Chicago’s Old School of Folk Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Chicago’s Old School of Folk Music is a respected institution that has been teaching the art of folk music for generations. If you’re interested in learning more about this genre of music, this is the perfect place to start.

The Old School of Folk Music

The Old School of Folk Music in Chicago was founded in the late 1950s by a group of musicians who were dedicated to preserving the folk music traditions of the American South. The school quickly became a hub for folk music in the Midwest, and its instructors included some of the most renowned folk musicians of the time. The school’s influence can still be felt in the Chicago folk music scene today.

The founding of the Old School of Folk Music

The Old School of Folk Music was founded in 1957 by Frank Hamilton, Win Stracke and George Armstrong. The original idea for the school came about when the three men were working together at the gate of the University of Chicago. They would often see young people walking by and thought that there must be something that could be done to help them learn about music.

The Old School of Folk Music was created with the mission to provide affordable and accessible music education to all who wanted it. The school began with just a few students, but soon grew to become one of the largest and most respected folk music programs in the country. Today, the Old School of Folk Music is still going strong, offering classes and workshops for all levels of students.

The Old School of Folk Music’s influence on American music

The Old School of Folk Music in Chicago was a driving force in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s. The school was founded in 1953 by musicologist Francis Lee, who had been collecting folk songs from around the world. Lee believed that folk music was an important part of American culture and should be preserved and performed.

The school offered classes in folk music, dance, and instrument instruction. It also hosted concerts and other events featuring both local and touring folk musicians. The Old School became a meeting place for folk musicians, who would often congregate there to play and sing together.

Many of the musicians who played at the Old School went on to have successful careers in the folk music scene. Some, like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, became well-known nationally and internationally. Others, like Bernie leadbetter and Mike Seeger, became respected researchers, performers, and teachers of traditional music. TheOld School of Folk Music played a vital role in preserving and promoting American folk music.

The New School of Folk Music

Folk music has been around for centuries, and it’s no surprise that it’s still popular today. The new school of folk music is a revival of the old school, with a modern twist. Chicago’s old school of folk music is the perfect example of this.

The founding of the New School of Folk Music

The New School of Folk Music was founded in Chicago in 1963 by a group of folk music enthusiasts. The school was created to provide a place for people to learn about and enjoy folk music. The school offered classes on folk music history and theory, as well as performances and workshops by some of the most famous folk musicians of the time.

The New School of Folk Music quickly became a popular destination for folk music fans from all over the country. In addition to its classes and performances, the school also played an important role in the development of the Chicago folk music scene. Many of the city’s most popular folk clubs and coffeehouses got their start at the New School, including the Gate of Horn and the Earl of Old Town.

The New School of Folk Music continued to operate until 1970, when it closed its doors due to financial difficulties. Despite its brief existence, the school left a lasting impact on both the Chicago folk music scene and the national folk music community.

The New School of Folk Music’s influence on American music

The New School of Folk Music, founded in Chicago in the early 1960s, had a profound and lasting impact on American music. The school’s founders were influential folk musicians who were committed to making folk music accessible to a wider audience. They did this by teaching folk music to children and adults in a variety of settings, including public schools, community centers, and churches.

The school’s founders believed that folk music could be a powerful force for social change. They used their music to promote peace and understanding between people of different cultures. The New School of Folk Music helped to bridge the gap between the older generation of folk musicians and the younger generation of rock musicians. Many of the school’s alumni went on to have successful careers in rock and roll.

The Future of Folk Music

The Old School of Folk Music in Chicago is a small, but mighty, community of folk musicians who are keeping the tradition alive. The school offers classes for all levels, from beginner to advanced, and also offers private lessons. The school has been around for over 10 years and is well-respected in the folk music community.

The influence of the internet on folk music

The internet has played a major role in the evolution of folk music. In the past, folk music was largely passed down through generations orally, with songs being adapted and changed as they were passed from person to person. This meant that there was a lot of variation in the way that different folk songs sounded, and that some songs were eventually lost over time.

With the advent of the internet, folk music has become more standardized. Songs can now be easily shared and preserved online, which has led to a more uniform sound for many folk songs. Additionally, the internet has allowed for a greater variety of folk music to be heard by more people than ever before.

While some purists may argue that this increased standardization and accessibility has led to a loss of character in folk music, it is undeniable that the internet has had a major impact on the evolution of this genre.

The future of folk music in America

With the popularity of Americana and roots music on the rise, many people are wondering what the future of folk music in America might look like. While it’s impossible to say for sure, there are some trends that suggest where the genre might be headed.

One trend that seems to be gaining momentum is a return to simpler, more traditional sounds. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in old-timey music, as well as traditional songs and tunes from other cultures. This trend is likely to continue, as more people become interested in exploring their musical heritage.

Another trend that appears to be gaining ground is a move away from the traditional folk song format. In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in popularity of folk-inspired instrumental music, as well as “soundscape” or “ambient” folk music that creates a atmospheric soundscape rather than telling a specific story. This trend suggests that folk music is becoming more about creating a mood or feeling than about telling a specific tale.

Finally, it seems likely that the future of folk music will be strongly influenced by technology. With the advent of digital recording and distribution technologies, it’s become easier than ever for independent artists to reach a wide audience with their music. This trend is likely to continue, as more and more people turn to the internet and social media to discover new music.

So what does all this mean for the future of folk music in America? It’s hard to say for sure, but one thing is certain: the genre is evolving and growing in new and exciting ways.

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