Peggy Browning

Currently Teaching:

Peggy Browning began as a student at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, IL in the mid ’90s. There she found a place amidst music with friends and history that would come to be an integral part of her life. Ten years later she was hired to teach and has proudly carried on in the traditions and vision of the school. She models her teaching styles after her mentors, Mark Dvorak, Frank Hamilton, and Bess Lomax Hawes. Peggy focuses on ensemble playing. She emphasizes learning by ear and creating arrangements together, with all levels of players. While keeping fresh the history of the Old Town School of Folk Music and America’s aural traditions, she also remembers to keep an ear to the greats of today. She creates a safe space for her students to learn and grow. Peggy plays guitar and the 5-string banjo. Her guitar playing reflects those artists that have caught her ear: Big Bill Broonzy, Mississippi John Hurt, Merle Travis, and the Carter Family. She grew up listening to Pete Seeger and picked up the 5-string banjo after being introduced to the sounds of Fleming Brown. She plays her banjo to enhance the sounds of all different genres of music. In traditional and roots music she focuses on clawhammer style, adding some two finger arrangements. She is a founding member of “The Pickin’ Bubs,” an acoustic trio in Chicago, IL whose sound is rooted in traditional music, from country, blues, gospel, old time, and folk ballads. She is the main songwriter for the group and her original compositions echo those traditions. She is also a founding member of “Common Thread,” an acoustic quartet whose members come together a few times a year from their respective homes in Tennessee and Illinois. Her music and teaching reflect her eagerness to learn and to welcome others. “As long as there are voices to sing and hearts to listen, your work, your songs, and your labor will spread to bless and fertilize the land.” — Woody Guthrie