School of Rock

Explore School of Rock


School of Rock Cornelius
21112 Catawba Avenue
Cornelius, NC 28031
(980) 689-5257

Location Specifics

We're located right in front of Cornelius Elementary and across the street from Cornelius Library.

Get Directions
  • Monday: 1 PM - 9 PM
  • Tuesday: 1 PM - 9 PM
  • Wednesday: 1 PM - 9 PM
  • Thursday: 1 PM - 9 PM
  • Friday: 1 PM - 8 PM
  • Saturday: 10 AM - 4 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Music programs at School of Rock Cornelius combine one-on-one lessons with group band practices

Programs we offer

Rookies music program for children
Ages 5-7

At School of Rock Cornelius, our music program for children with no previous musical experience (typically ages 5 to 7-years-old) is called Rookies. Rookies students have one weekly group music lesson where they learn fundamentals like chords, rhythm and song structure. Kids get to learn and experiment with multiple instruments so they can later decide which one they ultimately want to continue pursuing in Rock 101.

What To Expect

The Path to Take the Stage

All of our music programs are designed to inspire students to learn and develop a strong musical proficiency. At School of Rock Cornelius, younger students who are not ready for a more comprehensive program like Rock 101 can start in Rookies. No prior musical experience is needed for Rookies. Once your child is ready for private music lessons (typically older than first or second graders), they will graduate into our Rock 101 program.

Rock 101 music program for kids and beginners
Rock 101
Ages 8-12

Rock 101 is one of School of Rock Cornelius's top programs for kids and beginners. Students have one weekly group rehearsal where they learn to play classic rock songs that have been simplified for beginner musicians. Additionally, Rock 101 students in Cornelius have a weekly private music lesson with an instructor who helps them learn the concepts and skills behind their performance songs.

What To Expect

The Path to Take the Stage

Our music programs for kids in Cornelius are designed to get students on stage performing, with the goal of building strong musical proficiency. Younger students at School of Rock Cornelius who have participated in the Rookies program can move to our Rock 101 music program once they’re ready. Additionally, students (typically ages 8 to 12-years-old) can begin Rock 101 without any prior experience. The goal of this rock program is to quickly develop a basic competence on students’ chosen instruments before moving on to our famous Performance Program.

Performance music program for teens
Ages 8-18

The Performance Program at School of Rock Cornelius is our hallmark music program, where tens of thousands of students enroll each year. It consists of a weekly group rehearsal where kids and teens learn by playing rock music's most iconic songs with a band composed of their peers. Students are assigned songs and parts that are tailored to them based on their age, experience and ability to learn new skills and concepts. Students then work through their parts in weekly private music lessons, refining the skills and concepts that those songs introduce. The goal of this curriculum is to prepare kids and teens for live performances. Every few months, School of Rock Cornelius Performance Program students take the stage and play at local Cornelius music venues in front of a live audience.

What To Expect

The Path to Take the Stage

School of Rock Cornelius's music programs for kids and teens are designed to inspire by getting students on stage and performing. All of our other music education programs focus on readying students for our famous Performance Program. This is where students develop incredible musical skills. Performance Program students have often gone through our Rock 101 program first or have some previous basic music experience. These young musicians will have custom development plans outlined by their instructors with key concepts reinforced during private lessons and group rehearsals, all with the goal of performing live at a Cornelius music venue.

Adult music program for students over 21
Adult Program
Ages 21+

School of Rock Cornelius's Adult Program is for students over 21 years old who are looking to either improve their musical proficiency or pick up an instrument with no prior musical experience. As with most School of Rock music programs, the Adult Program uses a performance-based music education approach. This means the curriculum focuses on learning music concepts and applying them in a live performance setting. Our Adult Music Program includes one weekly private music lesson and a weekly group rehearsal. Every student at School of Rock Cornelius is placed in a band of fellow adults and then assigned specific songs as a way of learning key music concepts and skills. Adult students then take the stage to play at a live show in Cornelius.

What To Expect

The Path to Take the Stage

All of our music programs are designed to inspire by getting students on stage and performing, with the goal of building strong musical proficiency along the way. The School of Rock Cornelius Adult Program is open to all experience levels and each student will follow a customized learning plan developed by their instructor. Adult students will work together during rehearsal to prepare for a live performance at a real rock venue in Cornelius.

House Band program for gigging at local venues around town
House Band
Ages 13-18

The School of Rock Cornelius House Band music program gives students under 18 the opportunity to join a gigging band composed of fellow musicians from their school. These students perform additional live shows throughout the year. All students in the Performance Program have the opportunity to audition for a spot in School of Rock Cornelius's House Band. Once selected, House Band members become leaders in their School of Rock community and perform live shows at NC rock venues throughout the year.

What To Expect

The Path to Take the Stage

Performance is the core of School of Rock's educational approach. Therefore, we create additional opportunities for students to perform on stages throughout Cornelius and the rest of NC. The House Band music program allows each school's most talented students the opportunity to join a band and play routinely in front of live audiences. Once a member, students will gain real music experience associated with gigging musicians and will become leaders and mentors inside the School of Rock community.

The AllStars national tour features the best child and teen musicians
Age 17 and Under

The School of Rock AllStars Tour takes the very best students from around the world and sends them on a nationwide summer tour across the United States. Less than 1% of School of Rock students are selected each year to represent School of Rock as an AllStar. All Performance Program students are eligible to audition for this prestigious program. The intensive audition process starts off with video submissions followed by live auditions. Once selected, AllStar students will have an authentic touring experience including traveling on a tour bus, doing tour publicity and starring in nightly performances at famous venues and festivals during a two-week tour.

What To Expect

The Path to Take the Stage

Becoming an AllStar is the highest level of achievement for a School of Rock student. They play on legendary stages large and small, including The Knitting Factory, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Troubadour and Lollapalooza. AllStar students often go on to have accomplished careers in the music industry. Former AllStars have gone on to become touring artists, star in Broadway musicals, get signed to record deals, become finalists on talent competitions like "The Voice" and "American Idol" and have other notable roles in the music industry.

Center Stage Program Picture
Center Stage
Ages 13-19

The Center Stage Artist Search Program is an opportunity to be heard by a major record label. Singers from the ages of 13-19 can submit an audition video as part of the selection process. Selected artists will then have the chance to participate in a studio recording session, and perform at a live artist showcase with record label executives in Los Angeles. We'll also provide School of Rock songwriting camp scholarships for 100 applicants. Submit your video audition today.

What to expect
  • A live artist showcase in front of record executives
  • Record in a state-of-the-art major label studio

The Path to Take the Stage

The music of legendary recording artists can be the inspiration behind many School of Rock students’ drive to pick up an instrument for the first time. This music is the foundation of our curriculum because it helps maintain young musician’s drive to gain musical proficiency. Center Stage is a program to help usher in the next generation of great artists that will one day inspire others to begin their musical journey.

Music Lessons in Cornelius

Kid learns to play guitar at School of Rock

Guitar Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Guitar Lessons for Kids

At School of Rock Cornelius, we offer beginner guitar lessons for kids. Our expert guitar instructors guide your child from start to finish with private instruction and weekly group band rehearsals. Every instructor at School of Rock Cornelius is an experienced musician, and they emphasize foundational music theory and technique when teaching guitar lessons to kids. Unlike other Cornelius guitar lessons and programs, School of Rock is designed to get students performing in a band.

Beginner Guitar Lessons for Adults

It’s never too late to learn to play the guitar. Similar to our kids guitar lessons, School of Rock Cornelius's beginner guitar lessons for adults utilizes a performance-based curriculum. Our experienced instructors teach adult students through popular rock songs, and teach students to play guitar in a way that’s challenging and fun. We believe the best way to learn is by doing, which is why we combine weekly private guitar lessons with group band rehearsals. At School of Rock Cornelius, we teach beginner guitar lessons for adults in our Adult Program. This program gets students performing onstage at a local Cornelius venue.

Key Concepts
  • Technique
  • Solos
  • Chords
  • Theory

Intermediate to Advanced Guitar Lessons

As students gain skills and experience, we move them along to more challenging programs at higher skill levels. Intermediate and advanced students take the skills they learned in beginner guitar lessons, and layer on more difficult techniques and concepts. School of Rock Cornelius offers advanced guitar lessons for kids and adults that teach by playing challenging classic rock songs and emphasize playing the guitar in a real music venue. Our Cornelius guitar teachers will work with each student to develop a custom learning plan.

Kids learn to drum at School of Rock

Drum Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Drum Lessons for Kids

School of Rock Cornelius is the best option for anyone looking to learn the drums. Our beginner drum lessons get kids behind the drum kit and on their way to taking the stage. That’s why at School of Rock Cornelius we combine private drum lessons for beginners with weekly band rehearsals—it prepares students to perform live. With years of experience teaching drums in Cornelius, our drum instructors teach beginner drum students core techniques, including how to groove, play rudiments and more.

Beginner Drum Lessons for Adults

Our drum lessons for adults are designed to accommodate all skill levels. At School of Rock Cornelius, our beginner drum lessons for adults are built for musicians with little to no experience. We teach adults using the same core performance-based education philosophy as our drum lessons for kids—performing with a band accelerates the learning process. Adult students will perform live at a venue in Cornelius. Unlike other Cornelius drum lessons for beginners, School of Rock combines private drum lessons with weekly band rehearsals so students are ready to play in front of real, live audiences.

Key Concepts

Intermediate to Advanced Drum Lessons

More experienced to advanced drum students need a drum lesson curriculum that builds upon foundational skills and continues to grow musical proficiency. That’s why at School of Rock Cornelius, our drum lessons are customized for each student and his or her goals. Our Cornelius drum instructors integrate more complex techniques and concepts—intermediary grooves, shifts, meters and more—into a student's individual lessons and group band rehearsal, and will also select more difficult songs for his or her live performances.


Kid learns to sing at School of Rock

Singing Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Singing Lessons for Kids

School of Rock Cornelius offers beginner singing lessons for kids. Our unique, performance-based approach develops students' musical proficiency by preparing them to perform live. At School of Rock Cornelius, our vocal coaches are practicing musicians who integrate key music fundamentals—breathing, posture and more—into a curriculum based on performing with a band. Each week, beginner singing students participate in a private singing lesson and a band rehearsal.

Beginner Singing Lessons for Adults

School of Rock Cornelius teaches adults how to sing in our innovative Adult Program. Students develop vocal skills at a challenging pace designed to help you see results with every singing lesson. Adult vocalists learn how to keep tempo, stay on-key and master advanced vocal techniques for a powerful and healthy voice. Our curriculum teaches students how to sing by using popular rock songs that emphasize key concepts. Each week, Adult Program students have a private singing lesson for beginners and group band rehearsal.

Key Concepts

Intermediate to Advanced Singing Lessons

At School of Rock Cornelius, our singing lessons for kids and adults are designed to help our students reach a high degree of musical proficiency. Intermediate and advanced singers take skills learned from previous singing lessons and layer on more difficult techniques and concepts. Our advanced singing lessons teach students to sing by performing popular rock songs that illustrate a specific vocal concept or technique. We pair weekly private singing lessons with weekly band rehearsals with the goal of getting musicians to perform live in Cornelius.

Kid learns to play bass at School of Rock

Bass Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Bass Lessons for Kids

School of Rock Cornelius offers beginner bass guitar lessons for kids that blend weekly private instruction with weekly band rehearsals. This performance-based approach results in a high level of musical proficiency because it engages and inspires students. Every School of Rock bass instructor is a practicing musician in Cornelius and teaches bass lessons for kids that get great results. Beginners learn to play bass guitar by using popular rock songs that illustrate key concepts and techniques.

Beginner Bass Lessons for Adults

Adults looking to learn bass guitar can enroll in School of Rock’s Adult Program. No experience is necessary in our beginner bass guitar lessons for adults. At School of Rock Cornelius, our experienced, local bass guitar instructors have the patience and skills to help adult students gain musical proficiency. As with all School of Rock music programs, our bass guitar lessons for adults ciriculum is performance-based, and include both weekly private instruction and weekly band rehearsals.

Key Concepts
  • TONE

Intermediate to Advanced Bass Lessons

Our intermediate to advanced bass guitar lessons teach Cornelius students the skills they need to become the backbone of a band. Students take skills from previous bass lessons and layer on more difficult techniques and concepts. At School of Rock Cornelius, our bass instructors use popular rock songs as a way of teaching students advanced concepts and techniques. We pair weekly private bass lessons with weekly band rehearsals to inspire and engage students throughout the learning process.

Kid learns to play piano at School of Rock

Keyboard Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Keyboard Lessons for Kids

At School of Rock we teach differently than other music schools in Cornelius. Our curriculum is performance-based, meaning that we prepare students to perform. Our piano lessons for beginners combine weekly private instruction with weekly band rehearsals. At School of Rock Cornelius, our beginner keyboard lessons for kids take key concepts and music fundamentals—finger placement, scales, key differentiation and more—and teach them through popular rock songs. This approach inspires and engages students, which results in attaining a high level of musical proficiency. Our piano teachers have years of experience teaching music in the Cornelius area, and know how to coach and motivate students of any skill level to play the keyboard.

Beginner Keyboard Lessons for Adults

The School of Rock Cornelius Adult Program puts beginner keyboard students in a band. Adult Program students in the Cornelius area learn to play piano through a combination of weekly private beginner piano lessons and weekly band rehearsals. At School of Rock, our piano lessons give adult students the chance to perform in a band at local Cornelius music venues, taking them out of the classroom and onto the stage.

Key Concepts
  • TONE

Intermediate to Advanced Keyboard Lessons

At School of Rock Cornelius, our keyboard lessons for kids and adults are designed to help students get results. Intermediate and advanced students take skills learned from beginner keyboard lessons and layer on more advanced piano techniques with concepts. Our local keyboard instructors are all practicing musicians in Cornelius, and use popular rock songs as a way of teaching complex skills. We pair weekly private piano lessons with weekly band rehearsals to inspire and engage students throughout the learning process.

Our Experienced Music Teachers

All of School of Rock Cornelius’s music teachers are experienced musicians devoted to helping students attain musical proficiency. Our instructors guide students one-on-one to personalize learning, inspire confidence and build social skills.

Phil Martelly Owner

A graduate of the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, his passion for music is unmatched by few and is a driving force behind his bringing School of Rock to the Southern Mass/Rhode Island area. He is the definition of the word musician as he plays not one but several instruments: guitar, bass and drums. Phil has played with a lot of the area's hottest bands including Pappy Chulo as the opening act for none other than Incubus.

Shawn Garrity Owner

Shawn's musical journey began at age eleven when his dad handed him a guitar and taught him a few chords. As he grew, so did his love for music. At fifteen, he joined a band, began writing music and playing original and cover songs at clubs and venues throughout New England. He studied jazz and classical music at Western Connecticut State University and earned a B.A. in Music Industry from the University of New Haven. After college Shawn formed several bands which eventually resulted in the formation of his current band, VulGarrity. The band has completed three nationwide tours, signed an artist development deal with MySpace Records and won first place in 95.5 WBRU's 2011 Rock Hunt. Shawn has shared the stage with The Prodigals, Ra, Robert DeLong, The Heavy, Ra Ra Riot and Electric Six. Shawn continues to record music and tour with his sister and VulGarrity bandmate Tracy. With the use of loop pedals, the two play guitar, bass, drums and keys simultaneously while singing, often switching instruments during their shows, creating a unique live music experience. While Shawn enjoys listening to and playing a wide variety of music, he is most inspired by all things rock.
Drum Teacher

Andrew Adamany Drum Teacher

Born and raised in Southern California, Andrew's passion for drums began when he was 10 years old. Andrew began playing along to Beatles CDs. He started gigging in college at the University of San Diego, where he earned his Bachelor's degree in business while making weekend trips to Los Angeles and performing at The Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy, Viper Room and other clubs on the Sunset Strip. He enrolled at Musicians Institute (M.I.) and received his Associates Degree in Drum Performance and a Certificate in Music Business. After graduation, Andrew went full-time with a band, touring every weekend and recording original music, while picking up side gigs and teaching substitute drum lessons during the week back in LA. In 2014, Andrew and his group moved to Nashville, TN, where they earned a residency at Honky Tonk Central on Lower Broadway. He performed covers for four non-stop hours four nights every weekend for over three years, booked weddings gigs and taught private lessons to students as young as three years old. Andrew performs with drive, high energy and the same passion each individual song conveys. He subscribes to the philosophy of drumming to serve the song and to play drums that will get people on their feet and dancing. He now resides in Charlotte, NC and is committed to developing new talented drummers!

Callie Huffman Front of House Manager

Callie is a Cornelius native who has been with School of Rock since August of 2017. She graduated in May of 2018 from the University of North Carolina Charlotte with her Bachelor's Degree in Communication. She has been surrounded by a variety of musical influences from a young age, including her mother, who is a world- traveled soprano in operatic and classical performance. Callie has written music and performed in musical theater, choral and solo performances throughout her life. As a point person for information and scheduling, Callie provides tours and works with new and existing students.

James Duffield Drum Teacher

James is motivated and passionate about performing and teaching drums to students of all ages and backgrounds. He started playing piano at age eight with his grandmother, who was a music teacher in Arlington, Ohio. Soon after, he started playing drums at age 10. Playing throughout middle and high school, he also attended and graduated from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Studies Performance. While at OSU James traveled throughout the Midwest and East Coast playing with top jazz ensembles in the Tri-State area. He currently plays in several bands in the Charlotte area and looks forward to sharing his knowledge and real world experience at School of Rock Cornelius.

Christian Pearson Music Director

Christian Pearson studied Music Theory, Theology and Film at Evangel University from 2004 to 2009. Originally from the east coast, he was in the Springfield, Missouri music scene from 2009-2015, and has played in multiple bands including Call Me Beta, Skylines and Cityscapes, and Ships of Adamant. Now in North Carolina, Christian is a composer who uses full orchestra and guitar in a classical expression of progressive metal. He has been with School of Rock for four years and teaches guitar, bass, keys, vocals and drums, and directs multiple bands. He cites his greatest influences as Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Devin Townsend, Haken, Ayreon, Opeth and Symphony X.

Eric Williams General Manager

Eric's affiliation with School of Rock dates back to 2007 when he attended the Watertown, MA location. In the two years leading up to his graduation, he completed multiple performance programs and was selected to play the AllStars Tour. Upon leaving he studied Percussion, Audio Theory and Entertainment Management between Plymouth State University and Bay State College, as well as interned at some of Boston's top studios. Eric returned to School of Rock in 2013 as a drum instructor. Having worked his way to a management role, he's currently in his sixth year with School of Rock and is still doing a bit of teaching.

Jorge Suta Guitar Teacher

Jorge is currently studying Contemporary Writing and Production at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. As a multi-purpose musician and guitar player he currently works at School of Rock, teaching lessons and band programs. Jorge started playing guitar at 12 years old and has been performing professionally in the last five years.

Brian Joyce Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher

Brian is a graduate of Appalachian State University in the field of Instrumental Music Instruction. Though trained classically on the French horn, he enjoys many genres of music. Brian has had the pleasure of playing as the principal hornist for both the orchestra and wind ensemble while attending Appalachian State. Musical interests range from classic rock, blues and grunge to alternative rock and hard Rock. For nine years Brian was the lead singer for the alternative band Lazy Suzan in Boone, North Carolina. He has written his own material, loves recording equipment and playing guitar, drums and bass. He has been a local band director for 15 years in Huntersville, NC.

Joshua Marks Guitar Teacher

Joshua Marks began playing the guitar at age 11, initially learning the music of The Beatles, Aerosmith and Phish. After studying with NYC jazz guitarist Peter Mazza as a high school student, he graduated with a Music Education degree from Berklee College of Music in 2003. He has taught and performed jazz and rock music ever since in many places from Augusta, GA to New York City. His musical theater experience includes "West Side Story," "Footloose," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "Grease" and "Annie."

Ariel Cortez Drum Teacher

Ariel Cortez is a Catawba College graduate in the field of Music Business. Beginning as a volunteer church musician, Ariel later found various avenues in the music industry to emerge himself into, maintaining projects like Bergenline, Good Morning Glory Photography/Graphics and Cortez Collective Productions. Primarily a drummer, Ariel also studied guitar, bass and piano in college, allowing him to have a better understanding of how instruments can be used in various ways, together and apart, to create music.

School of Rock is where music and learning come together

For over twenty years, our amazing instructors have transformed hundreds of thousands of students across the world into skilled musicians. Become a musician at School of Rock.



It is not an exaggeration to say that when we began with School Of Rock, my son was struggling greatly with focus and commitment and drive. Nine months later, he is a completely changed little boy thanks to School of Rock.


They make learning fun! They communicate well with the kids and parents! I have been very pleased with our experience! It has really brought so much joy to my daughter’s life!


They all work well with the children and all the children I have come in contact there love them. The encouragement the staff gives to try new instruments is also a cool part of the program. I would highly recommend this school!


School of Rock has been a great experience for our daughter who is just learning to play guitar. In the six months she has started lessons there she has picked up the fundamentals of both electric and acoustic!

School of Rock is AWESOME!

The entire staff makes learning fun for the kids while keeping parents informed. It's so amazing to watch how fast the kids learn and the confidence they help build both on and off stage is incredible. Thank you, School of Rock, for helping make dreams come true.

We have absolutely loved it!

My son has learned so much about music, all the different facets of playing an instrument and being part of a band. The staff do a great job. If you or your child is a beginner or even more advanced, check them out.

I think the program is wonderful, educational and fun.

I can't believe how far my kids have come. The progress is amazing. All the instructors are always a delight to deal with, professional and understanding of all my needs with scheduling. You will be blown away by the concerts!

Our son absolutely loves School of Rock!

He gets to learn in a fun environment with great teachers while making new friends with kids who enjoy doing the same. He has learned so much in a short amount of time thanks to the programs that School of Rock offers.

My daughter is really enjoying her experience.

My daughter has been at School of Rock for just a short time, but Band 101 has provided peer interaction along with musical instruction. Everyone that I have interacted with is professional and personable. I highly recommend School of Rock to anyone with an interest in music.

My daughter loves the band experience.

School of Rock enhances her ability to work as a team. It also provides opportunities to explore the possibility of playing other instruments and singing. The instructors at School of Rock are experts in their field with a vast array of education and experience.