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Your Chicago: Old Town School Of Folk Music

Rob Johnson Rob Johnson
Rob Johnson is the weekday anchor of the CBS 2 Chicago evening...
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(CBS) – There are many of us out there who secretly — or not so secretly — would like to learn to play an instrument.

But we may not have the time or know where to go.

CBS 2’s Rob Johnson takes us on a tour of the Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Square, where instrumental dreams are coming true.

For more than 50 years, they’ve been making beautiful music.

Many of the 6,000 students that come here every week are just learning an instrument, like Cindy Klinger, who’s in an intro to banjo class.

Her family was amused. “They’re just like, ‘Typical Cindy, of course, you’re doing something weird,’” she says.

Her classmate Paul Barajas is giving the banjo a try after learning the play the guitar here.

“Because the banjo has a nice little sound to it. I like to listen to old-timey folk music, and there’s a lot of banjo in there,” he says.

For their instructor Matt Brown, who teaches full-time, it’s more than a job. The banjo is a labor of love. He learned it from his dad.

“For the first time in my life, I am seeing people anywhere near my age interested in the music I was raised with,” he says.

There’s something for everyone. Seven hundred classes are offered. From Brazilian jazz ensemble to blues guitar basics

to the peppy old-time revival ensemble.

And at the end of each of the six yearly sessions, these musicians and performers graduate to the next level.

“The fact that you can go to one place and do any number of things and find other like-minded people is a really remarkable thing,” Brown says.