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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Lea Centauri

Lea Centauri has been singing since age four.  She is the author of two vocal programs:  Voicedance for Young Voices and Inner Voice for adults.
 
A mezzo-soprano, Lea lived in Paris for several years, performing and teaching throughout France as well as in other countries in Europe, in Turkey and in 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.  Lea is also a songwriter, and teaches beginning piano.  She teaches only private lessons.

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 students in high-school and adults.  Sharman teaches private lessons and group classes.

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 Ourstage.com, 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 private lessons and group classes.

Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan studied voice from 1977-1985 at Northern Illinois University and at DePaul University.  With experience ranging from traditional and contemporary choral ensembles to singer/songwriter material, Joe has worked with a wide range of vocalists to help them achieve both vocal health and emotional connection in their singing.  Joe teaches private lessons and group classes.

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.
 
Kevin teaches electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, voice, ukulele 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.
 
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.

Janak Ramachandran

Janak Ramachandran has been playing guitar for the better part of two decades and teaching it for more than 15 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.com and secretsofsinging.com.  Janak teaches private lessons in guitar, voice, ukulele, bass and piano, and group voice and guitar classes 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.

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 private lessons and band workshops and is Co-Director of our All Star Band Program.

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