Old Town School of Folk Music

Old Town School Of Folk Music

Old Town School of Folk Music

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The Old Town School of Folk Music is a Chicago teaching and performing institution that launched the careers of many notable folk music artists. Founded by Folk musicians Frank Hamilton and Win Stracke, the School opened in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago in 1957 at 333 West North Avenue (the original location has since been demolished & replaced by a non-descript strip mall with the same address), offering guitar and banjo lessons in a communal teaching style and hosting performances by well-known folk musicians. Currently the school is led by executive director Bau Graves and has an enrollment of about 6,000 students per week, 2,700 of them children.



The Old Town School was originally founded by musicians Win Stracke and Frank Hamilton and opened December 1, 1957. Win was a classically trained singer and Frank was a young multi-instrumentalist and teacher of folk music; Frank had previously studied under Bess Lomax Hawes, daughter of folklorist John Lomax. Win and Frank met at the Gate of Horn nightclub in Chicago where they were both performing. Together Frank and Win developed a classroom technique based upon traditional oral and folk teaching methods: listening, watching, trial and error, and playing by ear. Where other music schools taught sight reading and performance, Win and Frank wanted the Old Town School "method" to retain its emphasis on...
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