Cleveland West
School of Rock

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Cleveland West

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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.

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