FAQ

How do I sign up?
Click the REGISTER button on the upper right corner of our website. For specific questions about signing up, contact us via email at info@bandworks.com or call us at (510) THE-BAND (843-2263).

Can I sign up with a friend to be in the same band?
Yes. We encourage musicians to register with one or more of their friends. Be sure to indicate on the registration form all the names of the people you want to be in your band. Also be sure to check with them about scheduling to make sure you are available on the same days and times to rehearse.

Can my whole band sign up?
Yes! Over the years, we’ve had a number of groups sign up who were already playing as bands outside of BandWorks. For bands playing original music, we offer coaching on their material. Some bands like to do a combination of original tunes and covers. We do have a minimum of 5 musicians per group, so if your band has fewer than 5 players, we may ask to add one more musician to the band, or you can split the cost of a 5th registration.

I completed my registration form well before the deadline. How come I didn’t get into a band?
Our mission at BandWorks is to make our program available to as many musicians as possible. In our effort to offer a very high quality experience, we need to balance many different factors in placing students in bands. We consider a variety of factors, including schedule availability, signups and class offerings, musical experience, band instrumentation, age, stylistic preferences and other factors. Occasionally we will not have an appropriate fit for a musician, even if he or she registered early. The more days and times you list on your registration form as available, the more likely we will be able to find the right band for you. In the event that we are unable to place you in a band, we will refund your entire registration fee. We do our best to offer the best musical experience possible for all musicians in BandWorks, and work very hard to ensure that your experience is a positive one. If we were unable to place you in a session, please try again next time!

Do you offer scholarships or financial aid?
Yes. We have scholarships available for those in demonstrable financial need. You can obtain a scholarship application by contacting us at info@bandworks.com or 510-THE-BAND. You can also donate to our scholarship fund now via Paypal:


Can I play my original songs in BandWorks?
Yes. If you’ve written a song and are interested in playing it in BandWorks, be sure to contact us when you register and let us know. We encourage musicians to bring in their own songs, and we’ve found that other band members are almost always eager to play original music written by one of their band mates. We’ll talk with you about putting together a chart for the band, and possibly making a recording for reference.

How are the songs chosen?
At BandWorks, bands play the music they want to play. During the registration process, we ask each musician to fill out a song/band/genre suggestion list, including choices from our extensive song list. Please be sure to take a few minutes to pick songs you like from our list, and feel free to suggest additional songs. We try to balance out the song suggestions we receive to ensure that they are appropriate for each band, considering instrumentation, level of difficulty, variety of the set, appropriateness for BandWorks and other factors. We do try to get at least one suggestion in the set from each band member whenever possible. The more songs you suggest, the greater the likelihood that your band will play one of your choices!

How old do I have to be to play in BandWorks?
We have classes for students as young as 8 years old. We place kids and teens in bands with other kids who are typically within 2 years of age of one another. For adult bands there are no age restrictions.

What if I have no musical experience?
In addition to our classes for experienced musicians, BandWorks offers groups for people with no previous musical experience. Beginning classes rehearse and perform fewer songs in a session but offer more individual attention and help learning basic parts on the instruments. BandWorks is not a substitute for private instrument lessons, and we encourage BandWorks students to pursue additional instruction in conjunction with the songs they are learning.

What if I’m a beginner?
Many beginners with limited experience take BandWorks. They join bands with other beginners, and learn songs chosen to match the ability of the band.

I’m a teenager. Can I play in an adult band?
Yes, if everyone is ok with it, and provided we can place you in a band with musicians at a similar experience level.

How do you place me in an appropriate band without an audition?
We gauge each musician’s experience level by information given on the registration form, and sometimes by phone interview or teacher referral. After 20 years of doing it this way, we have gotten very good at determining the appropriate band for every musician.

What if I don’t read music?
No problem. You don’t need to be able to read music to participate in BandWorks. Many players pick songs up by ear, and with a little help from our instructors, you will be able to learn the basics of following chord charts without having to learn music notation. Of course, reading music helps, and we encourage everyone to learn if possible.

If I signed up to play an instrument, can I sing too?
Absolutely! If there is no one signed up as a dedicated singer, we encourage anyone who is interested to sing the lead vocal part. If there is a dedicated singer, or if more than one person wants to sing, you will at least have an opportunity to sing backup (harmony).

What if I play a different instrument like flute or violin?
We welcome all instruments in BandWorks, and enjoy coming up with creative parts to suit instruments not typically found in a rock band.

Why are there sometimes 2 drummers in the kids’ classes?
On occasion we will have 2 drummers in some of the kids’ classes. During the 8 Week Workshops this will occur when we have drummers who also play other instruments or want to sing. During summer camp, we will have 2 drummers on 2 drum kits. We feel that kids have a valuable opportunity to learn from one another, and we like to be able to offer playing opportunities to as many kids as possible. Many songs also benefit from added percussion.

What equipment do I need to bring?
You should bring your guitar + amp, bass, horn or drumsticks. Also be sure to bring extra strings and cables. We have drums, a bass amp, keyboards, music stands, microphones, and a couple of guitar amps at our studios. You should bring your own amp to be safe.

How much does it cost?
A typical 8-week workshop session costs $395, with a $20 discount for registering before the early registration deadline. Fees include a $100 non-refundable deposit. We will refund your fees in full if we are unable to place you in a band. Fees include charts, lyrics, reference mp3s, concert mp3 recordings and earplugs, as well as a Youtube video of one of your concert songs. Summer camp sessions start at $275 – you can see more detailed rate information here.

What is the refund policy?
There are no refunds after the 2nd class meeting. There are no refunds for missed classes. In the event that we are unable to place you in a band due to scheduling constraints, you will receive a full refund of your registration fees.

Do I get the recording of the concert?
Yes! We record the concerts at Ashkenaz and provide mp3 links to each student a few days after their performance.

Where and when do classes meet?
Please visit the Locations page.

Can I carpool with other band members?
Many parents have asked us about carpooling with other kids. Before the first class, we email out a contact list with the info for each musician enrolled in the current BandWorks session, including their phone numbers and emails. You are encouraged to contact members of your band to see about sharing a ride if you need to.

Can you offer BandWorks near where I live?
At this time when there is declining support for the arts in our schools and communities, we believe that BandWorks fills an important role in providing music education and recreation for children and adults. We appreciate your help spreading the word about BandWorks and are committed to helping people have more, and better, experiences playing music Please contact us at info@bandworks.com or call (510) 843-BAND (2263) so we can work together to bring BandWorks to your community.

How are the summer camps different from the 8 Week Workshop sessions?
Our series of one-week summer camps are currently for kids and teens only. Summer camp programs meet for three hours each day – in morning or afternoon sessions – for five consecutive days, culminating in an in-studio concert on the final day. The 8 Week Workshop sessions are available to kids, teens and adults. Our Workshop sessions meet weekly for two-hour rehearsals for eight consecutive weeks.

How do I get to your studios?
Please see our Locations page for specific directions to each BandWorks location.