Kent Brown was a professional actor, singer and guitarist in Atlanta and the Southeast for 11 years. Kent’s musical career started at age five when his dad taught him how to play the riff to “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” He was quite proud of his new found skill and wanted to show it off, which he did soon after at show-and-tell in kindergarten. When he tried to tell his audience that he also wrote the song, his fraudulence was quickly exposed by the school’s music teacher, who was also in attendance. That was Kent’s first and last attempt at plagiarism, he is proud to say.
Since those scandalous days, Kent has performed with a number of cover bands and original bands of all genres. You can check out his cover band Suite Love Express in and around the Bay Area (or hire them for your wedding!). An instructor at Blue Bear since 2000, Kent teaches group lessons in all levels of acoustic guitar as well as private lessons in acoustic and electric guitar and bass. He’s available rain or shine Monday through Thursday from open to close to make your musical dreams come true. Kent teaches private lessons and group classes.
What students are saying:
- “Prior to his class, I had never touched a guitar. I joined as a student in my mid 30s, and Kent’s patience and natural ability to teach (any level) has proven to be my musical lighthouse.”
– David K.
- “From the beginning, Kent has listened to my aspirations and my lessons have been based on my specific goals. Not only is he is a highly skilled musician, Kent is a fantastic teacher!”
– Alicia C.
- “Learning to play a new instrument as an adult can be intimidating, but Kent creates a very relaxed and supportive environment that makes learning fun and enjoyable. With his tips and tricks, I was able to play my favorite songs in just a few months!”
– Jaclyn H.
- “He is an outstanding teacher: extremely skilled with an enormous breadth of experience; fun and engaging; patient and encouraging.”
– Jeremy K.
- “Kent takes the time to explain everything in plain language so that the whole class understands. He focuses each week’s lesson around a song that incorporates a new chord or technique (usually music that most people know – Beatles, Stones, REM, Pixies, Eagles, etc) which I find is a great way to learn.”
– Dan S.
- “With all the knowledge I have learned from Kent, I have been able to write my own songs and play at open mic. I highly recommend you study guitar with him.”
– Yuchun C.
Peter Case is a three-time Grammy-nominated, performing singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer who brings over 25 years of songwriting experience to his popular Workshops. A founding member of the Nerves and the Plimsouls, Case’s songs are consistently discovered by each new generation, covered and performed by his fellow songwriters (Chris Smither, John Prine and Alejandro Escovedo, among others), and featured on film and television, most recently in True Blood and Friday Night Lights. Peter Case’s current release is HWY 62 on Omnivore Recordings. Peter teaches only group classes.Visit Peter’s website.
What students are saying:
- “This guy is so experienced at songwriting that his classes are really master classes.” – Riz A.
“Case’s considerable background in punk and electric pop injects his songs with a uniquely incisive quality…even his more laid back ballads connect with a power and passion most others in his field don’t—or can’t– invoke. “ —American Songwriter
“Nearly three decades into his solo career, Peter Case remains one of our best and most compelling singer/songwriters” —All Music Guide
Lea Centauri has been singing since age four. She is the author of two vocal programs: Voicedance for Young Voices and Inner Voice for adults.
A mezzo-soprano, Lea lived in Paris for several years, performing and teaching throughout France as well as in other countries in Europe, in Turkey and in North Africa. She is a vocal coach for all genres – Jazz, Pop, Blues, R&B, Rock, Show Tunes, Hip Hop and Rap – working with both individuals and groups on technique and preparation for recording and performance. Lea is also a songwriter, and teaches beginning piano. She teaches private lessons and group classes.
T. Lin Chase started out life training to be a concert pianist, but got waylaid at nineteen by life and the siren song of computer science. After a couple of decades of traveling the world deploying software in far flung corners of the globe, she came home to music. Now she writes, records, produces, and spends time working with beginners of all ages who are getting started with drums, keys, guitar, ukulele, bass, singing, concertina, mandolin, banjo, recorder, kazoo … or anything that opens the door to the magic of music!
Randy Clark arrived on the West Coast in the early 1990′s after completing a music degree from Ithaca College. He has since taught hundreds of students in the studios at Haight Ashbury Music and at Blue Bear. He is also the founder of Crowsong, which has released three critically acclaimed records. Surf guru Phil Dirt gave the instrumental album Eternal five stars, calling it “… lush Surfadelic music in the grand tradition.” “Tribal drums, rising thunder…dramatic and commanding…Superb!” writes REVERB CENTRAL, SURF’S UP KFJC 89.7FM. Clark has been called “a master guitarist with a slide style to envy, a vibrato that melts butter, one of the sweetest tones since Ry Cooder and the chops and flash of Blow By Blow Jeff Beck” (Al Muzer, Aquarian Weekly).
Clark has played and recorded with The Mermen, The Billy Nayer Show, Oscar Brown Jr. and many others, and has worked with producer Jeffrey Wood at Berkeley’s Fantasy Studios (Hank Williams III, X, Giant Sand). He has composed film scores for independent festivals in Chicago and San Francisco, contributed music to the Save the Waves Foundation’s documentary Lost Jewel of the Pacific, and worked on many other independent films. Clark is the author of The Alternative Guitar Chord Book (1996), as well as a series of columns for Guitar Player magazine. Randy teaches private lessons and group classes. Learn more at crowsong.com.
What students are saying:
- “Randy Clark is an EXCELLENT slide guitarist and fingerpicker. His technique is pristine and his attention to detail when teaching is awesome. Because of this, if you practice, you can become an excellent slide and/or fingerpicking guitarist in NO TIME!”
– Riz A.
Caroline Dahl plays boogie-woogie, blues and rock piano in bands and solo at many Bay Area clubs. She is frequently seen wearing sequins. Caroline currently plays with the Cajun/American roots band, Tom Rigney and Flambeau. Caroline also plays solo piano regularly on Sundays at Mama’s Royal Cafe in Mill Valley. She has played solo at piano boogie woogie and blues festivals in France, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Canada, and at numerous venues in the United States. She is also an internationally exhibiting textile artist. carolinedahl.com and YouTube at dahlvideo. Caroline teaches only private lessons.
What students are saying:
- “Caroline is a great teacher. She is patient, teaches at a pace that is understandable to me and is upbeat and encouraging. I look forward to my lesson every week and always leave motivated to learn more and get better.”
– Mike E.
Sharman Duran, vocalist and keyboardist, has been performing jazz standards, Top 40, Soul, Rock, Pop, and Latin jazz in bands since 1976. She also specializes in teaching music to pre-school children. Sharman teaches private lessons and group classes.
Scott Feichter performs with French-American mezzo soprano Mimi Pirard in the group SonoMusette and is a veteran of the Vintage Juke Box Orchestra and the acoustic band Hit Waves Unplugged with French baritone Laurent Fourgo. He studied classical guitar at Indiana University Fort Wayne and jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music in Boston on the road to graduating with a BA in Liberal Arts, minoring in Music, Psychology, and Anthropology. He teaches Classical, Jazz & Blues (Gospel, Traditional, Funk), Latin, Pop & Rock, and Traditional Folk styles.
Brian Gire has been teaching and playing music for over thirty years. Initially inspired by watching the late John Hartford on television, he has developed an eclectic approach that ranges from Bartok to hard rock to Doc Watson. Brian teaches both acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, banjo and ukulele in styles including jazz, blues, classical, blues, bluegrass and more. He teaches private lessons and group classes.
What students are saying:
- “Brian has helped me with all aspects of my guitar playing.”
– Dan K.
- “He is a wonderful combination of skill and patience; which I think would be helpful for students at any level.”
– Larry S.
- “Working with Brian has been a terrific experience! Besides having the ability to teach a musical instrument to where even I can understand it he makes each session relaxed, interesting and very enjoyable.”
– Grant P.
- “I have been attending Brian Gire’s acoustic jam class for some three years. The Thursday evening sessions are invariably the highlight of my week – and I do have a life! Brian exudes an extraordinary combination of musical talent, rare teaching ability, theoretical erudition and encyclopedic grasp of the literature of rock, blues, jazz, swing, traditional, country and just about every other musical genre under the sun, which he enthusiastically shares with his students.”
– Daniel K.
- “I have had music lessons off and on since I was seven years old, and Brian is the best music teacher I have ever had. He will teach you what you want to learn, but will also slip you little doses of what you probably should learn.”
– Deborah A.
Raz Kennedy has been performing and recording in the San Francisco Bay Area for 40 years. His performance credits include six years as a founding member of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra, as well as projects with June Watanabe Performance Ensemble, Rebeca Mauleon, Bob Ostertag, Chris Manning, Paula Gallitano, Bonnie Hayes, Linda Tillery, George Coates Performance Works, and Oberlin Dance Company/San Francisco (ODC).
His recording and live credits include backup, ensemble or lead vocals for or with hit song producer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin), Al Jarreau, Todd Rundgren, Whitney Houston, Bobby McFerrin, Jason Becker, Wael Kabbani of the Iambic Dream Project, Joel Harrison, Mickey Hart, Tevin Campbell, Tony Lindsay, John Santos, Tom Johnston (Doobie Brothers), Kenny Loggins, Rhiannon, Sting, Jeanie Tracy, Claytoven Richardson, Molly Holm, Gerald Alston, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., Earl Klugh, and Lynn Asher, as well as for film, video, television and radio.
As a vocal coach and vocal producer, Raz has multiple Gold and Platinum records to his credit. Clients include: Adam Duritz and members of Counting Crows, Grammy Award winning artists Los Tigres Del Norte, Universal Recording artists Stroke 9, Rancid, Davey Havok of AFI, Aaron Carter, Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Eoin Harrington, Caroline Vreeland, Jack Blades (Night Ranger), Chantelle Paige, A-Teens, Lavay Smith, Hilary Duff, Nicole Riw, members of Metallica, Victoria Theodore (Stevie Wonder Band), Brett Anderson of The Donnas, Joe Bagale, Jasmine Guy, Sakai, Nikita Germaine, Spencer Day, Karina Lombard, James Nash of The Waybacks, Manuel Romero, Jolie Holland, Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Storm Large, Sakis Rouvas, Bamboo Shoots, Will Evankovich of American Drag, Taara Tati (Metal Mother), Forest Sun, Shana Morrison, Noelle Hampton, Rachel Efron, and Jerry Harrison (founding member of Talking Heads).
Raz presently produces, writes and arranges vocals for live and studio projects. He has studied Latin Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian music in Cuba and New York, has toured the U.S. and internationally in Europe, Asia and South America. Currently, Raz is producing a multi-media performance art piece with collaborator, Pollyanna Bush, entitled “Talk To Me: Transcending The Communication Break Down.” Raz has acquired a wealth of knowledge pertaining to vocal mechanics and expression from studying with master vocal coaches Jane Sharp, Seth Riggs, William “Hannibal” Means, Tikey Zes, and Miles Griffith. Raz has also been coached by Katie Agresta, Jeanette LoVetri, and Ken Tamplin and explored the Jo Estill singing method. Raz an Authorized CVT (Complete Vocal Technique) Teacher, having studied for nearly 4 years in Copenhagen, Denmark under the direction of Danish master vocal coach/researcher Cathrine Sadolin, (creator & founder of CVT) along with her incredibly talented teaching staff. www.razkennedy.com
Raz teaches primarily group classes at Blue Bear, but is available for limited private lessons on Tuesdays – call 415.673.3600 for pricing.
What students are saying:
- “Raz Kennedy is an EXCELLENT VOCAL COACH. Also, his Ear Training class is a NEED-TO-TAKE if you really want to be a good musician. Aside from that, you’ll love being around him as he’s just a great guy.”
– Riz A.
Devin Lane is a guitarist, singer and songwriter-composer from Petaluma, California. His music career started in 1998 as a saxophonist in his elementary school’s band. He started playing guitar in 2000 and has been writing, performing and recording music ever since.
Devin has performed in several bands. He was a singer, bassist and guitarist of the North Bay band Skylark before leaving on a musical journey of Latin America that saw him performing in Mexico, Colombia and Peru. In Peru he performed as a solo artist and as part of a trio playing Argentinian rock music.
Devin holds a B.A. from UC Santa Barbara where he studied electronic music composition, music theory, piano, and English literature.
Since 2007 Devin has taught guitar as a private instructor as well as in private schools, after-school programs and summer camps. He has also taught bass, drums, piano, voice and recording techniques. Devin teaches private lessons and group classes.
Learn more at devinlanemusic.com
Australian born Libby Lavella is a Grammy-nominated singer and vocal coach. Libby has taught signed artists and non-singers as well. When Mark Webber was cast to play the lead singer for Universal Pictures’ “Scott Pilgrim vs The World,” Mark had no experience singing and could not match pitch, let alone sing a soundtrack Beck had written. Mark was sent to Libby for a vocal evaluation and after two weeks of lessons, Mark went into the studio and recorded all his own vocals with Nigel Goodrich for the soundtrack and for the film. She has also worked with Universal Records’ Grammy-nominated artist Gustavo Galindo (Libby received Grammy nomination for her background vocals on his first single “Te Perdi”), Wendy Melvoin (Prince), Courtney Love, Jamie Lynn Spears, Pia Mia, Blush (Quincy Jones), Nik & Sam (Nickelodeon), Daphne Blunt (Radio Disney), Drama Drama – (Mollee Gray, Jordan Lane Price, Natalie Goenaga, Madisen Hill, Michelle Dion), Kes (5DE), Savvy (STARZ/Cash Money Records), Jessica Bendinger (Stick It!, Bring It On), Brian Lebarton (Beck/Feist), Drew Taubenfeld (Demi Lovato), Devin Bronson (Avril Lavigne), Julianna Raye (Chrysalis), Jeserae (Luc Robitaille), Ben Schmidt (Timothy B Schmidt), cast members of Buffy, and was also the resident vocal coach on set for MTV’s “ROCK THE CRADLE” finale. Libby was vocal coach and vocal producer of the CBS pilot Joey Dakota working with Craig Honer. Libby has sung on albums or performances with Smash Mouth, Wendy & Lisa (Prince), Frank Gambale, Kate Ceberano (Mushroom), Big Syke (Tupac), Universal’s “Curious George” movies and TV episodes, “Walk Of Shame” and lots more. Libby brings an insider’s knowledge of the business having also worked as a production coordinator on albums for Seal, Robi Rosa and Ricky Martin. In addition to helping other artists realize their potential and being a part of the team, Libby has released three albums and performed in venues all over. In 2015 she released an EP with her LA-based harmony group The Amber. Libby teaches group voice classes and is also available for special Artist Vocal Development private lessons (call for price and availability).
What students are saying:
- Libby is a brilliant teacher. Not only can she explain in basic terms as to what the mechanics are involved with singing but she knows how to support everyone’s effort to reach a higher level. I have never taken a singing class before and believed I could not sing. Libby changed this for me.
– Janice S.
Berklee grad Sean Leahy has toured the States and Europe with Kofy Brown, Red Archibald, Marginal Prophets, Boomshanka, Four Year Bender, Guitarmageddon and London Street. An experienced guitar teacher, Sean released his first solo project in 2008. Learn more at seanleahymusic.com. Sean teaches private lessons and group classes.
What students are saying:
- “Sean is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and he knows how to teach music on the fly. He can quickly strip down complicated songs, whether it’s keys, rhythm and lead guitar parts, or the back up singer’s note, and have you sounding good within the first day of playing with your new band.”
– Brett O.
Francesca Lee graduated from Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts (Music) in 2002 majoring in pop vocal performance and songwriting with disciplines in both guitar and keyboard. She is best known for her soulful/sultry vocals and music that merges styles of Folk, Pop, Blues, and Jazz.
During her residency in the U.K., Francesca performed as a backup singer for the popular televised awards show, The Top of the Pop Awards at The Manchester Arena alongside artists like Nellie Furtado, Tom Jones, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Minogue, Wyclef, and Travis. She was also featured in a pilot episode for the MTV Networks show (The Real World). She recorded her first debut independent album with Scottish Sony recording artist Sandi Thom, who later topped the Billboard charts in the U.K. with her song “I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker.”
In 2004 she moved to San Francisco and established herself in the Bay Area music scene as a singer-songwriter. A top ten regional finalist in The Lilith Fair Talent Search through Ourstage.com, songs from her album The Pieces Left, produced by Michael Winger, Executive Director for NARAS (The Grammys), was featured on KFOG’S LOCAL Scene Vol. 6 and Songwriters Unplugged-Live at Yoshi’s.
She has been working as a professional musician in The Bay Area since 2004 and has been a staff show producer for Bread & Roses Presents since 2010. She is passionate about guiding students on how to discover their own unique sound, carve out their niche, and how to develop their craft as singer-songwriters. She has also served as a previous judge for West Coast Songwriter’s monthly songwriting showcase & competition.
Learn more at francescaleemusic.com.