Guitar Gods

Foggy SF summers can stifle kids' raucous summer activities outdoors, so what do kids do instead? They learn to rock, of course. Four amazing rock and roll schools for kids teach them the importance of self-confidence, letting go of inhibitions and the power of music:

- Bay Area Girls Rock Camp - You may have seen the recent documentary "Girls Rock!" which was filmed at the founding Girls Rock Camp in Portland. The success of that program has sparked the creation of many other Girls Rock Camps across the country, including this one. Through lessons, workshops and a final performance of all the camp bands at Bottom of the Hill, the camp "strives to challenge gender stereotypes, encourage collaboration and tolerance among peers, and provide a comfortable space for people of all backgrounds to express themselves."

A benefit for the BAGRC will take place this Sunday, July 6 at Hotel Utah, presented by SonicLiving and The Owl Mag. Emily Jane White, The As-Ifs and The May Fire will perform, with a DJ set by Loquat. The show starts at 7pm.

And the big event, the showcase of 13 camp bands each playing one song, will take place at Bottom of the Hill next Saturday, July 12. The show starts at 3pm and costs $10-15. Come support these rockin' girls!

- Saturday Morning Rock Out - The amazing Lynne and Brian of Tartufi, along with local comedian/musician Paco Romane have created a giant rock band of kids ages 4-7 called The Owies. During the course of the class, the kids will take ownership of their band, and "collectively they will name the band, write lyrics, develop a melody and arrangement, rehearse, design album art, and eventually perform the song at the cd release party held on the last class." Summer class runs July 12 to Aug. 16, and classes are an hour and 15 minutes on Saturdays. Check out the website for more details.

- Paul Green School of Rock - This comprehensive, nationwide school of rock offers kids the opportunity to learn to play music by doing it. From the first day, the kids are playing instruments, and soon they are performing in local venues. "Shows are picked for their educational merit and content (for example: Queen teaches harmony, punk develops performance and stage presence and Zappa offers a crash course in musicianship)." Regular school starts in September, but the school offers week-long Summer classes. You can email them for more information, or visit their website.

- I'm With the Band - This Berkeley program, founded by Tamra Engle, allows Bay Area kids ages 6-17 to play and record their own music in a band environment. Because of the music programs being cut in many Bay Area schools, Engle founded this program as a way to keep the benefits of music in kids lives. They are currently planning their annual fundraiser, and are looking for volunteers and accepting donations. More info on the MySpace page.