Scott Higgins General Manager
Scott Higgins’s love for music started early in his life. He started playing guitar when he was seven and performing with bands at 13. He is primarily a guitar player, but also plays bass and sings. Scott honed his management skills while attending the University of Cincinnati and managing local restaurants. Before joining School of Rock Cincinnati as our General Manager, Scott was a very active performer and loved recording music with his friends.
Scott started with School of Rock in 2012 as the Assistant General Manager at School of Rock Mason. In 2016, he was promoted to the role of General Manager. Scott’s passion for music and desire to share it are evident when you talk to him. He is committed to bringing the gift of music and performance to the local community.
Ryan Hickey Guitar Teacher
Ryan Hickey grew up in Cincinnati within the city’s west side. The development of proficiency, knowledge, performance and recording has been his focus over the course of years playing in bands and ensembles around the tri-state area. His accomplishments as a musician and artist are accompanied by a B.S. in Biological Sciences, an influence in his teaching style that prioritizes critical thinking and problem solving with respect to logical, physiological and mechanical perspectives. However, Ryan is not convinced that there’s a gene for blazing guitar solos, and would be happy to challenge the idea of natural talent with an effective teaching plan. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Cincinnati.
Kristen Kreft Singing Teacher
Kristen Kreft is a singer/songwriter and front woman of her original band The Perfect Children, winner of the 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Best Blues Band, and seasoned backing vocalist both in the studio and with several local and regional bands. She combines her musical theater roots with folk, blues and rock n’ roll rawness, adding in the soul and nuances of jazz and R & B to round out her unique and powerful vocals.
While not on the mic, Kristen is a teaching artist using the power of music and creative expression to enrich the lives of children and adults of all abilities. Kristen is honored to be a private vocal instructor, teacher for the Little Wing and Rookies music programs, as well as general music teacher at Holy Trinity School in Bellevue Kentucky through School of Rock. She absolutely loves her job as a Performance Band Director at School of Rock Cincinnati. Kristen also teaches general music for pre-K through third grade at The New School Montessori, in addition to being a teaching artist with Skoolaid focusing on music and movement, creative expression and songwriting. She has previously worked with Dramakinetics and the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center as a drama and music and movement instructor. Kristen has designed curriculum for Skoolaid and the Cincinnati Arts Association, as well as Artists on Tour, with her creative expressions and songwriting and recording programs. A graduate of the American and Musical Dramatic Academy in New York City, Kristen values music appreciation and music as an alternative expressive language, not only sonically, but as a full body and visual experience. She is also a vocal instructor and show director at School of Rock Cincinnati.
Nic Powers Bass Guitar Teacher
Nic Powers has been involved in the Cincinnati music scene for over 20 years. Nic began writing songs at 14 years old, played in punk rock bands as a teenager, and in his 20s moved on to playing in some indie rock bands. Nic has played with local bands pictureshow, Kasparov, The Sweep and New Strange. Nic currently is the singer/songwriter and front man of the band Static Falls. He also currently plays bass guitar in The Perfect Children. Nic is also writing songs for a recording project with Joe Klug of the band Wussy. Music has always been the main focus of Nic's life and he loves being a bass guitar teacher and Rock 101 teacher at School of Rock Cincinnati.
Mark Becknell Drum Teacher, Music Director
Mark Becknell is a true musical renaissance man. He is music educator, a studio musician and a veteran of the Cincinnati and national music scenes. Mark keeps very busy as a singer, songwriter, drummer, guitarist and more. His current main project is singing lead vocals and playing steel pan with his original Caribbean/world music group, The Queen City Silver Stars, who have been nominated four times for the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in the Reggae/World Music category. Mark is also very active in the polka music community nationwide as a part of The Klaberheads, a Cincinnati-based touring German Oktoberfest band. During his long career as a musician, he has played with such great bands as Frontier Folk Nebraska, Josh Eagle and The Harvest City, Freewill and The Swarthy Band. In addition to performing live, Mark also maintains a busy studio schedule playing both drums and percussion for numerous recording sessions of all types on a regular basis. As a Music Education major at Miami University, Mark honed a wide variety of musical skills, including marching band percussion, indoor drum line, wind ensemble, percussion ensemble, African drum and dance, and steel drum band. He uses his education background to assist at Walnut Hills and Mariemont Schools with their marching band drum line, indoor drumline and rock band programs. Mark has been a part of School of Rock Cincinnati since its opening, teaching private drum lessons and leading several summer rock camps and the current White Stripes vs. Black Keys show. With his 30+ years of experience with percussion performance and instruction, Mark is able to offer training that helps beginner, intermediate and advanced players. Mark has the knowledge to teach the proper foundations of the drums. Being a professional musician, he can also offer his students real world experience in preparation for their next concert, show and live performance. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Cincinnati.
Julianne Webb Singing Teacher
After studying voice and piano privately since age 10, Julianne Webb attended the University of Georgia, transferring to the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio, where she graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance. She has held positions throughout the country with various opera and musical theatre companies, including at the Kentucky Opera, Music Theatre Louisville and Cincinnati Music Theatre (CMT), as well as in professional choirs, such as the Vocal Arts Ensemble here in Cincinnati. She has also performed as a solo and concert artist throughout the US. For the past 18+ years she has enjoyed seasonal work with a professional quartet (Dickens Carolers) in private clubs and hotels around town.
Julianne has also taught privately since March of 1997, first at the Musical Arts Center in O’Bryonville for 13 years, then at her home studio (Webb Studio of Music). She joined the School of Rock team in 2015 and now is a vocal instructor at School of Rock Cincinnati. Her teaching style for both vocal and piano/keyboard lessons incorporates her classical training and applies this technique to all styles, from rock to pop, jazz to musical theatre, and everything in between. Julianne tailors her teaching to each student’s individual needs and levels while incorporating music theory, all within the School of Rock mindset and curriculum. Julianne lives in Landen with her husband, two children and rescue dog Stella. Her favorite artists include Incubus, Barenaked Ladies, A.F.I., Cowboy Mouth and Maroon 5.
Mike Troyer Guitar Teacher
Mike Troyer started playing guitar and taking lessons when he was nine years old in southern Indiana. He then went on to play with friends and bands in basements, garages and small venues all the way through college. The music ranged from polka to punk, but he has always favored blues, rock n' roll and alternative music. Family and profession (in his case, scientific research and teaching) took him in many different directions, but Cincinnati has now become his home base to connect with other local musicians. Mike’s children first enrolled at School of Rock, and then later he joined too. Mike is now co-director of our Adult Performance Program and helps Adult Band members quickly prepare for live, onstage shows at local area venues. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Cincinnati.
Danny Manning keyboard teacher
Danny Manning is a professional musician who has toured extensively and worked with artists from the bands Journey, Toto, The Romantics, Santana, Tommy Tutone, Kansas, Los Lobos, Ben Folds, Boston and many more. He holds a BA in sax with secondary emphasis on piano from Alderson Broaddus University and an MM in Conducting from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Locally he performs on keys, sax, and vocals with The Tuna Project, Sunburners, Leroy Ellington and Just Strange Brothers and tours nationally and internationally with The Philip Myers Band. His professional musical directing credits include RAGTIME, AIDA, CHILDREN OF EDEN, TOMMY, WONDERFUL TOWN, FUNNY GIRL and more. He is the past director of the Xavier University Singers and former Assistant Band Director at Walnut Hills High School.
Aaron Jacobs Bass Guitar Teacher
Aaron Jacobs, along with teaching bass at the School of Rock, is the bass instructor in both the Jazz and Commercial Music Departments University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music, where he also holds Undergraduate and Masters degrees in Jazz Performance. He freelances on upright and electric bass, playing styles ranging from jazz, rock/pop, latin, bluegrass, and classical music and has performed throughout North America, South America, and Europe. At present, Aaron plays in various groups around Cincinnati including the Phil DeGreg Trio, Just Strange Brothers, Hickory Robot, The Bluewater Kings, Braza Trio, John Zappa's Now Hear This, Rick VanMatre Quintet, the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, and makes regular appearances with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Kentucky Symphony, Airwave, and Playhouse in the Park.
Aaron has performed with numerous international artists, including Randy Brecker, Wayne Newton, Greg Tardy, Benny Golson, Conrad Herwig, Ignacio Berroa, and Lou Soloff. He has also recorded extensively in Cincinnati with artists such as Rick VanMatre, Phil DeGreg, Brent Gallaher, John Zappa, and Mandy Gaines and for nationally renowned recording studios Sound Images (now Gwynne Studios), WGUC Studios, and Group Effort. Aaron has won two Cincinnati CEA awards with Eclipse Movement (best hip hop band) and Northside Jazz Ensemble (best jazz group).
Gwenn Brown Drum Teacher
Gwenn Brown started out playing in her school band and taking private lessons in fifth grade. She continued her training in drum line, jazz band, and orchestra throughout high school and college. She minored in Music Education and received a B.A. in Biology at Indiana University. She also has an MBA from Xavier University, which she achieved while working in the medical research field. She taught high school drum lines through college and post college. She has been teaching private lessons for 20 years and has had students ranging from preschool to adult. Gwenn also teaches the handbell and chime choir at Saint Ignatius School. She plays in a band called the Rock-it Scientists. With her training in education and her experience performing in a rock band, she can help students with music for school band, jazz band, or drum line while also helping them prepare for a performance. Gwenn lives on the Westside with her husband Tom, her three children (Kevin, Conor and Claire), and their rescue dog, Hannah.
Tom Schneider Keyboard Teacher
Tom Schneider has been a professional keyboard player for nearly half a century.
In the early '70s he played Fender Rhodes and Hammond organ in "Winfield", a local band performing Beatles and Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers and Doobie Brothers, Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire, etc., as well as light jazz.
During the Disco years, he completed his master's degree in education at Xavier University, then spent much of the '80s sailing the world as a cruise ship pianist.
Returning to Cincinnati, he played solo piano in restaurants, bars, and casinos. Since 2013 he has been the pianist of the Philip Paul Trio, performing regularly around town.
In nearly twenty years of piano teaching around Cincinnati, Tom has enjoyed helping his students experience the joy of getting inside the music, and releasing the music inside them.
Austin Bartle Guitar Teacher
Austin Bartle has been playing music for 11 years. He became interested in playing music at 15 years old when he borrowed his older sister's ukulele out of boredom. By his 16th birthday, one of Austin's friends offered him an electric guitar and amp in exchange for his birthday money - a deal that he happily accepted. A friend of his taught him the intro riff to Enter Sandman and from there he began a self-taught musical journey. Eventually he tackled music from bands that he enjoyed and he quickly moved on to writing his own music as a method to learn.
At age 24, Austin auditioned for the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media and was accepted into their guitar performance and music production program. For 1 year, he spent every day in classrooms learning from professional musicians about scales, chords, theory, and sight reading. In performance class, he learned how to play and cooperate with a band in a variety of styles like rock, funk, jazz, soul, progressive rock, and pop. Austin completed the guitar performance program and spent the next year in school learning how to record, engineer, produce, mix, and master music at a professional level from professionals that worked with huge stars like Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Ludacris, NSYNC, Usher, Jennifer Lopez, and Shakira.
During Austin's two years of school, he studied extensively with three private teachers who truly took his guitar playing and musicianship to the next level. He created the artist name Bartalien and released an album, Historical Successor. Austin is looking forward to spending time practicing and developing everything he was taught and to continue writing his own music, go gigging, teach others, and continue learning from every musician that he can!
Edward Bruker Guitar Teacher
Edward (Shredward) Bruker is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter that specializes in guitar and vocals across many genres and styles, as well as having gorgeous hair.
Starting to write an eclectic catalogue of songs as a teen, Shred quickly developed a love for recording music that turned into a career goal alongside mastering the guitar.
While in school for audio/video production Shred got his foot in the door at a few local studios as a Studio Guitarist and second engineer.
Joining the touring southern funk/country band Pure Grain, Shred played hundreds of gigs in front of crowds of 100k+ opening for Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, The Zac Brown Band, JJ Gray and MoFro, and many others. Pure Grain released 2 albums with Shred that are available on any streaming platform.
Asked to fill in for a fellow 6-string sorcerer in the Cincinnati based heavy psychedelic rock band Lemon Sky, Shred quickly found himself playing lead guitar and singing harmonies for the band.
Lemon Sky focused on songwriting and recording quality as well as touring regionally. A self made machine, Lemon Sky’s members kept the band alive by being the bands manager, tour manager, recording engineers, video editors, merch creators, and bus drivers all on their own.
Lemon Sky has released 2 full length records and an E.P. that are available on any streaming platform as well as a few music videos.
Now Shredward teaches and directs at School of Rock Cincinnati and plays in cover bands for events around town.
Lindsay Travis Singing Teacher
After 13 years in the Big Apple, Lindsay is returning to her midwestern roots! Cincinnati born-and-raised, she studied voice, musical theatre, and viola at the School for Creative and Performing Arts and earned B.A. from Northern Kentucky University's Theatre and Dance Department.
In NYC, she went on thousands (literally thousands) of auditions for Broadway, tours, and regional productions, attained membership in Actor's Equity Association (the professional union for performing arts). Favorite rolls include, Val in A Chorus Line, Laurey in Oklahoma, and under-studying (and going on for!) Sandy in Greece. Lindsay's classical training and musical theatre experience gives her a unique passion for vocal health and proper technique. Singing should be fun and never forced!
On her days off you'll find Lindsay chasing after her three young boys and teaching them the lyrics to "Bohemian Rhapsody" (both the original and the muppet version). Favorite jams include CCR, Earth,Wind & Fire, and Sam Smith.
Andrew Karas Drum Teacher
Andrew has been playing the drums for 28 years and has been on many stages playing many different genres of music. With an open mind, he is passionate about working with students to improve their playing no matter what the genre is. He utilizes many techniques learned from his amazing teachers, as well as a constant barrage of new ideas to keep it fresh.
Andrew's experience dates back to junior high, when he subbed for his older brother's drummer in a high school band challenge, playing some difficult progressive grooves, some in odd time signatures. He went on to play in bands of many genres including Surf Metal, Heavy Blues, Old School Funk/Soul, Jazz Fusion, Psychedelic/Jam Band, Country/Rockabilly and professional Cover Bands. He won a CEA Award in the Blues category, recorded for many album projects (one release on Vinyl), and signed to a record label.
His patience and open-mindedness encourage students to learn what they want to learn, at their pace, with offerings of new concepts to help them expand in ways that seemed improbable when they started.
Dixie Karas Singing Teacher
Dixie Karas is a Cincinnati native, working full-time in the music industry as one of the Queen City's most powerful singers. Well known for her uniquely passionate and dynamic voice, she brings energy to any live or studio setting. Dixie gives every audience an amazing experience, effortlessly leaping from soothing melodies to fierce soulful deliveries. Her commanding presence connects with listeners in a way that makes them a part of the magic.
She has performed on albums and commercial projects for these production companies and studios:
Counterpart Creative Studio
Jean Ann Ryan
Group Effort Studio
Madison Park Productions
Ligosa Sound Systems
Dream Stand Video & Print
Jay Gilbert Productions
Steve Hoskins Music
Tom Shriver Drum Teacher
Tom Shriver is a veteran in both senses of the term: a veteran musician of 37 years experience and counting, and a 20-year veteran of the United States Air Force Bands, where he directed USAF rock bands in Japan and Germany as well as Ohio. He began his career in 1984 with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and in 1987 became the WVSO's Principal Timpanist. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education in 1988 and his Master's Degree in Applied Music in 1990 from Ohio University in; he also played in various rock groups at this point in his life, most notably The Toys.
After a five-year stint as Assistant Band Director/Percussion Instructor at West Virginia State University, Tom won the USAF Bands audition and enlisted in October 1995. His travels took him to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; Yokota AB, Tokyo, Japan; and Sembach AB, Germany; at all three assignments, Tom played in symphonic and jazz bands as well as directing and playing in various USAF rock bands. Tom is also a prolific music arranger, having transcribed well over 700 charts, mostly rock and jazz charts, for USAF bands over his career.
Tom retired from the USAF in 2015 and has been teaching lessons and directing shows ever since. He and his wife of 30 years, René, have three adult children and two cats, all of whom have an attitude.
Mason Daugherty Bass Guitar Teacher
Mason Daugherty is a bass teacher who's been playing professionally in a myriad of genres since 14. He holds a degree in Jazz Bass from Morehead State University and is currently pursuing his Masters at CCM. His expertise includes both electric and upright. He is very excited to be joining the team at School of Rock.
David Parks Drum Teacher
A career-musician for over 25 years, David’s professional career began at the age of 18 touring with The Van – Dells. This experience would catapult him onto the country and rock music scene in Nashville, Tennessee, playing 3 to 4 gigs each day in the city’s legendary venues. Soon he joined ranks with touring artists and his professional experience grew to consist of live and nationally televised appearances (including New Year’s Eve in Times Square and The Grand Ole Opry), recording sessions and touring of the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe.
Working with Casey James (of American Idol), David has also performed live and in-studio with artists: Jason Michael Carroll, Derek St. Holmes (Ted Nugent), Tommy Skeoch (formerly of Tesla), Henry Lee Summer, LoCash, Craig Wayne Boyd, Steel Magnolia, Ty Herndon, The Beat Daddys and Little Milton.
David is the Co-founder of The Nashville Drummers Jam (an annual event held in Nashville, Tennessee to honor legendary drummers and raise funds for charities), David’s reputation and hard-work have grown the event to garner notable alumni, such as: members of the band Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, Ray Luzier (Korn), Troy Luccketta (Tesla) and Pat Torpey and Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big). Participants who have contributed to the event are Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Phil Collins , Neil Peart, Stewart Copeland and many others.
David is also the co-founder of the band Resist & Bite, an original rock group that has gained international recognition with the 2020 release of their debut single and video: The Myth I’m Livin’. Working with renowned producer Michael Rosen, Resist & Bite recorded their first album early this year. The album is set to release in 2021.
Seen in Modern Drummer, Drumhead, and DRUM! magazines, David is also sought after as a guest on numerous podcasts for his in-depth knowledge of the craft and music industry. His extensive background ranges from performing in the marching band drumline as a teen, to playing local shows, arenas, stadiums and studio sessions all over the world.
An instructor for over 20 years, David has taught beginner, intermediate, advanced, adult and professional students. Requested by elementary music teachers, high-school band directors and professional artists alike, he tailors each lesson to the student’s level to help propel them to the level they wish to reach. Students enjoy a fresh and down-to-earth approach, one that encourages them to ask questions and creates an environment where they feel empowered to achieve their goals.
Stephen Schwarz Drum Teacher
Stephen (pronounced Stef-en) Schwarz has been a drummer for what seems like his his entire life. He started playing drums at the age of 10, when his sister and her band would leave their equipment he would sneak in and play their drums. Stephen’s parents finally got him his own drum set when he was 17 and he never looked back. He has been playing professionally since that time and still currently plays with three local bands. Stephen has played with some of Cincinnati’s largest touring bands including Prizoner, Relics & Bad Habit. He also owned and operated the best drum shop in the area. Stephen’s teaching style is a bit unorthodox as he is self-taught, but his technique and style are both well developed.
Allison Moll Singing Teacher
Allison hails from the mean streets of NKY but has lived in NYC for the last 16 years. Music, especially singing, runs deep in her family DNA and she has been singing publicly since she was 4 years old. Most of her childhood she was known as the youngest of The Monroe Sisters and sang all over Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois. Knowing her love of music and singing she joined any choir she could, her favorite being Show Choir and singing with her Jazz Band in high school which led to her getting to sing all over Europe when she was 16. Growing up a preacher’s kid she dreamed to grow up and be Amy Grant. She has performed on multiple stages, churches, clubs, bars and parks. She also enjoyed every musical she could audition for and loves winning lottery tickets to Broadway shows but tries hard not to sing along.
Allison most recently has served as the Creative Arts Director at Forefront in NYC leading bands and singers. As well as working on her own recording project, she also has had the privilege of singing BGVs on more than a dozen projects and loves working in recording studios. She loves the process of learning a song and working with multiple people to create a beautiful sound and emotion. No matter how long it takes. After working with a vocal coach in her late 20s she realized the great need for stretching her voice and confidence. She constantly talks about her high school choir director and music mentors that saw something in her she hadn’t and would have never seen herself. They pushed her to not only be a better musician but to see singing in a whole new holistic way. But she also credits 8 years of piano lessons and her oldest sister for her love of harmonies as she would always demand she sing the melody so Allison and her other sister had to find the harmonies. Now she loves teaching them.
Allison has a deep love and connection to singing and finds her joy and passion there. She believes music can bring people together like nothing else can. She and her husband and son have just returned to their roots in Cincinnati which is where they met and married. She has 4 kids all who are incredible musicians and loves singing with them. She had a dream to be the next Partridge Family so she is crossing her fingers that her son, Ellis, will be the drummer that will complete the band. And that they aren’t embarrassed to jam with her.
Blaik Podracky Guitar Teacher
Blaik Podracky has been playing guitar for 13 years. He grew up with music all around him. From a very early age, he would drive around with his grandparents playing The Beatles and The Stones and other music of that golden era of art. His dad introduced him to the music of the ’90s that really spoke to him as a young musician, bands such as Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Oasis, Pearl Jam, and Third Eye Blind.
When he was 10 years old, his grandfather got him his first guitar for Christmas and his dad got him guitar lessons at a guitar shop down the street from where they lived. Blaik started taking lessons from Jim Woodie who taught him how to play guitar and bass. Blaik was around the age of 12 when he fell in love with the surge of emo music coming out at that time. Artists such as Paramore, My Chemical Romance, The Used, Taking Back Sunday, and Escape The Fate.
At age 15 he moved to go to a different high school where he fell in love with Jazz and joined the Jazz band playing saxophone and guitar. He attended a British invasion camp at School of Rock and it changed his life. That was his first experience playing in a band and he is still friends with some of those fellow students today. Around this time, he started going out to live music around the Cincinnati area like going to see Jazz at the Greenwich or local bands playing at the Thompson House and Fountain Square. Warped Tour was a big staple in his life.
When he was a Sophomore in high school, Blaik auditioned to attend Butler Tech School of The Arts the following year. He was 17 when he started attending Butler Tech and it was a pivotal moment in his life. Playing in bands and performing live at the school would teach him things that he would carry for the rest of his life. His teacher Joe Jahnigen would become his mentor, and teach him to excel in rhythm guitar and bass in the genres of Rock and Jazz. Blaik graduated from Butler Tech in 2017 and after a gap year, he attended college at Recording Workshop where he learned how to record, mix, and master. He returned to Cincinnati and started recording and mixing local artists as well as doing session work, playing and doing live sound for Christs Chapel Church. Blaik is excited about teaching for School of Rock and helping young musicians find their voice.