Music Lessons: Guitar, Drums, Bass, Piano, & Voice

music lessons

Free Trial Lessons

Our staff come from a whole variety of musical backgrounds and are versed in everything from classical, jazz, and folk, to punk, rock, and metal. Their professional experience in guitar, piano, drums, voice, and bass allow for flexible lessons catered towards each individual student, and the opportunity to get instruction in the fundamentals of their instrument in their particular style of interest. Be it drum lessons, guitar lessons, voice lessons, bass lessons, or piano lessons, the RiverCity staff is delighted and excited to work with any student – young or old, novice or advanced – to help them feel comfortable and confident in their instrument(s).

Not quite sure whether or not music lessons are something you’d like to dive into straight away? No worries. Come and give us a visit - the first lesson is on us. We’ll pair you up with the teacher who best matches you or your student’s skills and interests, and we hope that you’ll keep playing music with us! Schedule Your Lesson Today!

Gibson Announces Slash as First Ever Global Brand Ambassador

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash has been named Global Brand Ambassador for Gibson, the company announced on Aug. 15. He is the first to receive the designation in the guitar maker’s 100-plus year history.

As part of the new role, Slash will develop new products for the Gibson Custom, Gibson, and Epiphone lines. The musician has been aligned with the company for the last three decades.

Please read the full article on Variety here.

Back to Cool: Now Enrolling Fall Music Classes & Music Lessons

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RiverCity Rock Star Academy combines excellence in music education, performance, and fun each and every day. Check us out and join our community.

Make Back to School Cool Again

We offer music classes for Kids, Teens, and Adults of all skill levels. From first-time beginner musicians to advanced accomplished players and singers. We have 6 programs to choose from Pop Rocks (ages 5-7), Young Rockers (ages 8-14), Rockers (ages 12-18), Legends of Rock (ages 10 -18) AC/DC, Black Sabbath, & Led Zeppelin, Royals (performance band-audition only ages 14-20), and Renegades (adults ages 21+). We also offer private lessons in guitar, bass, drums, piano, ukulele, and vocals. Check out the RiverCity difference. 


You too can be a ROCK STAR!

Music education, performance programs, private lessons, summer camp, and workshops for kids, teens, and adults. #rockacademy

Join us for an awesome Bowie tribute!

Come out and listen to our Royals perform at Keizer Rapids Park Amphitheater starting at 6pm, A food truck and Gilgamesh Brewing will be on site. 🏼‍⚡️#rockacademy #rocksalem

Summer Blowout 2 Party - All Ages at The Space August 31, 2017

summer mix tape show

The RiverCity Rock Star Academy Summer Mix-Tape Session will play their season ending show along with sets by the Royals and Renegades on Thursday, August 31st from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The Space Concert Club at 1128 Edgewater Street NW, Salem 97304. ALL AGES UNTIL 9:00 p.m.

Royals Open For Heroes & Rebels: A Tribute to David Bowie Show

heroes and rebels bowie tribute show

The RiverCity Rock Star Academy Royals will open the Heroes and Rebels: A Tribute to David Bowie show next Friday, August 11 at 6:30 PM - 9 PM with their own set of Bowie songs. This show is free and features many of Salem's top musicians playing a great set of David Bowie tunes. Keizer Rotary Amphitheater at Keizer Rapids Park. 1900 Chemawa Rd N, Keizer, Oregon 97303

Live Your Rock 'N' Roll Dreams With Us! Rock School for Adults

renegade adult program rock school

Ever dreamed of playing in a rock band? Miss your days of playing in a band? If you answered yes to either question, we have the solution to making this a reality this Fall. Join our Renegade Program for Adults 21+ is the perfect place to start playing music again in a real band with professional instructors, friendly people, supportive environment, and most of all have fun with music. Learn fast and play the music that you know and love then perform a couple of shows for your family and friends.  Sign up before August 15th and SAVE 15%!  Enroll Here

Rockers Salute the UK This Fall - Sign Up Now!

rockers fall 2017 uk promo

Announcing our Rockers theme for Fall 2017 - Starting Tuesday, September 12th, the Rockers program will focus on bands from the United Kingdom from the 60s through today! Covering bands and artists such as The Who, David Bowie, Judas Priest, Radiohead, The Clash, The Beatles, The Kinks, Arctic Monkeys, Def Leppard, The Cure, and Queen, just to name a few! Intermediate and advanced skill levels. Ages 12-18. Enrollment also includes a 30-minute private lesson. Sign up before August 15th and SAVE 15%!  Enroll Here


Ayana Rose.png

Early College High School (Fall 2017) 
RiverCity Rockers
Guitar and Vocals
Started at RiverCity Rock Star Academy in September 2016

When did you start playing music and why? 
I started playing guitar when I was 10 years old. It was a time when my dad was starting to have some struggles in life and it was my outlet.

What is your favorite song you've ever played at RiverCity? 
My favorite song I've played at RiverCity is 'My Sharona' by The Knack because it has been a song that everybody wants to get up and dance and sing-along to and I love to see that when we play it.

What do you like about RiverCity?
I like the people at RiverCity. The teachers and students are like family and the students are friends that I would have never have met if it wasn't for RiverCity.

What are your favorite bands/artists right now? 
Right now? It's hard to answer that questions because I like a tremendous amount of bands, but a lot of them I only like a few of their songs. So it's hard to choose a band.

What things do you like to do when you're not at RiverCity? 
I love going on adventures in nature - swimming, hiking, getting lost in a forest overnight - I love it all. I think what I really love is jumping off cliffs 40 feet high.

Young Rockers Program for First Time & Beginner Musicians Ages 8-14

The Young Rockers Program is geared towards aspiring and beginner music students ages 8 to 14. Young Rockers experience the RiverCity Rock Star Academy’s unique methods of combining weekly band rehearsals with a private lesson in an instrument of their choice — guitar, drums, bass, piano, and/or vocals. Students learn music fundamentals, theory, and techniques by focusing on chords, scales, notes, rhythm, riffs, rudiments, and more by learning songs that they know (or at least their parents do) in a fun, active and supportive environment. During the 12-week program, students will learn rock and pop songs from the last 60 years of contemporary music such as The Beatles, Nirvana, Green Day, The Ramones, Rolling Stones, and other great bands and artists. The Young Rockers develop a playlist that builds confidence, comfort, team skills, and music fundamentals. Enrollment also includes a 30-minute private lesson. Sign up before August 15th and SAVE 15%!  Enroll Here

Pop Rocks Returns This Fall for Ages 5 to 7

pop rocks promo

The Pop Rocks Program is geared towards young, aspiring and beginning music students ages 5 to 7. During the 6-week program, Pop Rock students will explore music in a comfortable, non-intimidating, creative, and expressive social atmosphere centered around enjoying contemporary pop and rock music of the last 60 years. Pop Rocks focuses on the foundations of music such as rhythm, sound, basic music theory of notation, tempo, pitch, dynamics, timbre, song structure, and developing listening skills. Students explore a variety of accessible instruments, as well as vocal activities with an emphasis on active, participatory, dancing, and movement exercises. Pop Rock students will learn about the history of modern music and will also engage in a number of artistic and creative activities during the session. Students can continue the Pop Rocks Program multiple sessions and will be prepared for more formal music education. Sign up before August 15th and SAVE 15%! We have two different classes to offer, Thursday's 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Enroll Here OR Saturday's from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Enroll Here


Mackenzie Rolf.png

Junior (Fall 2017) at South Salem High School 
RiverCity Rockers
Keys and Vocals
Started at RiverCity Rock Star Academy in September 2016

When did you start playing music and why? 
I started playing music when I was four or five. I started trying to play songs on the family piano that I heard on the radio. I think I started singing a few years later when a family friend gave me her old karaoke machine, which I loved to death. Music has always been a big part of my life, but I started playing both out of curiosity and because it was something I enjoyed.

What is your favorite song you've ever played at RiverCity? 
I think my favorite song I've played at RiverCity would be 'Bennie and the Jets' by Elton John because it was one of the songs that challenged me in both piano and vocals. The vocals on that song were ones that I'd never have imagined being able to do beforehand.

What do you like about RiverCity?
RiverCity is a very welcoming environment, regardless of your age or skill, which I like. I've met some of my best friends through RiverCity, and the teachers have helped me accomplish things that I never would have been able to do before RiverCity.

What are your favorite bands/artists right now? 
At the moment, my favorite bands would have to be Mons la Hire, Royal Blood and Cage the Elephant.

What things do you like to do when you're not at RiverCity? 
When I'm not at RiverCity, I spend a lot of time at the library because I volunteer there and I enjoy reading. I also write a lot for my school's paper.

Sign Up Now for Legends of Rock! AC/DC, Black Sabbath, & Led Zeppelin

summer mix tape

This season our Legends of Rock Program will feature three bands we are calling Monsters of Rock: AC/DC, Black Sabbath, & Led Zeppelin. We will be working with these three bands as a group to ensure parts for all performers and vocalists and make it accessible to all students. These three bands are the quintessential influences of hard rock, blues rock, metal, stadium rock, and more that continue to influence bands today. This 12-week legend of Rock Program is for kids and teens ages 10-18 from beginners, intermediate and advanced students on instruments including guitar, bass, piano, drums and vocals This program will focus on one legendary band in Rock and will meet every week to learn, study and perform a diverse catalog of songs written by that band. Students will be instructed and guided through the history of the band, the members, and equipment they used. At the end of the 12-week program, the students will perform for their family and friends at a local venue. This program is on Saturday's from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and the cost of tuition also includes a weekly private 30-minute lesson as well as a preview and a final season show. Sign up before August 15th and SAVE 15%! Enroll Here


Ayana Rose.png

Freshman (Fall 2017) at South Salem High School
RiverCity Rockers
Started at RiverCity Rock Star Academy in January 2017

When did you start playing music and why?
In 4th grade, I started playing in elementary school orchestra as an after-school activity, which gave me more time to hang out with friends and hopefully prepare me for future (more exciting) instruments. I then began taking bass lessons around my 7th-grade year, but never felt completely interested. It was the same thing week after week, practice this drill for a few hours a day and you'll be a great bass player in 10 years or so, and it seemed extremely discouraging. RiverCity Rock Star Academy has interested me since day one and I know even if I don’t practice a song as much as I should or am having trouble with my ‘baby-like’ fingers, I'll always have friends and teachers behind me.

What is your favorite song you've ever played at RiverCity?
My favorite song to play is by far ‘Big Fatty’ by Hazel. It's a fast baseline that forces me to saddle up and work on those calluses.

What do you like about RiverCity?
What makes RiverCity Rock Star Academy great to me is friends and teachers that work with you and have fun at the same time.

What are your favorite bands/artists right now?
Currently, my five favorite bands (in no particular order) are Spoon, Band of Skulls, Presidents of the United States of America, Saint Motel, and Foo Fighters.

What things do you like to do when you’re not at RiverCity?
I swim every day (except Tuesdays) and eat. And eat some more.

Big Week at RiverCity! 🎸🎤🎹🤘🏻

rockfest 2

RockFest 2 @ Capitol Saturday, July 8th, 3:00 pm - FREE!

We continue our FREE end of Spring season show this year at the Oregon State Capitol's Wilson Park (flag area on west side of the Capitol). All of our bands perform the songs they have been working on for this past season: Young Rockers, Legends-Green Day, Rockers-1970s, Royals, and our Adult program the Renegades. Enjoy the sun, shade, park, beautiful Capitol grounds, Food Truck (Island Girl's Lunchbox) and rock and roll! More Info Here! 

orange amp rivercity rockstar academy

Summer Programs & Private Lessons

Our Summer Session begins Monday, July 10th with a new season of our Adult Program and then Tuesday, July 11th we start our Summer Mix-Tape Mini Session for 8 weeks. This program is for students ages 10-18 of all abilities for guitar, drums, bass, piano/keys, and/or vocals. Summer also is a good time to start or continue with private lessons. We provide lessons for all ages and abilities for guitar, bass, drums, piano, vocals, and ukulele. Sign up for a FREE TRIAL LESSON or book the entire Summer. Enrolled students receive special pricing for continuing private lessons. Lessons are available Mondays, Tuesday,s Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays! 

Fall Season Programs Announced

We begin our Fall Season Saturday, September 9th with our Legends of Rock Program which will focus on the Monsters of Rock: AC/DC, Black Sabbath, & Led Zeppelin for ages 10-18. Our Young Rockers program for beginners ages 8-14 begins on Monday, September 11th. Our performance band the Royals, will have auditions for advanced musicians ages 14-20 on September 11th. The Adult Program for Ages 21+ called Renegades for beginner through advanced musician begins later that Monday evening September 11th. The Rockers program ages 12-18 will focus on Bands from the United Kingdom from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s through today on Tuesday, September 12th. All of the programs are 12-weeks in length and include a final season show in December. We are also happy to announce that Pop Rocks will be back due to popular demand for ages 5-7. This 6-week program will be offered on Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (9/14 - 10/19) and also on Saturday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (9/16 - 10/21). As always, private & group lessons are available for guitar, drums, bass, piano, vocals, and ukulele. Legends of Rock, Young Rockers, and Rockers include a weekly 30-minute private lesson in addition to band rehearsal in the cost of tuition. Pop Rocks, Renegades, & Royals programs do not include a weekly private lesson in the cost of tuition but we offer this at a substantial discount. For all of our programs, we provide discounts for families, payment in full, and referrals for our programs. Keep rocking Salem!


2017 Graduate of South Salem High School
RiverCity Royals and previously Rockers
Guitar, Bass and Vocals
Started at RiverCity Rock Star Academy in February 2015

When did you start playing music and why? 
I started playing guitar in 2014 because one of my best friends encouraged me to learn and play with him and I thought it'd be a fun experience.

What is your favorite song you've ever played at RiverCity? 
My favorite song I've played at RiverCity is ‘Evil Friends’ by Portugal. The Man.

What do you like about RiverCity? 
I like all the amazing teachers and students who have a shared passion for music and excellence. Everyone is helpful and encourages you to be the best you can be, resulting in some pretty stellar music.

What are your favorite bands/artists right now? 
My favorite band has always been The Beatles, but at the moment I'm partial to Grouplove, Kaleo and Jimi Hendrix.

What things do you like to do when you’re not at RiverCity? 
When I'm not at RiverCity I enjoy staying as active as I can while balancing schoolwork and other activities; usually distance running.

Summer Rock Camp 2017 Highlights

Last night our Summer Rock Campers completed the camp week with a show at Shotski's Pizza. It was a great week of music and fun. The students learned how to play rock songs ranging from AC/DC. The Kinks, Green Day, Weezer, The Rolling Stones, and also wrote and composed three original rock songs. The campers learned how to record their original songs and you can listen here. In addition to all of this they created a music video, created custom t-shirts, buttons, and concert posters. 

RiverCity RockFest 2

rivercity rockfest 2017

Free Concert

All Ages - 5 Bands - Food Truck at the Beautiful Oregon State Capitol's Wilson Park

The season ending show featuring all of the RiverCity Rock Star Academy program bands including the Renegades, Young Rockers, Rockers, Legends of Rock - Green Day, and Royals will be performing a FREE, ALL AGES and OUTSIDE show at Wilson Park next to the State Capitol Building! Concert starts at 3:00pm so bring your chairs or blankets and enjoy the music!

Bands featured include Rush, Kiss, The Cars, ZZ Top, Green Day, Journey, Pixies, Chuck Berry, The Ramones, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Black Sabbath, The Commodores, The Kinks, Dead Kennedys, and The Beatles, just to name a few.

Please welcome our newest music teacher Kaylee Bonatakis!

Kaylee Bonatakis is a versatile percussionist, currently residing in Salem, Oregon where she freelances as both an educator and performer. Passionate about youth empowerment through music, she worked for Music Across Oregon, an Americorps outreach program that provides underserved rural communities with quality music education. As a performer, she specializes in chamber music and has a fondness for promoting and expanding the contemporary percussion literature. She currently plays with Salem-based bands The Center Mass String Quartet and MARC & the Horsejerks. Kaylee holds an M.A. in percussion performance from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a B.M. from the University of Central Florida.

Kaylee is available for private lessons in drums and percussion.