Meet Our Teaching Faculty

San Francisco’s Best Music Teachers & Educators


Our Team, One Commitment

Our faculty is deeply committed to teaching as a profession, dedicated to helping students meet their unique goals.

Blue Bear teachers also work as musicians, expert in their individual crafts, with significant experience in the music industry.

Teacher Bios

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Derek Barber

Derek Barber is a Bay Area-based guitarist, songwriter, and music educator. In 2008, Barber graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Jazz Improvisation in Guitar. On a full-ride scholarship to the University’s School of Music, he studied privately with internationally-acclaimed Jazz musicians/educators Geri Allen and Robert Hurst. There, he honed his improvisation, transcription, and music theory – skills he brings to his musical pursuits as well as to his fifteen-plus years of teaching.
An active contributor and member of critically acclaimed Bay Area bands Bells Atlas, Astronauts, etc., Barber’s solo project is Perhapsy.  He is also a sought-after session guitarist, with recording credits at Tiny Telephone Studios, Fantasy, Decibelle, and several others. Aside from his experience in teaching, music composition, recording, editing, and mixing, Barber is also a regularly hired visual artist.
He believes in a cheerful and professional attitude toward teaching his students and is a firm believer that music and art is a truly exciting and life-long pursuit.  Derek teaches online private lessons in guitar, bass, and ukulele. Request a lesson with Derek.

Stellar songwriting with some especially gorgeous guitar work from Derek Barber.
– Premier Guitar Magazine
Derek Barber’s guitar work flits from jagged edges to smooth licks like vogue.

Cole Berggren

Cole Odin Berggren is a prominent local DJ who spins vinyl and the occasional CD in locations city and country-wide.  In the realm of writing and performing music, he is the songwriter/singer/multi-instrumentalist for his own band, a pulsing, psychedelic, electronic rock band aptly called OWNERSHIP.   Cole is a summer camp drum and DJ instructor.

Patty Boss

Patty Boss (ASCAP) is a pianist and composes music for television, including national feature scoring credits for Emmy winner Bay Windows series in San Francisco “Hope on the Street,” which received recognition and awards, including Northern California Emmy Nomination for Best Documentary.  She has held roles as Audio Lead and Composer for Leapfrog Inc.; Composition Guest Lecturer at New College, San Francisco; Broadcast Mixer for CurrentTV; music production for XBOX advertising; EA Games sound design credits for The Sims, & The Urbz; and keyboardist and backing vocalist for several performing bands.  She holds a degree from Berklee College of Music, piano principal.
Her music plays on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN Special Report, Animal Planet, Discovery, NFL, NBA, NFL, UFC, CBS Sports Spectacular, MTV, Bravo, National Geographic Channel, Entertainment Television (E!), TLC, Oxygen Network, TV-One, A&E, FYI Network, History Channel, Travel Channel, VH1, TLC, TV1, Investigation Discovery Network and more.  Recently, Patty’s music has been heard on America’s Got Talent (NBC), For My Man (TV One), American Beauty Star (Lifetime), Fear Factor (MTV), Inside the NBA (NBA TV), The Daily Show (Comedy Central), The Challenge (MTV), and The Journey:  Big Ten Basketball (BTN).  Patty teaches private lessons in piano, music theory, and music recording and production.
What students are saying:
  • “Patty has the ability to break down a complicated idea into something into something easier to understand. She has a patient approach to imparting knowledge that is reassuring and inspiring. I have learned tons from her and consider her a big part of my music/composition/audio production learning experience.” – Jess Hatton-Brown, UK performing artist singer-songwriter living and performing in France
  • “Patty creates a safe and welcoming environment for everyone to share openly. She empowers anyone willing to learn by being generous with her time and always offering concise, actionable feedback.” – Sherry Lynn, Music entrepreneur, California
  • “Patty Boss is generous with her time and knowledge. She has a heart to help others become better in the craft of sound production and composition. She is passionate about helping others achieve their best.” – Rebekah Ann Curtis, Singer Songwriter
  • “I saw Patty playing the piano in college. She was so passionate. Someone who loves music that much gotta be a good teacher. And she cares about friends and people.” – Min Lee, Korean artist/painter

Kent Brown

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 newfound 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.  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, ukulele, and bass – in person and online.
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) have 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.

Robert Brownstein

Robert Brownstein’s musical training began in utero because his mother was an accomplished classical pianist and spent hours practicing. Then, through her training, he was playing Bach, Beethoven, and show tunes by the age of 4. His first performance was in kindergarten when he performed his pieces and accompanied his school for the holiday recital. With a degree in music from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Robert has made it his mission to spread the joy of learning to play piano to anyone interested and has been teaching for over 30 years. He has developed a variety of fun and innovative techniques and shortcuts to make playing piano accessible to all and has proven time and time again that it is never too late to start. Robert teaches private piano lessons.

Lea Centauri

Lea Centauri has been singing since age four and is a master vocalist and instructor with experience teaching Voicedance, from Paris to Istanbul.  Voicedance is the breath and music of singing as expression, for all singers wanting the experience of Voice. 
A mezzo-soprano, Lea lived in Paris for several years, performing and teaching throughout France as well as in Turkey and other countries in Europe and North Africa.  She is a vocal coach for all genres–Jazz, Pop, Blues, R&B, Rock, Show Tunes, Hip Hop, and Rap–working with individuals on technique and preparation for recording and performance, and also working with those who just want to sing for fun and personal enjoyment.  Her Voicedance program starts with breathing exercises for relaxation and clearing of energy, moving to vocal scales for tuning, range, stamina, and feeling good within as you sing, then to singing triplets for vocal control and expression, and finally to songs to enhance your vocal ability and build a repertoire of material you want to sing. Lea is also a songwriter and teaches beginning piano as well.  She teaches only private online lessons
What students are saying:
  • “Lea is absolutely the best vocal coach I’ve ever had. Working with Lea has completely elevated my tone, range, and breath control. She makes sure that I do it right every time, with grace. She patiently allows me to correct my mistakes to ensure I get it right, and that I understand how to correct it. ” – April W.

Michael Chulada

Michael Chulada joined Blue Bear in 2015 working at many of our off-site community programs with after-school kids.  While studying for his certificate in early childhood development, the connection was made that Little Bears would be an awesome fit!  Michael has played in many San Francisco bands and has a real knack for picking out fun songs that will get everyone movin’ and shakin’!

Randy Clark

Randy Clark arrived on the West Coast in the early 1990s 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.  Learn more about Randy at  Randy teaches private lessons (online Tuesdays and Thursdays, in-person Wednesdays) and band workshops.
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.

Kobi Cummings

Kobi Cummings grew up in Boston, MA where he was exposed to music at a young age via his father who was a concert pianist. He was playing guitar by 7, moved onto a drum kit at 10, and picked up the bass at 12.  Throughout his childhood, Kobi spent a lot of time in the mountains snowboarding professionally. After high school, he attended Naropa University in Boulder, CO graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree specializing in Music Composition, Music Theory, and Recording Engineering. 
Kobi’s laid-back teaching style focuses on meeting people where they are musically and adapting a lesson based on how the student learns. Students will find him both engaging and relatable. His passion for music is evident and his experience ranges from DJing, studio recording sessions for well-known artists, as well as performing live with various bands.   Kobi teaches private lessons in bass, guitar, piano, drums, and computer-based music.

Caroline Dahl

Caroline Dahl plays boogie-woogie, blues and rock piano in bands and solo at many Bay Area clubs.  She is frequently seen wearing sequins and sensible shoes.  Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, she earned a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Kentucky.  She had some classical piano lessons in high school, but soon abandoned them to self-teaching of American popular styles picked up from records and the radio.  Specializing in up-tempo boogie woogie, swing, and blues, 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. and YouTube at dahlvideoCaroline 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

Sharman Duran, vocalist and keyboardist, has been performing jazz standards, Top 40, Soul, Rock, Pop, and Latin jazz in bands since 1976.  She works with adults and students in 7th grade and older.  Sharman teaches private lessons in voice and piano – in person or online.

Noah Fortino-Young

Noah Fortino-Young is a San Francisco-based musician, songwriter, and music teacher. With over a decade of experience playing guitar, bass, piano, and singing, he’s written and recorded four solo projects with nearly 30 songs under his name. He’s also played in various Bay-Area bands such as The Fixins, Morning Luv, and others. 
When it comes to teaching, Noah believes first and foremost that playing music should be fun! Before overloading students with theory and scales, he wants to teach them songs that they love. The most important thing to him is that playing becomes something that students get excited about doing. 
Noah teaches private lessons and is also an All Star Band instructor.

Rick Harrell

Rick Harrell has been a voice and guitar teacher in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.  He currently serves as the Founding Director of Heroes’ Voices, a nonprofit service organization for veterans. Rick leads therapeutic singing and guitar music workshops for veterans with PTSD and other challenges.
Rick teaches singers in many genres including classical, folk, rock, country, and Musical Theater. He has been a voice teacher and guest Master Class instructor at universities and training programs including Yale, Indiana University, Chautauqua Institution, Loyola University, Mannes School of Music, University of Richmond, Virginia State University, and the University of Florida.
Recently a music professor at City College of San Francisco, Rick has served as Director of the Juilliard Department of Vocal Arts, Director of the San Francisco Opera Center, Head of Faculty for the Opera Training Program of the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Director of the Opera Program for the San Francisco Conservatory, Artistic Consultant and Principal Stage Director for the Bangkok Opera, and senior faculty for the Opera Studio of the Netherlands.
Rick performed as a baritone soloist with such companies as Lincoln Center Theatre Company, La Scala, Vienna State Opera, Washington Opera, Baltimore Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Omaha, New Jersey Symphony, Richmond Symphony, and National Symphony. He recorded the role of Bernardo on the album West Side Story conducted by Leonard Bernstein and is featured on the recording of Bernstein’s last opera, A Quiet Place
A frequent judge for vocal competitions, he annually adjudicates for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Originally from Oklahoma, Rick grew up in northern Virginia, attended college in Washington, D.C. and New York City, and has lived for many years in San Francisco.  Rick teaches group classes and private lessons in voice and guitar.

Elizabeth "Elz" Henderson

Being known for genre-bending and crowd-pleasing, Elz has mastered the art of reading the crowd and fitting the mood and setting of any party while always maintaining her musical integrity.  Growing up listening to breakbeats, techno, and house music along with discovering classic rock, jazz, hip-hop, and funk music, she learned how to incorporate all of these elements to create some serious flavor.  Her parents were both opera singers, so she was raised with a great appreciation and passion for music.  She studied piano and violin throughout her youth and into Highschool.  She got interested in electronic music by going to local underground raves in San Francisco; seeing her first female DJ inspired her to learn how to use turntables herself to express her love for music.  Her first DJ gig was in 1998 and she has been hitting the floor running ever since.  In March 2008 Elz graduated from Ex’pression College with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Sound Arts, and after graduation, she spent the summer interning for DJ Shadow.  She assisted in the preparation for the launch of DJ Shadow Digital (The DJ Shadow Digital Store) and processed sound samples for the Dj Shadow digital store.  She has releases on Muzimo Records, Harlum Muziq, Look Out Records, and has just joined the Tech House label Laser Native as their newest resident artist.  In 2015 she studied Ableton at Sequence One in Oakland and then went on to work as a Music Curator and Audio Engineer at the DJ app, Crossfader.  She has performed gigs at the SXM festival in St. Maartin, BPM festival in Mexico, Coachella, WMC in Miami, Member’s Only in New York, Los Angeles, Vegas, Seattle, Burning Man, and all over the Bay Area at clubs such as Audio, Great Northern, Monarch, 1015 Folsom, The End Up, DNA Lounge, Ruby Skye, Temple, and The Clift Hotel. She has DJ residencies with the Burning Man camp The Kazbah and a Bay Area monthly event called Common Ground.  She also teaches therapeutic beat-making workshops for elementary and middle school children using Ableton and the Push with the nonprofit Today’s Future Sound throughout the Bay Area.  Her mission is to use music as a tool to heal people by giving them a safe space to be themselves while injecting them with positivity via the best music to dance to.  Elz teaches Blue Bear’s adult DJ classes at Monarch and private lessons on Fridays at Fort Mason.

Rachel Hoiem

Rachel Hoiem has been part of the Little Bears program for over 10 years. She loves getting everyone moving with her zany songs that she’s collected from the many years she has worked with children. She has a B.A. in jazz piano from SF State and is proud to be a native San Franciscan. She’s played shows on most of the stages of local SF clubs and continues to record and perform with her band, Novio Electrico. She enjoys sharing her love of rock n roll, country, surf, and blues with lots of guitar jams and boogie-woogie piano that’s sure to get you and your kiddo grooving to the beat!

Jay Lane

Jay Lane is a long-time Bay Area drummer who’s played with Bob Weir’s projects, Les Claypool’s projects, Charlie Hunter Trio, Alphabet Soup, Freaky Executives, The Uptones, and numerous other bands in the area for the past 30 years. Jay got his start at Blue Bear when it was on Ocean Ave. in SF, and took private drum lessons with Steve Savage. Jay’s schedule is M-F 10 am-5 pm or weekends by special request.  Studio-quality audio Zoom lessons – $100/hour or $50/half-hour.

Francesca Lee

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, 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.
Francesca teaches online private lessons.

J.T. Locke

J.T. Locke has been playing guitar, writing, and arranging songs for over 25 years. He has recorded and performed across the country for over ten years and has taught professionally since 2007.  J.T. trained at the PCC Music program in Portland and 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).
J.T. has given private instruction and personal tutoring to students of all ages in rock, jazz, classical, blues, metal, pop, and other styles, on both guitar and bass.  He has developed and worked with lots of youth programs, helping students create, learn and perform all types of music.  Teaching levels range from beginner to advanced.  He has had great success teaching songwriting and composition, and also instructs students how to utilize their own ear for training.  Each student learns all the tools, techniques, and theory to help write and create.  This allows each student to maximize their own potential and develop their own style.
His current band is Deathtrap America, which is recording their next album and performing all over the Bay Area.  J.T. teaches private lessons in guitar, bass, and ukulele, and group guitar classes.
What students are saying:
  • “J.T. has been awesome to work with! Part drill sergeant, cheerleader, spiritual guru, fashion police and now great friend he has given me musical knowledge and ability way beyond my expectations!” – Alan N.

Hank Maninger

Folks from the Bay Area are likely to recognize Hank Maninger’s signature sound on guitar, bass, and vocals. He has been active in the music scene since the early ’80s, playing in bands such as Bonnie Hayes and the Wild Combo and internationally with the Hacienda Brothers. Hank currently plays in Nashville Honeymoon with his wife, Lynne Maes, and also leads his own roots trio, Hank Maninger and the Jukebox Charlies. He has been a guitar, bass, and rock band teacher since 2007.

Lewis Martin

Lewis Martin is a Dominican guitarist, composer, songwriter, and guitar teacher based in San Francisco.  At the age of 16, he was caught by the magic of the guitar while living in Nagua City. He then moved to Santo Domingo for college and received a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design while also studying harmony, theory, and guitar techniques, as the burning desire of making his own music grew in his soul.  Soon he started playing with numerous rock, funk, and metal bands and began teaching in several music schools and recording for local artists in Santo Domingo.
Lewis is influenced by legendary artists like Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Carlos Santana, Metallica, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Rage Against The Machine . . . and the list goes on.
In 2008, he recorded an EP with his band Zigzag called “Llegar  A Ti” (available on all digital platforms), fusing rock and funk grooves. Zigzag reached number one on local rock radio stations for a few months.  In 2009, he participated in the Messenger Mag Music Fest with “Otraversion,” ending as one of the finalists and favorite bands, with Lewis getting lots of attention for his flashy technique and stage performance.
From 2010-19 he lived and gigged in the tourist area of Bávaro, becoming a hired gun playing with the majority of the local and foreign artists, especially the Jonny’s Rock cover band from 2012-2014. Lewis was focused on his blues-rock and Latin project, full of exciting instrumental arrangements, experimentation, and radiant Caribbean guitar riffs.  After playing many genres and styles of music – bachata, merengue, bossa, salsa, cumbia, blues, and rock, among others – Lewis developed his melodic vision and harmonic landscape by merging the Latin territory with rock, blues, and neoclassical rock, giving rise to a new musical spectrum and gorgeous compositions.
In 2015, he played at the Punta Cana Jazz Festival, where he excelled with his fantastic style of playing guitar.  In 2016, he won the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana band content with the Fred Rubin band.  In 2017, Lewis played on the Elvis Presley tribute show with the renowned Elvis double from Las Vegas, Michael Cullipher. In the same year, he was part of the band of the Heat Latin Music Awards celebrated in Cap Cana.  In 2018, he collaborated on the arrangements and recordings of songs by the Colombian artist Gustavo Chaverra (based in Punta Cana).
In 2019 Lewis started to play the bass and record demos of his songs, learning the tricks of music production.  Thus began the journey to make his debut album Combustion, an instrumental record released in early 2021.  Ignited by his distinctive, majestic guitar, the album burns with creativity that melds Rock with vibrant Latin rhythms, Caribbean melodies, and all the passion and incandescence of the Blues guitar.  Lewis is now working on his second solo album while gigging and teaching in the Bay Area.  Lewis teaches private lessons on guitar and bass and also teaches band workshops and group guitar classes.

Richard Michos

A full-time musician since 1995, Richard Michos shares his extensive expertise of all aspects of guitar techniques with students beginning to advanced.  He has performed extensively, locally and internationally, and is an established studio player and music producer.  Originally inspired by classic rock, his education includes music composition and technology degrees from UC San Diego, and he studied jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music in Boston and with virtuoso Tuck Andress.
As a music producer, he has recorded albums for record labels such as Universal, Hearts of Space, Sony Music, and City of Tribes. He is well versed in music from India, as well as other world music styles. In recording, Richard specializes in fusing traditional melodic forms with modern grooves and instrumentation.  His album credits include the groups Shabaz, Georges Lammam, and Riffat Sultana (available on iTunes) who have been reviewed with stars by Billboard and highly rated on world music radio charts.  His music has also been featured on NPR, as well as in Rhythm and Folk Roots magazines. In addition, he has worked with artists including Quincy Jones, Narada Michael Walden, Richard Bona, Cheb Khaled, and has performed at venues such as the Greek Theatre LA, Montreal Jazz Festival, LA’s Grand Performances, and “We are the Future” in Rome. Richard’s solo performances display a rich tapestry of sound and influences, playing a mix of pop, international, latin, light jazz, and classic rock styles.
Richard is available for private lessons (in person on Mondays, online on Tuesdays and other days) in guitar, ukulele, bass, and beginning piano, and also teaches group ukulele.  He enjoys teaching adult students of all levels and loves to work with kids and teenagers as well. His teaching methods include using songs that students like as a vehicle for learning about playing techniques and music structure.
“I love to teach music to all ages and have taught hundreds of people. Every student is different, and I can guide each toward their musical goals. I am a clear, patient, and understanding teacher who is able to meet you where you are on your musical journey, and assist you in expanding your knowledge and mastery of music and the instrument. Usually having a whole lot of fun along the way!” – Richard
What students are saying:
  • “Richard has been teaching my son ukulele and electric guitar for over a year. Richard is a fantastic guitar player and a great teacher. He has a knack for knowing what will keep the child interested and engaged and is willing to be flexible to make sure that his students develop a passion. My son has gone from dreading practice to not having enough hours in the day to play to his heart’s content. He now wants to be a professional guitar player!”

Jasmin Moosavi

Jasmin Moosavi studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and at Marymount Manhattan College for Voice & Performance in New York City. She began recording music, writing lyrics, and performing on stages all over the East and West coasts at a very young age. A musician at heart and an educator by choice, Jasmin is a seasoned vocal coach, acting teacher, musician, and performer. Her formal training as a classical singer is apparent in her musical influences which range from heavy metal to classical opera; Jasmin believes that a true musician has a variety of musical influences. Jasmin works professionally with singers and artists of all genres, including rock, metal, jazz, Broadway, and classical. She helps singers of varying vocal styles to access and maintain their peak abilities in singing and musicianship, regardless of their level of expertise. Jasmin teaches her students how to develop correct singing techniques, apply them successfully, grow creatively, and gain healthy vocal strategies to deliver a skillful performance on stage or in the studio. She has found that the perfect way to combine her love for learning and sharing her passion for music is through teaching. Jasmin can be found performing with her Bay Area-based band.

Kevin Mullane

Kevin Mullane graduated from Columbia College in Chicago with a B.A. in Music.  He has taught students of all ages and levels in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, focusing on the individual student’s development of the skills necessary to enjoy playing the music they love. He has been a performing musician for many years and currently plays guitar and sings lead vocals with the Bay Area bands System 9 and The Nakano Jazz Quintet.
Kevin teaches private lessons (in person and online) in electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, voice, and ukulele, group classes, and band classes, using song suggestions from students as a vehicle to learn about chords, melody, rhythm, song structure, and technique. Students can explore theory, harmony, and composition in a variety of styles, including rock, jazz, blues, soul, funk, folk, and more.  He encourages students to play music on their own, jam with friends, or perform with a band. Whether you want to pursue music professionally or simply develop your skills and have fun, Kevin offers all levels of instruction.

Lucia Pontoniere

A native of San Francisco, Lucia Pontoniere began playing violin at the age of 6. After pursuing classical violin seriously for 10 years, she began to explore other styles of music on the violin, including jazz, Irish, Scottish, and old-time fiddle. Lucia graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Violin Performance and American Roots Music. During and after college she toured the country and recorded albums with her band The Ladles, a space where she began to explore writing songs and playing the guitar. Lucia teaches all styles of violin and fiddle as well as guitar, voice, ukulele, songwriting, and beginner piano. She particularly likes to work with violinists who have mostly played in a classical setting and are looking to explore other styles of music. She loves teaching and her music philosophy is built upon the idea that we should always follow the spark of our creativity.

Janak Ramachandran

Janak Ramachandran has been playing guitar for the better part of four decades and teaching it for more than 20 years.  His acoustic guitar technique is designed to progressively build the skills needed to become a one-man or one-woman band.  With the use of songs specifically chosen for their instructive value, Janak’s teaching approach can take you from your first notes and chords to the complex rhythms, chord progressions, and scale knowledge that can make you a complete guitar player. Electric guitar shares many skills in common with the acoustic guitar, of course, but Janak’s electric approach includes more tailored skill building with regards to both the tools of phrasing (particularly as it applies to single-note lead work) and the aesthetic variety of different chord styles.  Since Janak also teaches voice and songwriting, he is a one-stop shop for anyone wanting to eventually sing and play together, whether learning to create their own music or interpreting the songs of others. 
Janak began his vocal training at the age of six and eventually studied more professionally following college in various styles including Bel Canto and Speech Level Singing.  By combining ideas from these and other vocal schools of thought (e.g., Alexander Technique), he forms his foundational vocal philosophy, upon which he layers his own technique.  He has had success coaching beginning students unable to match pitch to eventually perform on stage as well as guide professional singers in the studio when recording an album.  He has fronted (both with and without an instrument) numerous bands, performed in musicals as well as dramatic and comic stage plays, and developed an acting technique for singers and instrumentalists designed specifically for musicians performing on stage. In 2008, Janak’s band Bottoms Up! was the top cover band in a California battle of the bands competition.  His teaching credits include the children of Todd Rundgren and Linda Ronstadt as well as numerous local musicians in bands like Tainted Love and The Doorslammers, some of whom have studied with Janak for years.
Learn more about Janak at musiclessonguru.comJanak teaches online private lessons in guitar, voice, ukulele, bass, and piano, and group voice and guitar classes online and in-person at Blue Bear.
What students are saying:
  • “Every week is challenging, requiring lots of practice in between, but rewarding because skills that seemed impossible when they’re introduced come easily within a couple weeks. The variety and progression by which skills are introduced simply cannot be reproduced in a self-taught environment & the group setting provides the additional motivation to practice during the week. I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon Janak from the beginning and I highly recommend him to anyone similarly looking to learn guitar from the ground up!” – Forbes H.

Mike Rao

Mike Rao, a graduate of G.I.T. in Los Angeles, studied solo jazz guitar with Ted Green.  He loves blues and classic rock and has three decades of teaching experience.  Mike teaches online private lessons and group classes.
What students are saying:
  • “I had never played guitar before starting lessons with Mike – he even had to teach me how to hold a pick! I have learned a ton from Mike over the years and still look forward to my lessons each week.” – Kathy M.
  • “Mike Rao has a style that is so patient and laid back that you don’t realize how far out he’s pushing you. Then one day it hits you that you just improvised for 16 bars, and fell right back into the rhythm so the next student can solo –on a song that, last week, you didn’t even know how to play!” –Brian G.
  • “Mike Rao has been an amazing guitar/music teacher. When I began lessons with him I was a 48-year-old non-musician. 8 years later I am playing, learning and comprehending guitar far past my wildest fantasies.” – Ian E.
  • “Year after year, Thursday nights with Mike = best hour of my week.” – Brett O.

Leonard Sherman

Leonard Sherman is a talented music teacher and musician who possesses a wealth of knowledge in multiple instruments: clarinet, sax, flute, guitar, piano, bass guitar, and percussion. As a music educator for over 25 years, he is dedicated to helping students of all ages develop their skills and passion for music. With his extensive experience and expertise in a variety of styles, including, jazz, rock, folk, and Latin, Leonard is able to provide a well-rounded education to his students. Whether you are just starting out or looking to improve your skills, Leonard is the perfect instructor to guide you on your musical journey. 
Leonard teaches online private lessons on Wednesdays.

Sarah Summers

Sarah Summers is an SF-born musician and teaching artist who has been writing and performing for over fifteen years. Her recent work includes the studio album Suburb Pony (2021), DIY album Social Moth (2020), and a kids’ song collection The Taking Tree and Other Disasters (2020).
Sarah teaches an online songwriting class.

John Turner

With an early background in trumpet, piano, and voice in concert bands, marching bands, community symphony orchestras, and barbershop quartets, John Turner eventually settled on the keys, touring with national recording groups and working as a session player.  He has also accompanied cabaret acts and played for Top 40 and show bands, upscale restaurants, five-star hotels, corporate events, and private parties.  John teaches only online private lessons
What students are saying:
  • “I am a mid-forties professional with absolutely zero musical experience. I started in November of 2012 and this was my first musical lesson of any form. Although Fort Mason is far for me to travel, I have never considered changing my teacher, because John has an ability to make it interesting and change the lesson based on what you need so that it never gets boring. Even when I feel completely stuck and think I just don’t have the time to devote to it, John finds some way from his wonder tool kit to make me produce a little break through.” – Sabine

Amanda VanderMeer

Amanda VanderMeer graduated with high honors from Portland Community College’s Professional Music Program and has been playing and writing music for twenty-five years, touring the globe and releasing two studio albums. Since 2006, she has taught a wide range of ages in drums, piano, vocals, music theory, and songwriting. She plays drums in her current band Deathtrap America.  Amanda teaches online private lessons in piano, drums, and voice.

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