By BandWorks co-founders Jeremy Steinkoler and Steve Gibson
One night in the summer of 1993, we were hanging out after a late rehearsal talking about teaching music. We had each been teaching private lessons for a number of years, and agreed that the biggest problem facing our students was that they didn’t have a chance to play with other musicians. We talked about wanting to create a venue where our students could play together—one where we could offer them the kind of practical, hands-on musical advice that we wished we had gotten as younger players, but had to learn over years of working as professional musicians. What’s more, after a few weeks of practice, our students could even show off their new skills at a live concert in front of family and friends. From that inspired conversation, the idea for BandWorks was born.
After a few months of planning, we set up shop in a small room at a women’s shelter in Berkeley, where we had to move furniture for 20 minutes each class just to make enough room to play - and load in all of the equipment! We started with just six students, whose enthusiasm and rapid progress showed us right away that we were onto something really good. The first BandWorks concert took place in a tiny room at Jackson St. Studios in Oakland, with a packed house of about 25 people. Our students and their families and friends loved the show. We could hardly wait to do it again….
Since then, BandWorks has grown into a substantial community of musicians and teachers. We are now offering classes at a number of locations around the Bay Area, and will soon be opening new locations in San Jose and on the Peninsula. Our summer camp program now includes workshops in CD Recording, Introduction to Rock Band Instruments, Rock Jam, and the Music of Popular Bands, and is offered at several additional locations during the summer months. We offer after-school programs at seventeen different schools in the Bay Area, and plan to expand our school programs to many more communities. Throughout BandWorks’ evolution, we have remained committed to offering a fun and supportive environment for musicians to play in a rock band, meet other musicians, develop their skills, and perform live on-stage. We have made it our priority to offer an inclusive and fun program and to build the supportive community of musicians that has become BandWorks.
We would like to thank all of the musicians who have participated in our program and have helped make BandWorks the thriving community it is today. We look forward to BandWorks’ continuing growth and are committed to maintaining the quality and integrity of our program as our community expands.