Anna Grace Travis Rookies Teacher, Rock 101 Teacher
Anna Grace Travis plays bass guitar as a primary instrument, but started her love of music on the cello in elementary school. She is a recently graduated School of Rock student, having been on B-Team for three years as well as a three-time Allstar. Currently on a gap year, Anna Grace graduated from Stanford Online High School in June of 2020 and hopes to pursue a major in political science when she enters college - but still plans to make room for playing music and gigging nonetheless.
Ahmed Garcia Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Born in NYC in the summer of love, Ahmed Garcia was uprooted and taken to Austin, Texas where he was expertly raised by a pack of Austin belly dancers with his mother, the great belly dancer Lucila leading the way. His exposure to music and the arts was early and took effective shape during the 1980s when Ahmed was given his first guitar, a red Gibson 'Flying V.' Ahmed’s first band Aftershock quickly became a staple in Austin’s early metal community. Aftershock would later morph into the legendary Austin metal band Hurlant. This was Ahmed’s brain child and everything reflected Ahmed’s early musical views, expressions, talents and genius. Ahmed would go on to play pivotal roles in dozens of other bands and projects such as Nemisis 24,Holly Street, Anger Mgmt, Eshta and more.
His current offspring is a fusion band called Muse Oasis in which Ahmed and company have taken the best of his both worlds, belly dancing and heavy metal, and have melded them into a seamless world expression of power and peace, dance and steel. According to “Reverbnation” Ahmed Garcia is a proficient acoustic artist who has earned many accolades for both live and recorded performances. Ahmed, having mastered a little known instrument called a glistintar, is an artist of profound experimentation.
Christopher Barnes Singing Teacher, Drum Teacher
Born and raised in Texas, Christopher gained his love of music at an early age. Like many southern children, he started singing in the local church choir. He didn't have much of a choice since his mother was the music director of the church. With his skills honed, he joined his family's gospel group and started touring. They would eventually find themselves singing on BET and other channels. After he caught the bug for performing, he joined the middle school band and started playing percussion. He would go on to play through high school and minor in music at Stephen F. Austin State University. Now living in Austin, Christopher has played with many bands with genres ranging from Metal to Soul. He is happy to spread his love of music and performance at School of Rock.
Danny Blanchard Drum Teacher
Danny Blanchard is a professional touring and recording drummer, originally from Merced, CA. He began in the middle school drum line at the age of 11, and continued throughout high school, performing in a state-champion drum corp and jazz band. Upon graduating he moved to Los Angeles and began playing and recording constantly, eventually embarking on his first tour as a hired musician with indie rock band Let's Go Sailing at the age of 19.
In 2008, Danny moved to Austin, Texas where, at the age of 22, he joined the band Wiretree. During his time with Wiretree, he went on his first European and Asian tours and experienced commercial recognition. He is currently a member of Sweet Spirit and A Giant Dog. Both play all over the US and Europe to sold-out audiences. With each step in his career he continues to learn and grow along with his craft and aspires to continuously impart his knowledge to the next generation of musicians. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Austin.
Dave Chell Music Director
Dave's life in music began with the French horn (providing a formal education) in 1988 and then transitioned to the guitar in 1990. By the winter of 1991, at age 11, he was playing in local clubs and bars with The Shadows (playing all of the hits from the '50s and '60s). He estimates playing "Mustang Sally" at least 3,217,488 times (in front of an audience of at least 10 people) by the age of 15.
After spending two years playing guitar in high school jazz band he left all that and headed for the greener pastures of his very own...punk rock band. Said band ended up doing several small tours on behalf of a "basement record label" (opening up for acts such as Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, and Local H).
Four years at North Dakota State had Dave playing in several Fargo area bands and relocating to Chicago in 2007 provided a rebirth for his love of jazz and blues.
Dave moved to Austin in 2010 and immediately joined several bands (making no money to start out with...like most do). He started at School of Rock Austin in early 2015 as a substitute drum instructor and has played "SOR JOB TITLE BINGO" ever since.
He's seen success most recently with his own band, Heavy Dose, and even filled a guitar slot for the Eagles Of Death Metal at a one-off show in 2019.
His influences include Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses), Cheap Trick, Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), Malcolm Young (AC/DC), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Chuck Berry, and too many hip hop artists to name.
Dave Thacker Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Singing Teacher
David started playing music back in 2005 at the age of 15 right here in the live music capital. Heavily influenced by jazz, soul and funk, David has fronted and played in a variety of bands since then, ranging from psychedelic jam bands where a 40 minute song wasn’t uncommon, to more straightforward rock and roll and lots in between. David plays keys, guitar, bass, drums and sings, but considers himself a keyboard player primarily. He believes that there is something specific and unique each instrument can teach you about music and thinks it’s never a bad idea to pick up another one. David currently plays keyboards in the Austin-based band Honey Made.
Garrett Dean Rock 101 Instructor, Assistant Show Director
Garrett began playing guitar at age 10 and quickly started his first band, playing events at his elementary school. A year later, he enrolled in School of Rock Austin. He was a student for seven years and a member of the B-Team. He has performed hundreds of times with School of Rock and his own bands across several states and multiple festivals. After high school, Garrett moved to Boston and continued studying the music industry. He worked in a recording studio and helped produce dozens of records for local artists. He has extensive experience working with kids, from camps to teaching music lessons at community centers. Now he’s back in Austin continuing his musical journey, while helping others begin their own.
Ian MacDougall Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Ian was born in San Jose, CA and moved to Dallas, TX when he was 14. He got his first guitar for his 15th birthday and spent the following summer indoors playing along to records from bands like X, The Clash and Dead Kennedys. At the age of 18, he grabbed the attention of established Denton, TX punk band The Riverboat Gamblers. One phone call later he found himself joining the band and embarking on his first national tour the summer after graduating high school. In 2005 the whole band relocated to Austin, TX where they currently reside. Ian toured all over the world and recorded with The Riverboat Gamblers over the next 10 years. In 2006 they were listed by "Spin" as one of 25 Greatest Live Bands to see.
After a decade on the road, Ian made the move to the production side of the music industry, starting as a runner to quickly making his way to becoming the assistant tour manager of The Foo Fighters. He traveled internationally with the band over the next few years. Over this time he befriended and began working for Grammy-nominated recording artists Band of Horses. Ian was eventually invited to join the band full-time as lead guitarist and has been performing with them internationally ever since.
Jamey Simms Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Jamey Simms' first instrument was the trumpet at the age of eight years old, which began a formal education in music for him. Jamey started playing guitar three years later in 1984. He also played the horn in concert, marching and symphonic band, and the guitar in jazz band, making the All State Jazz Ensemble in 1990 on the guitar. Jamey attended Kansas State University and studied further under Mike Brown from Harlem, NYC.
Jamey was a founding member of the international recording band Tia Carrera, and has been leading his own group in Austin as well as being a professional hired guitarist for several styles of music. Jamey has toured regionally and nationally and has been based out of Austin since 1996. His influences on the guitar are Ritchie Blackmore, Chuck Berry, Keith Richards and Jimi Hendrix as well as other musicians that do not play guitar such as Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Jackie McClean and Keith Moon.
Jason McMaster Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher
Starting with progressive thrash pioneers Watchtower, Jason has carved out an impressive body of work. Best known for his work with Dangerous Toys, Jason continues his legacy with the riff masters, Broken Teeth. Jason has been inducted into "The Austin Chronicle" Texas Music Hall of Fame and the South Texas Music Walk of Fame. Jason is also a vocalist for the power metal band Ignitor, modern thrash metal band Evil United and progressive metal project Howling Sycamore. Jason also plays in several tribute acts: Sad Wings (Judas Priest) and Killa Maul (Metallica). Over 20 CD/album releases, and probably a million miles logged on the road, Jason brings a wealth of experience to School of Rock.
Jerry Renshaw Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Jerry Renshaw has been playing guitar since the close of the Pleistocene era and has done everything from math-rock metal to rockabilly, roots-rock, chicken-pickin' country, Texas swing and jazz. He's toured, done studio work and knows enough about guitar to know that he'll never know everything.
Keith Laudieri Drum Teacher
Originally from New England, Keith Laudieri is now an active drummer and educator here in Austin, TX. He started music lessons at age eight and went on to play in jazz, marching and concert bands in high school and college. He believes education and practice are the best ways to keep what you're doing fun, fresh and exciting. A lifelong learner himself, Keith has studied with Joe Morello, Mike Clark, Peter Erskine, Bobby Hutcherson and several other respected musicians.
Keith has spent 20+ years professionally teaching, touring and recording, and has become an integral member of the jazz, funk and soul communities. Several national and international tours later, Keith brings his knowledge to the students at School of Rock Austin as a drum teacher.
Marielle Bardon Rookies Teacher, Rock 101 Teacher
Marielle is an Austinite, born and raised, and she’s always doing her part to keep Austin weird. Born into a musical and artsy family, her first memories are of her harmonizing to Frank Sinatra and The Beatles in the car with her parents. At age 10, Marielle started her first band, Checker Board, and scored a couple of gigs at a hotel along with making appearances at various local open mics.
While in this band, Marielle and her band mate attended a performance camp at School of Rock Austin over the summer to help with their stage presence and meet other musical kids around their age. She quickly fell in love with the bass and performing and has been a part of School of Rock Austin ever since. She was in the program as a student for six years, performing extensively with The B Team, and then moved on to teaching in 2017. She now teaches Rookies, Rock 101 and is an Assistant Show Director.
Outside of the school, Marielle is involved in bands of various genres including folk metal and hardcore, but for her, as long as the music has a groove, she will play anything. Her other interests include ballet, sculpture, painting and fashion design/costuming. She is also pursuing an Associates Degree in Visual Arts at Austin Community College.
Nick Hughes Drum Teacher
Nick began drumming at age nine after seeing a rock show. One of the drummer’s sticks went flying into the audience. Nick caught it and started banging. The drummer summoned him onstage, asking if he was a drummer. “No,” Nick said. The drummer told him to hit his drum. “Harder!” he said, and Nick followed. “Even harder!” Nick hit it with all he had. “You’re a drummer now!”
Nick attended the University of New Orleans on a music scholarship, graduating in 2011. After graduating, Nick played locally and toured extensively, performing all over the US, Europe and Mexico, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In 2016, Nick moved to Austin and gained an appreciation for country music, brisket and Buc-ees.
Olivia Stout Rookies Teacher
Olivia Stout is a native Texan and former School of Rock Austin student. She has been singing from a very young age and joined the Austin school at the age of 13. She then joined the B Team as a vocalist and played gigs such as ACL, SXSW, House of Blues Dallas and Summerfest in Milwaukee. Olivia is currently majoring in Public Relations at the University of Texas at Austin, and plans to make a career in music publicity. She is a Rookies teacher at School of Rock Austin.
Paula Maya Vocal Instructor, Piano Teacher
Paula Maya is a Brazilian pianist, keyboardist, singer, songwriter and band leader. She is a recording artist with six CDs released and songs in several compilations with artists such as Jimmy Cliff and Carolyn Wonderland. In 2016 she was nominated for Best Brazilian Musician living in the US by the Focus Web News International Press Awards. Her band was voted one of the Top Ten World Music Bands in 2015 and 2014 in "The Austin Chronicle" Music Awards. Paula attended the Federal University of Music in Rio de Janeiro for Classical Piano and received a Music Theory Program Certificate from the Brazilian Conservatory of Music. She studied jazz piano, improvisation and harmony with the great pianist, composer and arranger Luizinho Eça (The Dolphin). Paula studied voice with Maestro David Kyle (Ann Wilson) and Mady Kaye (Zach Theatre). Paula has performed with dozens of bands in a variety of music styles, from rock to reaggae, salsa, samba, soukous and more. She is a vocal instructor and piano teacher at School of Rock Austin.
Sara Houser Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Singing Teacher
Sara has been playing piano since she was seven years old. She studied classical and jazz all through high school at the Charleston County School of the Arts. Her senior year she was awarded a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, where she graduated as a Songwriting major, piano principle. In 2009, she moved to Austin, TX to ditch piano (temporarily) and start playing electric guitar. Sara fronts and writes music for her own band, Lowin, which premiered at SXSW in 2014. She has appeared as a vocalist on records by Spoon, Golden Boys and Walker Lukens and in 2018 joined Golden Dawn Arkestra as a singer, vibraphonist and synth player. She’s been a teacher at School of Rock since 2015.
Travis Foster Singing Teacher, Piano Teacher, Drum Teacher
Travis Foster has been a professional musician since 1998. He plays drums, guitar, lap steel, bass, keys and sings. He is a graduate of Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (’94) and Berklee College of Music (Professional Music ’98). Travis played guitar and drums in "Blue Man Group: Live at Luxor" in Las Vegas. He has performed with Carmine Appice, Peter Stroud, Liberty Devitto, Jeff Carlisi, Derek St. Holmes, Jim Peterik and others. He began teaching music in 2005. For the last three years, Travis has been touring the United States as a drummer and harmony vocalist with the Ian Moore Band.
Travis Woodard Drum Teacher
Travis Woodard has been a member of the Austin, TX musical and teaching communities for many years, and is a founding staff member of the Austin School Of Rock. Along with his teaching responsibilities at SOR, Travis enjoys his career as an in demand professional drummer and band leader. He has worked with many notable Texas artists, including Gary P. Nunn, Charlie Robison, The Derailers, W.C. Clark, Rusty Weir, Jason Allen, and Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars. Travis also leads his own 16-piece ensemble, The Gladiators Big Band, which he founded in 2016. When he is not working, he can usually be found with his wife and daughter, in the hill country just outside Austin, tending his herd of Mongolian goats.
Vin Mott Vocal Instructor, Drum Teacher
Vin Mott has been a musician all his life. Growing up in New Jersey, Vin was involved with every musical class offered throughout middle school and high school. After high school, Vin went on to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree of Music focusing on Songwriting (class of 2011). He found himself playing drums in a rock band called Rack Em Let's Go, which toured extensively on the jam band circuit in the North East US. In 2013 Vin moved back to NJ and formed his own band (as the lead singer/harmonica player), The Vin Mott Blues Band, and began booking gigs at every bar and venue that would have him. While heating up on the local circuit, he also began booking national tours around the country, playing extensively in the South and also in CA and all over the North East. Vin released two full-length original albums under his own name, "Quit the Women for the Blues" (2017) and "Rogue Hunter" (2019), both of which received national and international radio play and reviews in top blues publications, and landed him high profile festival gigs. Today, Vin is still hustling as a band leader/singer/harmonica player, booking tours, recording his own original blues music, and building a reputation for his authenticity, vintage sound and entertainment chops. He also freelances as a drummer, mostly working with blues, rockabilly and swing groups. In January 2020 Vin relocated to Austin, TX to continue to grow as a blues artist. He is a vocal instructor and drum teacher at School of Rock Austin.
Yamal Said Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
The first time Yamal Said can remember wanting to be a part of rock and roll was when he was five years old. One day Yamal found a KISS record left at his house by one of his uncles. As he looked with amazement onto the cover, he remembers thinking to himself, "I don’t have any idea what this sounds like or even what it is, but I know I absolutely want to be a part of it." Yamal eventually convinced his parents to buy him a guitar when he was about 14. They wouldn't buy him a drum set, giving the excuse it would damage his hearing. He finally got his hands on a drum set a few years after originally asking his parents for one. He taught himself both drums and guitar by listening to artists like The Ramones, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and imitating what they were doing.
Yamal joined a band the week he got his first kit. He has been in bands ever since. His love of rock has grown over the years and gives him a feeling of pure freedom. He has been in multiple bands and doesn’t see himself stopping anytime soon. Yamal is proud to be a part of School of Rock Austin and loves teaching his students how to play the drums, keys and guitar.
Zeke Zimmerman Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Singing Teacher
Zeke was born in Austin to local jazz vocalist Tina Marsh and trombonist Randy Zimmerman, and has been immersed in the growing music scene his whole life. Though piano was his first instrument, he picked up the bass at the age 18 and hasn’t put it down since. He studied music and dance at McCallum High School's Fine Arts Academy and Texas State University. His biggest bass influences are John Paul Jones, Jack Bruce and Bootsy Collins. His tenor voice is heavily influenced by Robert Plant, Ian Gillan and James Brown. Zeke currently plays bass in the funk group The Holy Child and has also been working as a bassist and vocalist in various cover bands that travel around Texas.