, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Bowing 747: Ed Haley »

We'll learn a tune (replete with bowing) from virtuosic fiddler Ed Haley (1885-1951), and listen to several of his other tunes, including tunes that he composed. Haley was born in West Virginia and lived out his life in Kentucky. He was a prolific musician, and as a blind man, music was one of the few careers open to him and his wife.

AdvancedProgram: Fiddle & Cello

$25 ($24 members)

REGISTER NOW
Sat. November 18, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM · 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Honky-Tonk Fiddle »

Learn the secrets of honky-tonk fiddling by dissecting an iconic fiddle solo from a legendary recording and discussing the elements one can use to improvise solos on country songs.

IntermediateProgram: Fiddle & Cello

$25 ($24 members)

REGISTER NOW
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 09/04/2017

Mondays 11:15 am – 12:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Mondays 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Mondays 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Tuesdays 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Wednesdays 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Wednesdays 8:00 pm – 9:15 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Saturdays 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Sundays 10:30 am – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave

Group Classes for the session beginning 09/04/2017

Two-Finger Banjo 1 with Matt Brown
$147 ($140 members)
for 6 weeks
09/11/2017 – 10/23/2017Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4545 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Introduction to the Banjo with Matt Brown
$172 ($163 members)
for 7 weeks
09/12/2017 – 10/24/2017Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4544 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW

Group Classes for the session beginning 10/30/2017

Two-Finger Banjo 2 with Matt Brown
$196 ($186 members)
for 8 weeks
10/30/2017 – 12/18/2017Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4545 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Introduction to the Violin/Fiddle with Matt Brown
$196 ($186 members)
for 8 weeks
10/30/2017 – 12/18/2017Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM4545 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Introduction to the Banjo with Matt Brown
$196 ($186 members)
for 8 weeks
10/31/2017 – 12/19/2017Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4544 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
21st Century Banjo Repertoire: Milk Carton Kids with Matt Brown
To explore the music of this GRAMMY-nominated guitar & vocal duo, we will learn songs like "Michigan," "Girls Gather Round," and "Charlie."
$196 ($186 members)
for 8 weeks
10/31/2017 – 12/19/2017Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM4544 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Early Country Guitar 2 with Matt Brown
$196 ($186 members)
for 8 weeks
11/01/2017 – 12/20/2017Wednesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4544 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW

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