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Our Experienced Music Instructors

School of Rock has experienced music instructors

Our Experienced Music Instructors

School of Rock Ashburn’s music teachers are experienced musicians devoted to helping students attain musical proficiency. From singing to drums to guitar, our Ashburn music instructors inspire and teach students to perform live.

Tara Uncles Singing Teacher

Recent graduate and NOVA native Tara Uncles has been singing and performing for most of her life and attained a B.S. in Music Production and Recording Arts from Elon University. During her time in college, she participated in various ensembles such as playing guitar in marching band, singing in Jazz Band and Elon's Electric Ensemble (which focused on more contemporary pieces including originals) in order to expand her versatility as a vocalist and performer. She also is an avid songwriter and has arranged several songs for her ensembles while at school. Under the direction of several voice teachers over the years, Tara has trained in classical and contemporary music. She utilizes many aspects of her professors' guidance into her own teaching style by creating a balance between fundamentals of classical voice training and contemporary performance style to blend and allow for the voice to grow and develop as lessons progress. She emphasizes the importance of basic vocal training in order for the students to create their own style and grow into their own voice.

Kevin Elam Piano Teacher

A multi-faceted musician, Kevin has been studying and playing the piano since age five. The piano has always been his central passion, and, although he plays guitar and other string instruments as well, he believes the piano is, of all the instruments, the one most capable of being a full vehicle for musical expression. Needless to say, it is his favorite tool for exploring the musical realm, whether in composition, improvisation or performing written music. Kevin enjoys all genres of music and is currently majoring in Jazz Studies at George Mason University. He studies piano with renowned DC-area jazz pianist Wade Beach.

When not teaching at School of Rock or practicing, Kevin can be found performing at various DC Area restaurants, bars, weddings and church functions, and he sings and teaches voice too. Kevin has a keen interest in singing and has performed as a soloist with GMU choirs. Along with his interest in jazz, Kevin enthusiastically pursues Irish traditional music, and performs with Irish bands in the Northern Virginia area.

Kristina Gray Singing Teacher

Kristina has been playing music since she was eight years old. She started off as a guitarist in the "Inmates are Running the Asylum" show at School of Rock, then started singing during the Ozzy Osbourne show. She auditioned for House Band multiple times and finally made it in as a vocalist. After a two-year tenure, she graduated high school. She is now attending NVCC and is planning to transfer to Shenandoah University to study nursing and music therapy. She loved being a part of the School of Rock family for six years and is glad that she gets to continue being involved with the program!

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.

Brad Macpherson Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Brad Macpherson is a long time School of Rock teacher, director and fan. He can be found riding the desk, fixing gear, jamming with the kids or directing the supreme Ashburn House Band. He has been gigging around the DC area for the last 15 years in bands that cover a wide spectrum of genres, including metal, hard rock, blues, funk and symphonic music, including Halfway to Concord, Clarksdale Station, The Mids and The Washington Chamber Music Orchestra.

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.

Michael Persons Guitar Teacher

Michael Persons is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, with a Bachelors in Music Production and a specialization in guitar. He has over a decade of experience playing guitar, among a number of other instruments, in performance and professional settings. He is well-versed in music theory and song writing.

Kurt Buona Studio Manager

Kurt grew up in a musical house. His father went to the Air Force Academy and played trumpet in the drum and bugle core and the love of music flowed. Kurt grew up playing piano and trumpet. He made the transition to guitar as a teenager, studying classical, rock and blues, and has been playing ever since. He has a deep love for all music genres and history and is always studying the old and the new. Always evolving and learning with a true passion, Kurt has taken on day-to-day operations at School of Rock. Now a father of three, he understands the importance of starting children in music at a young age and with the right kind of training, and where they feel free to express themselves musically and creatively.

Audrey Harris Piano Teacher, Singing Teacher

A lifelong singer, Audrey recalls fondly his earliest singing memory was in the children's choir at his grandmother's church. Even in elementary school, Audrey was always asked to sing at school events. This continued through high school and led him to pursue music performance in college. He started his first group consisting of a guitar, drummer, horn player and himself. They regularly performed on the local radio station's "The High Low and Hot Show" in his home town of High Point, North Carolina. Audrey received a music scholarship to North Carolina AT State University where he studied with Frank Boulware of the Manhattan School of Music. A versatile performer, in college he sang roles in "Show Boat," "Man of La Mancha" and various other shows and operatic arias of the classical and romantic periods in addition to various rock and jazz bands. Audrey was invited to sing in the master class of George Shirley (Metropolitan and International Operatic tenor) and has performed master classes at the North Carolina School of the Arts. In the course of his career Audrey spent time in New York and sang with Voices Inc., the East Side Singers, and for the bi-centennial performance of "US," a musical tribute to America's first 200 years. He also performed in an off-Broadway pilot of "New Breed is Now the Seed." Audrey has continued to sing with a number of small ensembles locally and has found his passion in teaching the next generation of vocalists at School of Rock.

Andy Reed Drum Teacher

Andy has been playing drums since age seven, and in a professional capacity has been actively gigging and playing live shows for about a decade. On top of touring with the pop-rock group Rhett Repko, studio work with Spanish hard rock band New Order of Existence and session work on the side, Andy strives to be a voice in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia music community. His best words of advice for up-and-coming musicians is simple: practice whenever you can. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Ashburn.

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.

Alex Houston Piano Teacher

Alex Houston has a huge passion for music and kids. She has been playing the piano for 18 years and she was classically trained for 10 years, training with Betty Reed. She has also been teaching piano for the past seven years. Alex Houston also has her Bachelor's Degree in Education. Through her background in education, she learned that children are unique and learn at different paces. Her teaching style is centered upon this. She teaches each child with the goal of them reaching their personal best. In addition to piano, Alex also plays guitar and sings at open mic nights throughout Northern Virginia. In high school, she participated in several musicals, solos and an honors vocal ensemble. Since then she has performed in many worship bands and writes her own music.

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