classes                        & workshops


Acoustic workshop focuses on songwriting, finger-picking and harmony May 11 in Lombard IL

The Plank Road Folk Music Society will present “Articulation:a workshop with Mark Dvorak” at the First Church of Lombard, 220 S. Main Street on Saturday, May 11 at 1:00 pm.


“My goal for the workshop,” said Dvorak, who is a distinguished teaching artist at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, “is to explore critical elements in composing, songwriting and arranging. We'll cover the basics of finger-picking guitar, examine chord structure and the use of melody, harmony  and language in songwriting.”

“In learning any instrument, or learning to sing well,” he added, “we invariably hit a plateau where are skills stay at a certain level. That’s the time to examine more deeply what really goes into making acoustic music that is in tune, on time and more whole. Those who attend should bring their instruments, their questions and be ready t0 go to work.”

Admission to workshop is $30 for the general public, $20 for Plank Road members. Those interested can become members upon registration. Those who play an instrument other than guitar are welcome to attend.

Those with specific questions about the workshop content can contact Mark Dvorak at Learn more about the Plank Road Folk Music Society at Visit Mark Dvorak on the web at

Read the entire article here.

Acoustic Blues Clinic : Piedmont, Delta & Chicago

Friday June 21 • 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

OLD TOWN SCHOOL of FOLK MUSIC • 4545 N. Lincoln Avenue • Chicago

$120 ($100 for members) • 773 728 6000 •  More information and registration here •

Spend a day at the Old Town School learning new techniques, tips and rhythms from three seasoned blues artists. Grab your steel string guitar and slide and learn to enhance your playing with personal style. Participants will be assigned to 3 hands-on groups that will each experience the three artists. Students should have some experience with fingerpicking.


Jon will teach you a variety of bass riffs, turnarounds, rhythmic patterns, songforms and chord progressions that capture the bouncy ragtime influence heard in Piedmont Blues. Jon Shain is a Piedmont Blues fingerpicker and teacher from North Carolina that took 1st place in the 2019 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Category in Memphis.


Donna will show you how to capture the essence of Mississippi Delta Blues through slide guitar syncopations, dead thumb technique and classic riffs and licks of bluesmen Robert Johnson, Bukka White and Mississippi Fred McDowell. She will also demonstrate how you can achieve a highly rhythmic and percussive Delta Blues sound by using right- and left-hand dampening techniques and simple chords in Open G Tuning. Acoustic Guitar Magazine named Donna one of the Top 10 Up and Coming Resonator Guitar Players.


Learn to play guitar like Big Bill Broonzy -- who was known for his strong pulsating bass thumb and melodic lead lines. From country blues, folk, spirituals, and ragtime to a more urban sound – Broonzy played an influential role in post war Chicago Blues and also in the history of the OTSFM. Join Mark, Chicago’s Official Troubadour, as he teaches signature tunes and techniques that make the Broonzy style unique and popular.

New Old Town School of Folk Music Classes begin Tuesday April 30

Guitar 4Ever

Tuesdays • Beginning April 30 • 8:00 pm • 8 weeks • Old Town School of Folk Music • 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue • Chicago IL • 773 728 6000.

You are welcome here. We work at learning the fret board, finger picking, some theory and we like to sing together. We explore the timeless voice of the acoustic guitar which folks like us have been using to express ourselves through all the ups and downs of living since anyone can remember. Can you remember? You know what? I hope you'll come with us.

Cost $202 ($192 members)  Information, discounts and enrollment at


Thursday Special Folk Jam

Every Thursday, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm - FREE                                

The Old Town School of Folk Music's weekly jam. All are welcome, all are invited to join faculty, students, visitors and passers by for a memorable, musical evening. No enrollment necessary. Walk in, join in. 

Old Town School of Folk Music, 4545 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. Learn more at

Stay in touch • info AT • PO Box 181 • Brookfield IL 60513 • 312 315 4273