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.
Christian Collins Guitar Teacher
In a family of military and athletes, everyone knew something was different when, at the age of four, Christian was dancing like a pro to Shania Twain's “I Feel Like a Woman." However, it wasn’t until he was 11 that he decided, due to his Irish heritage, that he would learn the fiddle. During the training videos that came with the violin, he found that holding the violin like a guitar and plucking it like one was much easier than using a bow. He then decided to get a guitar. As soon as he could play four chords he joined a band called Fret 23. Everyone was surprised when three 12-year-old kids would hop on stage at a bar for shows, during breaks for other bands, but they held their own. Over time the band grew and eventually all parted ways. At age 16 he was insistent on learning more instruments than just guitar. Through Stephen T. Badin’s music program he was able to do so very quickly, while at the same time learning how to utilize a digital audio workshop in a small studio. Throughout his last three years of high school he played with an acoustic trio called West November. They played every weekend at bars, festivals, marathons, parties and more. Christian went to Belmont University in Nashville, TN for Audio Engineering and Music Business. Whether he was learning in class or not, the city of Nashville taught him so much about the music industry and himself. While there he played in a skate punk band called Cloud Queens. While playing with them he learned a lot from peers. He left Belmont to return to Cincinnati. Upon his return, long time family friend Scotty Higgins showed him the power and beauty of School of Rock. Once he had seen the program and how it differs from other companies and private instructors, he knew he had to be a part of it. If there is one thing Christian has learned throughout all his experiences, it's that playing in a group and having deadlines for shows is easily the best way to motivate an individual to practice and get better. Now that he is a part of the experience it has changed the way that he sees music, teaching and youth. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Cincinnati.
Matt Holt bass guitar teacher
Matt has been teaching bass lessons for over 15 years, and playing bass professionally for close to 25 years. Originally from Chicago, Matt moved to Cincinnati to attend the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he received a Bachelor’s of Music in Jazz Studies, where, in addition to bass, he studied composition, arranging, and piano. Beyond his formal studies, his education also included gigs with many of the elders of the Cincinnati jazz scene, including John Von Ohlen, Steve Schmidt, Bill Gemmer, and Steve Baronie.
Matt has taught both electric and upright bass and directed bands for numerous schools around Cincinnati, including the Cincinnati Music Academy and the CCM Preparatory Department. Believing that each student has a unique way of learning, Matt works with students to fit their individual needs and learning styles. Over the course of his teaching experience, he has developed a unique set of teaching tools and materials to help students learn and gain a strong footing in musical fundamentals.
As an active member of the Cincinnati music scene, Matt has played in a wide variety of music, including everything from rock, to classical, to folk and Americana. His performance and recording resume includes Cincinnati bands The Grove, Hickory Robot, the Sloes, and Emmy-award winning songwriter Rick Lisak. Matt is currently a member of the jazz trio led by Cincinnati drumming legend Philip Paul, and performs regularly with the Erwin Stuckey Trio.
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