All Star Bands @ Fort Mason

2023/2024 placement auditions 

• Fall 2023 Auditions are by video submission. After watching all submission videos the directors will decide if they need to do any in-person auditions.

• Players in grades 6-12 are matched according to age and skill level.
• Current and ongoing lessons are highly encouraged.
• For your audition video, prepare any cover or original song (with a backing track on CD or iPod, if possible, or with an instrument and singing).
• Also show if you can improvise over a 12-bar blues pattern, demonstrate chord changes, varying rhythm patterns, scales, rudiments, and/or vocal range.

Assessment for All Star Band placement

Submit a video or schedule an in-person audition to be placed in an All Star band this fall.

  • Max. file size: 256 MB.
    Submitting a video of your child playing/singing is the best way to be assessed for placement.
  • If you have a link to a video of your child playing/singing, please add here.

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
Weekly Saturday rehearsals, with guided instruction by inspirational teachers
There are multiple bands within the All Star Band program
We are forming bands now for the fall!

• Guitar, keys, drums, bass, vocals
• September 17 through the end of May
• Rock covers, songwriting, recording projects
• Performances at venues like Bottom of the Hill and Sweetwater
• Tuition – $850 per semester
• Program commitment is two semesters
• Partial scholarships may be available

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 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, performed, 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.”

They’ve been teaching kids to rock since 1971! I love Blue Bear…the original school of rock!!!

Jack Black (actor, rocker, video game enthusiast), who recorded David Bowie’s “Suffragette City” backed by Blue Bear All Star band members.

• For young musicians in grades 4-6
• Guitar, keys, drums, bass, vocals
• 1-hour rehearsals after school
• No audition required
• Tuition – $375 for 12 weeks (next offered in September)