Rock Band Ensemble and
Group Guitar Program
What began as a modest guitar instruction program evolved into an innovative public school music program that serves hundreds of youth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Blue Bear youth bands performing
at Blue Bear Live Youth Music Benefit
[photos by: Julie Bernstein]
Blue Bear's Rock Band Ensemble and Group Guitar Program involves active listening, music history, music theory, music criticism, instrumental technique, and practice and performance. Students are provided with instruments, lessons, practice sessions, performance opportunities, the mentorship of professional musicians and more. This program represents Blue Bear's commitment to revitalize music education and make it accessible to greater numbers of children and youth in our community.
Ninth grade students have nine weeks of instruction focusing on the fundamental building block of all music: rhythm. In addition to hands-on drumming, the class covers tempo, dynamics, meter and notation.
Seventh grade students have 18 weeks of instruction, and in addition to further developing ear training and rhythmic skills, they begin formal study in guitar, bass or drums. Initially introduced to all three instruments, students choose one after the three-week introductory period. They then participate in focused study that includes instrument care; tuning and playing techniques; major, minor, and pentatonic scales; and chords for guitar students. The course culminates in a live performance.
Eighth grade students, who take music as an elective, focus on instrument study, performance and band formation with the goal of learning eight to 12 songs by the end of the school year. Students engage in music appreciation, active listening, and the study of history and theory, and have the opportunity to attend free live musical performances throughout the Bay Area.
Current and past partner sites include:
- Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA)
- James Lick Middle School
- Rooftop Alternative School
- Creative Arts Charter School
- Claire Lilienthal School
Blue Bear is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.