Cleveland West
School of Rock

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Cleveland West

Our Experienced Music Instructors

School of Rock has experienced music instructors

Our Experienced Music Instructors

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

General Manager

Louie Novotny General Manager

Louie is a working Cleveland musician as well as School of Rock Rocky River’s General Manager, and School of Rock Cleveland’s Sales Manager. Louie has been with the school since 2009. Louie is the bass player for local rock act Hot Ham & Cheese, which has also toured regionally and nationally. Louie also holds down bass duties for the acoustic/cover act Duo-Ish.
Drum Teacher

Joe Stefano Drum Teacher

Playing drums since the age of eight, and playing in rock bands steady since the age of 11, Joe has been a part of the music scene for 20 years. Dabbling in all genres, he is well-versed in funk, jazz, reggae, afro-cuban, drum corps and is deeply rooted in rock. In high school, he was the recipient of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award in 2001, and was the percussion section leader in marching band. He has played in various groups such as Detagoh, The Recent Vintage, Drop Notion, Switchblade Scarlett, The Stereo Riot and many more. One of the original staff members at both the East and West Side School of Rock, Joe loves teaching music and gives students every bit of knowledge that he can.
Singing Teacher

Scott Heisel Singing Teacher

After a few years of dabbling with each discipline, Scott Heisel began seriously studying both voice and percussion at age 12. In high school, he was forming bands and playing gigs while also touring North America and Europe every summer with the professional boychoir Kantorei and being active in his high school's choral, band and jazz programs. Accepted to Augustana College on a vocal performance scholarship, Scott continued to study voice under Dr. Angela Hand as well as perform in the world-renowned Augustana Choir and Opera@Augustana, in addition to playing in multiple jazz ensembles and combos. (Also, he once won his college's version of "American Idol" and still has the oversized check for $1,000 in his basement to prove it.) In addition to pursuing music performance, Scott is an accomplished music journalist, previously serving as an editor of national music magazine "Alternative Press" for 10 years and currently contributing to a number of arts and entertainment publications. Locally, Scott can be found hosting and DJing various parties all around Cleveland.
Guitar Teacher

Griffin Pereksta Guitar Teacher

What do you get when you mix elements of classic rock, funk and Weird Al Yankovic? You get Griffin Pereksta. He decided he wanted to play guitar after hearing Angus Young from AC/DC play on the “Live at Donnington” recordings. His affinity for classic rock grew when he heard Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. With time he branched out to funk with influences like James Brown, George Clinton and a different kind of P-Funk with The Red Hot Chili Peppers and their punk-funk. Naturally after hearing the funk you just want to get groovy, so Griffin picked up the bass and drums. After high school, he graduated Cuyahoga Community College with a degree in applied sciences from the Recording Arts and Technology program. Griffin currently is playing with The Whiskey Hallow and The Tim Moon Band.

Tallulah Swasey Assistant Manager

Tallulah knew music would be a huge part of her life when she got her first Toys R Us guitar at age six. Joining School of Rock as a student three years later, she began to love all sorts of music- anything from Weird Al to Green Day and The Beatles. Somewhere down the line, she decided to give drumming a try. Playing drums not only opened her up to more metal, funk and classic rock, but also spurred a passion that caused her to be more outgoing and confident in being herself. Since graduating as a student, she now plays solo and in bands in a variety of genres such as punk, indie/rock and even country.

Neil Chastain Drum Teacher

A drummer, percussionist and educator, Neil Chastain has been around the Cleveland music scene for many years. He's performed with notable acts such as Roberto Ocasos, Latin Jazz Project and Craw. Neil has also toured internationally with New York-based group Kokolo. Neil performs on many hand percussion instruments and creates electronic music under the name Pureplex.

Taylor Lamborn Singing Teacher

Taylor has been writing and playing music professionally since 2012. A veteran of Cleveland's local music scene and a true road warrior, Taylor has collaborated with artists both locally and internationally. She has significantly evolved her sound over the years between many independently organized tours and recording three albums, "Honest Enough" (2012), "Take Me" (2015) and "GROUP" (2017), with a new project currently in the works.

Dave Molnar Bass Guitar Teacher

The youngest of three brothers, one a guitar player and one a drummer, he was “stuck” on bass at age eight. However, they wanted to play The Beatles, The Monkees and eventually Led Zeppelin tunes. Learning the inspired, melodic and kinetic bass lines of Paul McCartney, Carol Kaye and John Paul Jones gave him both a love of the bass and an appreciation for rock and pop arrangement. Dave has been featured in many bands around the Cleveland area and attended Youngstown State, where he was part of the Youngstown State Jazz Ensemble.

In addition to teaching at School of Rock, Dave currently plays bass with New Planet Trampoline and also Queen of Hell/Heavenly Queen. He is also the sound engineer at The Happy Dog on the west side of Cleveland, running sound for everything from punk, metal and noise to classical music and country. Music has been and continues to be his lifelong passion.

Russell Richards Piano Teacher

Russ has been teaching at School of Rock for over 10 years now. Prior to that he earned his living doing nothing but playing music with a variety of R&B and Motown bands, including Heart and Soul, Gratitude and Cruisin. He's been in the rock bands Calabash and Easy Street from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Key West, Florida. Locally he works with I-Tal, Darryl Green and the Power House Band, and Lazy Ted and the Big Hurry. He studied music at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, CCC, Baldwin Wallace Music Conservatory and Cleveland State. He has a senior kitty named Baja.

David Romweber Guitar Teacher

David was hooked as a young boy after watching The Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1962. A veteran of the Cleveland music scene, David has been involved in retail and the club management side of the music business as well. He welcomed the opportunity to return to teaching and joining the staff at School of Rock Cleveland West. Dave can be seen on the weekends with his original band, The Velvematics. And yes, he is cousins with Dex and Sara Romweber.

Kevin Theide Guitar Teacher

Kevin Thiede teaches guitar and bass at School of Rock Cleveland West. In his teenage years he was a student at this school, one of the first to sign up. He was also in the first batch of students from this location to make it into the School of Rock AllStars. Kevin is very glad to now serve as an instructor here. When he isn't working or performing with his band, Kevin can be found wandering the Metroparks and eating pizza.

Alyssa Boyd Vocal Instructor

Alyssa Boyd is a former member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and spent the majority of her high school career upstairs on the fourth floor of the vocal music department at Cleveland Heights High. She studied under her vocal instructor, Carolyn Smith, and attributes her love and appreciation of jazz music to her. After graduating she began her project, The Alyssa Boyd Quartet, drawing inspiration from an era she considers to be the most influential in American history. Alyssa regularly performs around Cleveland, typically in speakeasy-type environments, and holds residency at the Metropolitan Hotel at the 9. She thrives at connecting with her audience and setting a mood that speaks volumes. She is a vocal instructor at School of Rock Cleveland West.

Chris Buhoveckey Drum Teacher

Chris Buhoveckey started playing drums/percussion at the age of 11 and has not looked back since. He possesses a love for teaching, and even taught in public schools for several years. Never turning down the opportunity to learn something new, Chris has studied under local greats such as Jeff Babinski (Plasma, 7 Mile Isle) and Andy Herrick (Chimaira). He has studied and performed many different styles/genres of music, such as rock, metal, country, hip-­hop, rap, jazz and more. Recently, Chris plays drums in Pop Fiction. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Cleveland West.

Josh Sparks Drum Teacher

Josh Sparks started playing at age eight, hitting boxes along to Smashing Pumpkins records. In high school he got involved in concert band, jazz band and marching band. Somewhere in there Josh started hanging out with a few older kids in the next town over. They let him join their band and took him to punk shows. Since then, he has been lucky enough to play in some really great bands, including Minus The Bear, Into it. Over it., Tancred, Former Thieves and Damiera. Josh has also gotten to make records and record with some really great producers and engineers, including Jayson Dezuzio (Imagine Dragons, Coheed and Cambria), Chris Common (Mastadon, The Sword), Brain Deck (Modest Mouse, Counting Crows) and John Vanderslice (Death Cab for Cutie, The Mountain Goats) to name a few. Whether on tour, in a studio or teaching drums, his musical journey is never ending. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Cleveland West.

Fern Enley Vocal Instructor

Fern Enley is a singer/songwriter from Cleveland who first started teaching at School of Rock in 2015. While playing a set at Herb’s Tavern, Fern caught the attention of the director who offered her the position. Fern continued to write, play and teach for that year and then hopped the pond to England. During her time there, she played in a duo called FellowHearts and became a resident musician of many pubs. She also worked in two music charities that were nationally recognized and supported. After two years, Fern decided to return to her home and the place that really sparked her love of teaching. Today Fern is happily back at School of Rock Cleveland West as a vocal instructor.

John Koury Assistant Manager

Obsessed with music from an early age, John Koury was given a drum set for Christmas when he was around five years old. Within a day, the kit was smashed to bits, thrown out on the curb and John was told by his father that he would never buy him another instrument EVER. 15 years later, John decided to learn how to play guitar and drums and started kicking around Youngstown’s original music scene, writing songs and playing in bands such as the Infidels, Slack Jaw and The Deadbeat Poets. His bands have shared the stage with many national artists and still hit the road for the occasional domestic and European tour. John has sat behind the drums with bands like the Dead Boys and Rick Derringer, and played bass in Harper with members of the legendary NRBQ. In the ‘real world’ John was a sales and marketing rep for Warner Music Group for 15 years and had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the finest musicians in rock and roll. He is the Assistant Manager at School of Rock Cleveland West.

Hannah Leach Vocal Instructor

Hannah Leach has been writing and performing original music since high school. While a student of NYU Tisch's playwriting program, Hannah arranged for and sang in all-female a cappella, as well as composed and music directed student works on campus. She is currently 1/3 of the Cleveland-based glam-folk band The Prom Queens. In addition to being a musician, Hannah is a professional radio host and producer, along with being a playwright whose work has been staged in New York, London and (of course!) Cleveland. She prides herself on her low notes and tasteful use of body glitter. She is a vocal instructor at School of Rock Cleveland West.

Jeff West Drum Teacher

Jeff started playing gigs when he was 15 years old. While in Cleveland, the notable area bands he played with were Strutter, Club Wow and the infamous Baloney Heads. In 1978, he moved to NYC to get deep into the punk rock explosion. His punk band, Testors, toured, and was on Bleeker Bob’s great punk label (punk fans, look this up!). With the Testors guitar player Gene Sinigalliano, he built and ran Ultra Sound Rehearsal studios for 33 successful years. It was one of the biggest, longest-running rehearsal complexes in New York.

Some great musicians he has had lessons with are Steve Smith, Thomas Pridgen, Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith, Pat Petrillo, Neal Smith and Norman Grossman. He has recorded at most of the great NYC studios (like HIt Factory and Right Track) and been signed to Atlantic, Geffen and MCA Records. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Cleveland West.

Sam Rueckert Guitar Teacher

Sam Rueckert has been playing music his whole life. When he was 11 he began taking guitar lessons at School of Rock in Silver Spring, Maryland. He played at School of Rock for five years, during which time he was also a member of the School of Rock AllStars. In addition to performing with School of Rock, Sam played in a number of bands in high school and also began writing his own songs and performing solo. In 2014, Sam moved to Ohio to attend Oberlin College and Conservatory. In addition to majoring in Religious Studies and minoring in Creative Writing, he has continued writing songs, periodically performing under the moniker Foolish. Sam also played in a number of bands in college, including Waywords, who released a demo EP in 2016 and toured from Minnesota back to Ohio. In addition to playing guitar and singing, he was the drum kit player in a steel drum band called Osteel, and gigged regularly with the group in the area. Sam has also played guitar and drums for other songwriters he met at Oberlin, such as Nashville-based Jeni Rae, San Francisco-based Rob Jamner and New York-based Emma Blackman. He currently plays drums for Foreign Roads, who have an EP coming soon. Sam graduated from Oberlin and is excited to begin exploring the Cleveland music scene. His favorite artists include The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana, The Alabama Shakes, Pinegrove, Julien Baker and Bon Iver. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Cleveland West.

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