Bill Grier Drum Teacher
Bill Grier has been a fixture in our DC area Schools of Rock for over nine years. He started playing drums when he was 13 and living with his family in Taipei, Taiwan and knew he had found his "thing." Bill is a big believer in great mentoring and teaching and he counts himself lucky that he was able to have formal training with Bill Reichenbach, who played drums with Charlie Byrd for years. Bill spent 10 years in Los Angeles playing at famous venues like The Troubadour on Sunset Strip and as a session drummer. He's played around the DC area for the last several years and currently appears locally with the band Cover Story. Bill loves playing drums and teaching drums to the next generation of musicians.
Keith Butler Drum Teacher
Keith Butler, a Winston-Salem, NC native, is a drummer motivated by the tradition and future of the drum set. While at university in Wilmington, North Carolina he studied privately with Thomas Taylor and Michael D'Angelo. Prior to relocating to D.C., Keith was a member of several North Carolina bands including Onward, Soldiers, Mike Blair and The Stonewalls, Justin Lacy and The Swimming Machine, and Temple5. He has performed extensively as well as recorded several albums/projects with each group. In D.C. Keith is a member of two groups, Fiasco and The New World, and works regularly as a sideman for area jazz musicians. With influences such as Art Taylor, Joe Chambers, Tony Reedus and Billy Higgins, he seeks to support the band in any style and push the music forward. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Ashburn.
P'Nut Johnson Bass Guitar Teacher
A DC native, Ricardo "P'Nut" Johnson began his musical journey on the bass in the fifth grade when he received his first instrument, a Sears electric guitar. He enjoyed the guitar but then he heard the bass in Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing" and from that point on he knew he wanted to be a bass player. Hearing of his new obsession, his uncle, a bass player in his own right, loaned him a bass and challenged him to see what he could learn by the time he got back from the road and the rest is history. During his years in the D.C. area, he played with various groups in a variety of styles. He played with the sensational vocal group Prim Degree, the cutting edge gospel group God's Creation, vocalist Gloria Brown and blues great Memphis Gold. In the 90s he toured Europe with the blues legend Memphis Gold. After years of playing onstage he decided to go get his music degree and attended the Music Tech College of Music, now called McNalley Smith, in Minneapolis, MN. After graduation he stayed in Minnesota for 10 years, where he was very active in the music scene and where he taught many aspiring musicians. He played with the blues group The HooDoo Kings, the 12-piece group Arayastone, the reggae mainstay Dred I Dred, the funk band Down with Gravity, jazz guitarist John Penny and a host of others. He is a consummate bass player and works at his craft continuously. In 2007 he attended Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey's Bass at the Beach and later that year he also attended Victor Wooten's Bass Nature Camp. He learned many things at these camps and has integrated them into his playing and teaching. Tired of the cold of Minnesota and homesick for the sights and sounds of D.C., he moved back to the area in 2011. He has played with a number of groups since being back and is happy to be a part of the School of Rock family.
Jessica Flores Studio Manager
Jessica Flores is the Studio Manager who keeps our school running smoothly and oversees the customer experience. In addition to her managerial skills, Jess has been a vocal teacher at a couple of Schools of Rock for many years and has also directed many shows at both School of Rock Silver Spring and School of Rock Vienna. She is well-versed in our programs and understands the School of Rock experience on a deep level and is always delighted to meet new students and their wonderful families.
On the music front, Jess began singing in elementary school, where she gave her first solo performance at the Pageant of Peace with her school choir in DC at age eight. In high school, she was always active in multiple choirs and the musical theater department. She then began classical voice training at Montgomery College, under the guidance of Molly Donnelly, and gained experience in a variety of styles ranging from classical to Latin jazz through multiple collaborations with the Montgomery College World Ensemble and Metropolitan Orchestra at MC. While at MC, she helped institute an outreach program with Wheaton High School, bringing the experience of performing with a professional band to kids who were just starting out in choir. She has also performed with the National Philharmonic Chorale and interned for their Summer High School Choral Program. Jessica is currently finishing up her undergrad at UMBC in Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Education. She performs regularly with her band, Tesla's Cat, where she gets to practice being a rock star. She believes that studying music is an integral part of building stronger communities and well-rounded citizens.
Kevin Dickel Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Kevin Dickel grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia playing guitar in his school’s jazz band and playing guitar and screaming in South Jersey’s hardcore band, Davy Crockett. When he’s not rigging amps and speakers together like Dr. Frankenstein, he can be found trapped in a never-ending game of fetch with one of his dogs. Kevin’s favorite artists include Alkaline Trio, Dillinger Escape Plan, Queen, Black Sabbath, Sleep and SUNN O. Kevin currently plays bass in local cover bands Shut it Down and Earls of Kent. He provides material support for Philadelphia-based artists Holy Mountain and Hafsol, and publishes music under the moniker Church of Pain. He is a guitar and bass guitar teacher at School of Rock Ashburn.
Joseph D'Abate Guitar Teacher
Joe D'Abate is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he graduated with a degree in Contemporary Writing and Production, with a minor in Theory of Jazz and Popular Song. He is also an accomplished audio engineer and was the supervisor of Berklee’s stage crew. Joe has studied/worked with many amazing musicians over his career, including Dweezil Zappa, Hiromi Uehara, Taksim Trio, Kaki King, Elliot Sumner, Steve Vai, Patrice Rushen, Livingston Taylor, Dave Fiuczynski, Kevin Belz, Jon Finn, David Gilmore (Berklee), Joe Mulholland, Dan Smith, Joe Carrier, Loudon Stearns and Chrissy Tignor. Joe is continuing his passion for sharing knowledge and finding interesting ways to help students reach their fullest potential as a guitar teacher at School of Rock Ashburn.
Lena Traynham Vocal Instructor
Lena Traynham was born to sing. Her musician father fostered her love of music and they often perform together. In high school Lena found School of Rock and quickly worked her way up the ranks through House Band. She was a School of Rock AllStar and has performed countless shows. Then, after graduation, she got a golden ticket to be on "American Idol" twice. When she’s not teaching here you can find her singing in her band Conor and the Wild Hunt. She is a vocal instructor at School of Rock Ashburn.
Matt Burridge Guitar Teacher
Matt Burridge is a guitar player and songwriter. He was in School of Rock Ashburn’s House Band and spent four years getting a degree in Music Composition from University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Now he is playing solo and duo gigs regularly around the DC area, as well as playing shows with his band, Pulses, up and down the east coast. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Ashburn.
Laura Bollettino Owner
After running three schools for over 12 years, Laura Bollettino has seen the transformative power of School of Rock programs literally manifest in the thousands of students who have crossed our threshold. Not only the owner, Laura has been a School of Rock parent and knows that feeling of amazement as you see your child blossom on stage. She also saw her girls grow in confidence, leadership and teamwork skills as they developed into amazing musicians throughout their School of Rock years and is so grateful they got to have this experience. In college she studied International Relations and Business and spent over 20 years in the corporate world until she and her husband Jeff heard the call of School of Rock. Now she gets to say her job is inspiring the next generation of musicians to find their voice and express themselves on stage and in life. To know Laura is to see her energy and passion for helping her students and staff grow not only as musicians, but as people too. She adores her "kids” and finds each of them to have their own special sparkle.
Manuel Medina keyboard teacher
Manuel is a Peruvian artist that has been living in the Washington D.C. area for the last 15 years. He began taking piano lessons in Peru at the age of 11 and majored in Music and Music Technology with a minor in Jazz Studies from George Mason University. He has been teaching music for the last 12 years. Besides composing and teaching music, he also writes short stories in Spanish and practices creative drawing.
Emily Nesbitt Singing Teacher
Emily Nesbitt is a classically trained singer with a degree in Vocal Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Emily has performed as a soloist in the United States and Europe. She has sung Countess Almaviva in Marriage of Figaro, Mother Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Mimi in La Boheme, The Abbess and The Maestra in Suor Angelica, Edith in Pirates of Penzance, and Mrs. Gobineau in The Medium. She has also performed the partial roles of Magda Sorel in The Consul, Nedda in Paglicci, Lakme in Lakme, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, and Mrs. Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Emily's ensemble work includes The Gondoliers, Little Women, La Boheme, Suor Angelica, Children of Eden, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Godspell, and Beauty and the Beast. Although her professional endeavors have been primarily classical, Emily is very passionate about rock as well.
Emily's favorite thing about working at School of Rock is getting to teach other young vocalists who are passionate about Rock how to express themselves to the fullest while taking care of their voices. She has taught voice lessons for three years and loves teaching students of all ages and ability levels using her classical background and pedagogical studies to establish a strong technical foundation for her students. In her free time she enjoys playing piano, bass, drums, and guitar for fun and is always looking to learn new things.
Nikki Bellini Singing Teacher
Nikki Bellini began her musical training at age six and has studied music ever since. She is currently finishing up a B.A. as a double major in both Music Business and Songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. She is also a School of Rock Vienna alumni, and was a student for nine years and a House Band vocalist for five.
Nikki has professionally trained on multiple instruments across all genres of music, and has studied both classical voice for 15 years and contemporary voice for 11. During her time at Berklee, she has focused on studying vocal performance, songwriting, and music
production. She has performed in multiple award-winning choirs and is currently a lead vocalist for Berklee’s a cappella group, On The Vox.
She has also gained experience in the music industry through her multiple internships at companies such as Sofar Sounds, Persistent Management, and Rolls-Royce Music Box. As she continues to forge her career in the music industry, she hopes to support and inspire young musicians to always pursue their dreams.
Sam Whetzel Guitar Teacher
Sam has played guitar with local bands for over 9 years. He was also a member of the School of Rock Vienna House Band, School of Rock Allstars Program, and a special “Zappanale” tour in Germany. School of Rock provided Sam countless opportunities to grow as a young musician and to shine on stage. Sam attributes the combination of exploring different music genres and performing them, as the cornerstone of what made his School of Rock experience so unique and fulfilling. "School of Rock has also allowed me to form lifelong friendships with other students, through doing what we love, together.