Teachers at the Old Town School

Tommi Zender

Guitar, Ensembles

Tommi Zender is a Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, producer/arranger, and teacher with over 30 years experience. As a guitarist, Zender is well versed in most electric and acoustic styles (finger styles ranging from Nick Drake to The Beatles, hybrid picking, funk/R&B, all hard and soft types of rock & roll). He has released three albums of original music, and played on numerous others, including music tributes LP's paying homage to Roxy Music/Brian Eno, Squeeze, Jellyfish, Aimee Mann, & Michael Penn. Zender performs regularly as a solo artist, with Phil Angotti Band (guitars, vocals, drums), the art-rock group Razorhouse (guitars, vocals, effects) and he often accompanies many singer-songwriters in Chicago, including many Old Town School teaching artists.

Now that all that "justify your musical existence" stuff is out of the way, it should be pointed out that Tommi loves teaching music, and he takes special care to provide a fun challenging communal learning experience. He teaches at Old Town School currently on Tuesdays (909 West Armitage) and Wednesdays and Sundays (Lincoln Square), and he visits as a substitute teacher other days for core Guitar, Theory, Songwriting and ensemble classes. His ongoing ensemble classes include Eclectic Electric Ensemble, Beyond Guitar 3, Folk-Rock Acoustic and Beatles Acoustic ensemble. Zender also presents seasonal Beatles Socials and "Fretboard Geography" workshops at the School.

Education: Education: BA in Music Studies, Columbia College, Chicago 1993

Started at the Old Town School in February of 2011

Upcoming Workshops

Early Winter Beatles Songbag w/Tommi Zender


$20 ($18 members)

Fri. December 11, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM · Online

Group Classes for the session beginning 01/04/2021

Beatles Acoustic with Tommi Zender

Learn acoustic arrangements from the Fab Four’s catalog! Explore the songs, singing, and signature riffs, along with occasional post-Beatles solo tunes thrown in for good measure. Come join the class… we will work it out! Session 6: All Paul

$210 ($190 members)

01/05/2021 – 02/23/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

Guitar 4Ever with Tommi Zender

$206 ($186 members)

01/05/2021 – 02/23/2021 (8 meetings)

Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Creative Scale Practice 1 with Tommi Zender

$160 ($140 members)

01/06/2021 – 02/24/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM · Online

Folk-Rock Acoustic with Tommi Zender

Work on licks, harmonies, arrangements and more. Session Laurel Canyon Part 2

$210 ($190 members)

01/06/2021 – 02/24/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM · Online

British Rock Acoustic with Tommi Zender

"We’ll shuffle play classic ’60’s ’70’s and 80’s songs from across the pond.

$206 ($186 members)

01/06/2021 – 02/24/2021 (8 meetings)

Wednesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM · Online

Neil Young Acoustic Songbook with Tommi Zender

$206 ($186 members)

01/09/2021 – 02/27/2021 (8 meetings)

Saturdays · 1:00 PM – 2:20 PM · Online