Would your child (or you) be more motivated to practice an instrument if the music had a beat? Would you rather hear Green Day or Taylor Swift at your child's concert than Mozart or Beethoven?
What follows is a list of local rock band programs for kids that place students into groups based on their age, experience, and availability, which parents identify via an online form or over the phone when they register. Each band in the program has an assigned teacher for the session and a practice room with instruments, including a drum kit, plus amps and microphones to use.
(Looking for more traditional music lessons? Start here: Music Classes for East Bay Kids)
Both school year classes and summer camps tend to culminate in an open-to-the-public performance in a cool venue.
School-Year Rock Band Programs
3 O'clock Rock (Oakland)
Classes are hosted in their own studio and at a couple of elementary schools in Oakland. Students learn to play their rock, pop, and or punk songs, and also make accompanying music videos.
Bandworks (Oakland, El Cerrito)
8-week workshops enable kids can form bands that can continue as long as they want to keep going with the same group. The students collaborate with a teacher to create a set list and work through the songs, culminating in a show. For ages 8-17, but if you are into it, check it out: Bandworks offers adult workshops as well!
Jon's School of Music (Berkeley)
Specializing in the youngest future rock stars, Jon's unique program invites kids ages 1-8 to begin exploring the rock genre through hands-on instrument activity. The class takes place at the clubhouse at Totland in Berkeley, so there's a great place to play before and afterward!
School Of Rock (Berkeley)
School of Rock offers a hybrid of private lessons (also available and sold separately) and group band work. Students in a band group will have a weekly private lesson to focus on their skills to support the band and put on a great show. Rockband work starts at age 8, but School of Rock offers simplified programs for kids starting as young as 3 to introduce rhythm and instruments.
Summer Rock Band Programs
Half-day camps bring kids together to make music with similar age kids. A few themes are available, including music production and beat making, in addition to old-fashioned rocking out.
Price: $295 / week, from 9-12 or 1-4
Ages: 8 and up
Berkeley Band Camp (Berkeley)
Run by two long-time bandmates and music teachers, this workshop runs for only two weeks per summer. Each week the students learn a set of songs, rotating with different kids, and spend the last two days recording their tracks, and finally, performing for the families. Must bring your own instrument. No website for this camp; it's a word-of-mouth thing. If interested, contact Eve Decker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amplify by Girls Rock (Sleepaway Camp – Ojai, CA)
Amplify Sleepaway Camp is an overnight summer camp for girls ages 10 – 16 by GIRLS ROCK, located in Ojai, California, less than 2 hours northeast of Los Angeles in the Topatopa Mountains.
Price: $1695 / week with discounts for longer terms
Grades: 5th – 12th