All Star Bands @ Fort Mason

A comprehensive 9-month performance and education curriculum
Using rock music as a platform, students strengthen technique, ensemble playing, performance, improvisation, music theory, and songwriting
Opportunities to play real shows in real venues around San Francisco
Weekly rehearsals, with guided instruction by inspirational teachers
There are multiple bands within the All Star Band program
Each fall, spots are available in existing All Star Bands and in new bands
Players are matched in bands by age and skill level – grades 6-12
New players can join mid-year

Each band has the opportunity to play at least one live show at the end of Fall, Winter and Spring quarters.

• Guitar, keys, drums, bass, vocals & more
• Saturday 2-hour rehearsals at Fort Mason
• September 21 through end of May
• Rock covers and songwriting
• Performances at venues like Bottom of the Hill and Sweetwater
• Tuition – $1,650 for the full year, payable as two semesters
• Monthly payment plan – $210/month for eight months
• Program commitment is two semesters
• Partial scholarships may be available
• Can join mid-year

2019/2020 placement auditions will be September 7 and 14

• Players are matched according to age and skill level.
• Players must have a basic understanding of their instrument or voice.
• Current and ongoing lessons are highly encouraged.
• For the audition prepare any cover or original song (with a backing track on CD or iPod, if possible, or with an instrument and singing), plus one of the following to play with a backing band (in a key of your choice): “Radioactive” (Imagine Dragons), “Blitzkrieg Bop” (The Ramones), or “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (Green Day).
• You’ll also have a chance to improvise over a 12-bar blues pattern (optional), demonstrate chord changes, varying rhythm patterns, scales, rudiments and/or vocal range.
• It is possible to join the All Star Band mid-year!

Some say “it’s only rock and roll,” but at Blue Bear we see teamwork, commitment, growth, courage, responsibility, stage professionalism, and most important, fun!

Students learn what it actually takes to turn individual assignments into a piece of artistic expression. During this process, they learn about their own instrument and craft, yet also learn to listen to what other students are playing. Developing this art of conversation with one’s band mates is one of the most important processes in the program, and an important one for future success anywhere outside the bandstand.

When we started the All Star Band program, we intended to create a place for community and skill building along with a fun platform to rock out. We wanted to give young rockers the best atmosphere for learning and to give them the opportunity to perform in real, professional venues for their performances. We’ve managed just a little bit more than that – we’ve created a collective of dedicated young players willing to learn and develop the traits for success, on and off the stage.

All Star Band Director J.T. Locke has been playing guitar, writing and arranging songs for almost 30 years and is committed to working with young musicians to make more and better music.  He has recorded and performed across the country for over ten years and has taught professionally since 2007.  J.T. trained at PCC Music program in Portland and at M.I.T in Los Angeles.  He has played, peformed, and recorded with many great musicians, including The Wildhearts, Genitortures, Gilby Clarke (GNR), Dizzy Reed (GNR), CC Deville (Poison), Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper), Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats), Greg D’Angelo (White Lion), Dee Dee Ramone (The Ramones), Guttermouth, Eric Dover (Jellyfish), Rex Brown (Pantera), and Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath).

  Co-Director Amanda VanderMeer graduated with high honors from Portland Community College’s Professional Music Program and has been playing and writing music for almost 30 years, touring the globe and releasing two studio albums. Since 2006, she has taught drums, piano, vocals, music theory, and songwriting.

“For the past four years, my daughter has taken private lessons, songwriting workshops, and been in several bands at Blue Bear. If she could be there every day, all day, she absolutely would. She has grown tremendously as a musician and, more significantly, as a person. The teachers are inspiring and create a supportive and welcoming atmosphere that is rarely seen.”

“My now 18-year-old son began with Blue Bear when he was a 15 year old drummer, in a band which rehearsed weekly. His dedicated teacher knew how to get along beautifully with teenagers and also was an excellent instructor, on many levels. The band became closer as a unit and matured in their musical skills. The performing locations and number of opportunities provided by Blue Bear for its students are remarkable. The music study is serious yet fun. The staff is available and involved.”

“My son was worried he didn’t know what it was like to play in a band and now I can’t imagine him not being in a band. He’s learned how to hear instruments, how to improvise, how to play with others, how to have fun and express his love for music with others. Their first concert compared to their last concert shows this growth.”

• For young musicians in grades 4-6
• Guitar, keys, drums, bass, vocals
• 1-hour rehearsals Monday or Wednesday after school
• September band schedules will be available in early August
• No audition required
• Tuition – $360 for 12 weeks