All Star Songwriters @ Fort Mason

Got lots to say?  Learn how to say it.  In music.  Your way.

Blue Bear’s All Star Songwriters Program is for young musicians who write, including singers who write lyrics.  Students in grades 6-12 will work with renowned Bay Area artist and educator Bonnie Hayes, learning the craft of writing songs and self-expression through music.  You can join anytime and enroll for a minimum of four weeks . . . or for the whole school year.   4 classes for $200, 10 classes for $450.  Thursdays, 4:45-6:15 pm, starting September 22.

Apply here to become an All Star Songwriter!

Testimonial from Salem Ilese

My songwriting mentor Bonnie Hayes is starting an All Star Songwriters program at Blue Bear.  This is a great opportunity for 6th-12th graders to develop their songwriting and work on self-discovery, self-expression, agency, identity, and building community!

Salem attributes her music career to legendary writer Bonnie Hayes, her first songwriting teacher. Salem attended Songwriting summer camps at Blue Bear with Bonnie from 2010-2012.

@salemilese now has 3.8 million followers and 53 million likes on TikTok.  Her single “Mad at Disney” was awarded gold by the RIAA.[6][7] The song peaked at number 67 on the Billboard Global 200 in 2020[8] and appeared on the Rolling Stone Top 100 Popular Songs in 2020.[9] Additionally, Ilese co-wrote Jamie Miller‘s “Here’s Your Perfect,” Bella Poarch‘s “Build a Bitch,” and Tomorrow X Together‘s “Anti-Romantic.”

Songwriting is a multi-disciplinary practice that helps young people shape identity, build community, and grow literacy, musical, and pattern recognition skills through self-expression. The All Star Songwriters Program at Blue Bear uses an experiential, project-based approach, including a performance, a recording project, and a collaborative project, to help young artists build skills and have fun!

NOTE: For our purposes, a song will have singing–instrumentals are cool, but at this time we’re working with words, melody, and vocal music. Applicants should be able to sing as well as either accompany themselves on an instrument at the low intermediate level or create multi-track productions using recording software.

Bonnie Hayes, former Songwriting Department Chair at Berklee College of Music, has written songs for Bonnie Raitt, Cher, Bette Midler, David Crosby, Robert Cray, Adam Ant, Booker T. & the MG’s, and many more.  Bonnie first came to Blue Bear as a teen student in 1971 and discovered there how to play the music she loved.  She quickly transitioned to teaching while at the same time developing her career as a performing musician.  Her body of recorded work, tracing her band life from the Punts through Bonnie Hayes & the Wild Combo to her later solo albums, is remarkable for its musical sophistication, intelligence, emotional depth, and rocker-girl attitude.  Dennis Criteser, Blue Bear’s Program Director and former Bonnie student, describes her as a Master Teacher.  “My year of taking lessons with Bonnie literally changed my life direction.  It was the most exciting year of musical growth I’ve ever experienced.  And I know that she has touched thousands of other people in the very same way.” 

Songwriting Lesson