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


Private Lessons in the 8-week session beginning 03/05/2018

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 – 6:15 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Thursdays 3:00 pm – 7:30 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave
Sundays 10:30 am – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave

Private Lessons in the 8-week session beginning 04/30/2018

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 – 6:15 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Thursdays 3:00 pm – 7:30 pm at 4544 N Lincoln Ave
Sundays 10:30 am – 5:00 pm at 4545 N Lincoln Ave

Group Classes for the session beginning 04/30/2018

Two-Finger Banjo 1 with Matt Brown
$177 ($168 members)
for 7 weeks
04/30/2018 – 06/18/2018Mondays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4545 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Fiddle 1 Repertoire with Matt Brown
$177 ($168 members)
for 7 weeks
04/30/2018 – 06/18/2018Mondays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM4545 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Introduction to the Banjo with Matt Brown
$202 ($192 members)
for 8 weeks
05/01/2018 – 06/19/2018Tuesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4544 N Lincoln AveClass is full — Call 773.728.6000 for waiting list info
21st Century Banjo Repertoire: I’m With Her with Matt Brown
In this session, we'll learn several of the songs from See You Around, the eagerly awaited debut album from I'm With Her, the folk super-trio comprised of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan.
$202 ($192 members)
for 8 weeks
05/01/2018 – 06/19/2018Tuesdays · 8:00 PM – 9:20 PM4544 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Two-Finger Banjo 2 with Matt Brown
$202 ($192 members)
for 8 weeks
05/02/2018 – 06/20/2018Wednesdays · 6:30 PM – 7:50 PM4544 N Lincoln AveREGISTER NOW
Introduction to the Violin/Fiddle with Matt Brown
$202 ($192 members)
for 8 weeks
05/02/2018 – 06/20/2018Wednesdays · 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