Department of Music

All members of the Brown community with intermediate or better skills on their instruments are welcome to join. Prerequisite: audition.  May be repeated once for credit.  S/NC.  Half course credit.

MUSC 0670


While a number of music departments with ethnomusicology programs now feature old-time string bands, Brown's was the first. Founded by Professor Emeritus Jeff Todd Titon, whose book Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes (University Press of Kentucky, 2001) is a valuable resource for players and scholars alike, the old-time string band celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2021-22. 

Guest teachers such as Mike Seeger, Bruce Greene, Bruce Molsky, Bob Carlin, Andy Woolf, Alan Jabbour, and Clyde Davenport have sat in with the string band as artists-in-residence over the years.

Several student members have honed their skills here and gone on to become respected musicians in the old-time music community across North America.

Rather than rehearse towards a performance, the old-time string band takes the jam session as its model, with the goal of learning tunes, getting better at playing them, and simply enjoying each other's music and company. In good weather the band occasionally plays in public where people may stop to overhear the music.


  • Tuesdays, 7:00-9:00pm   


  • photo of Rory MacLeod and Sandol Astrausky

    Sandol Astrausky & Rory MacLeod

    Directors of Old-Time String Band, Teaching Associates in Music


Students may choose to join one of the department's many performing groups
Students seeking to improve their playing or singing ability have the option of taking individual private lessons with about thirty professional musicians from the greater Boston-Providence area.