Elk Grove
School of Rock

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Elk Grove

Our Experienced Music Instructors

School of Rock has experienced music instructors

Our Experienced Music Instructors

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

Guitar Teacher

Angel Alvarez Guitar Teacher

Angel Alvarez began his musical journey with the purchase of his first album in 1982 of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." He immediately begged his parents for piano lessons and, although short-lived, these lessons solidified his yearn to be a musician. High school choirs tuned his voice but it wasn't until he got his first guitar as a junior that he finally found his calling. During his 13-year stint as the lead singer and guitarist for the Bay Area band Mystic Rage, he worked to get his Bachelor's in studio recording and sound design. Additionally, he played in countless venues in California and Nevada, opening for bands like Slayer, Slipknot, Blue Oyster Cult, etc. He became the guitarist and one of the main songwriters for the band A Million Exploding Suns. After this project ended Angel decided to finally form the band he has always wanted. Now in a new band, Zero Day Threat, he has 100% creative control. Angel brings over 20 years of combined experience in performing, writing, engineering and teaching to School of Rock and is passionate about imparting his knowledge and experience to the next generation.
Drum Teacher

Yacine Ofoe Drum Teacher

Yacine has been playing drums since he was eight. He realized he wanted to play the drums after seeing his uncle played in his punk rock band. At the time he was taking piano lessons and was not very interested in it. He then asked his parents if he could quit the piano to play drums. They were hesitant at first but they finally gave in and Yacine loved it so much, which made him learn it so quick that his drum teacher told him there was nothing left to teach him after only three years. He started his first band when he was 11 years old and they played Misfits songs every weekend at house shows. After that band ended he went on to keep playing drums alone with his headphones while listening to his favorite albums. This taught him multiple new playing styles of drums by playing along with punk, screamo and alternative rock bands. After high school he started another band with his brother and best friends. They wrote melodic hardcore music for a few months and then started to play shows at venues. After their 2nd show they were asked to join a label. This label gave them an opportunity to grow as a young band. They were able to record an album and go on tour playing shows all over California. He has also been playing the drums for 18 years and he is very excited to start teaching drums at School of Rock in Elk Grove.

Stevie Mello Singing Teacher, Piano Teacher

Stevie Mello has been perorming for audiences with his wide vocal range and musical abilities for years now. He started his music career as a solo artist during travel overseas. Stevie has a wide range of creativity thanks to Enka, Shomyo, Forro and Samba, however his influential soulful, R&B and jazz background always stands out. Later he went on to choir directing for the Sacramento, Elk Grove and San Juan Unified School Districts. Stevie is currently performing as a solo singing pianist and for the MelloSmoove Band.

Marissa Wargo Singing Teacher, Piano Teacher

Marissa Wargo is a saxophone, keys and vocal instructor at School of Rock Elk Grove. Growing up, her dad was always playing music around the house. From classic rock to modern metal, the house was always filled with sound. Marissa picked up the alto sax at age 12 and joined the school band, where she learned to play jazz and classical music. At home she learned how to play by ear, listening to the radio and playing the melodies on her saxophone. She often had jam sessions with her brother and sister. They eventually formed the family band Underpaid Phone Monkeys and played small shows around Sacramento and Elk Grove. She became the vocalist and songwriter for the group and learned how to sing harmony with her siblings. In 2010 she joined the band Better Off Blue and On Higher Tide.

Matt Wagers Drum Teacher

Matthew Wagers grew up in Elk Grove. He first began playing the drums at the age of 14. He played in a punk band for a few years, playing at local venues such as Ace of Spades, The Boardwalk and Crest Theatre. During this time, he realized his passion was to pursue his dream of audio production and live sound. He is currently at Sacramento City College and then plans to complete his bachelors degree in the UC system.

Ben Hamilton Drum Teacher

Ben grew up on the gut- busting, high voltage classic rock developed by the likes of The Who, Rush and many more. He has been playing drums for 11 years and has been studying them for the past five. He’s been in bands since he was 12, playing for a variety of crowds. He opened for Brian Howe (Bad Company) and played snare drum for full stadiums in the Washington State University drumline. Ben has met a variety of musicians and learned many things. He is currently gaining momentum with musicians in Sacramento and seeks to make and record as much as possible, as well as play more shows in the upcoming years.

Jared Casstevens Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Jared grew up in the Bay Area, where he began his musical journey by taking piano lessons at his elementary school. After a few years he decided to shift his focus to the saxophone, but after months of lessons he knew he still had not found the optimal tool for his own musical expression. With the guitar it was love at first sight. His first teacher gave him the keys to learning and playing his favorite songs just by listening to the recordings, a skill he would continue to hone over the next 20 years. His second teacher brought Jared back to the fundamentals, teaching him the scales and techniques that would further develop his style and dramatically enhance his playing. He formed a short lived Ska band as a freshman in high school and then moved on to start the pop-punk quartet A Better Half, with whom he’d go on to play his first live shows and record his first EP. Years later, Jared became a founding member of the Sacramento rock band Smirker, a band whose influences include The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana, Ween and many others. Jared began as the band's bassist and quickly developed a keen fondness for the instrument. Smirker, whose shows were composed of half cover songs and half originals, played frequent gigs in the greater Sacramento area and went on to record their own EP, “Seriously." Jared brings over 20 years of guitar playing and roughly 15 years of performance experience to School of Rock Elk Grove, and looks forward to continuing his musical journey there for years to come.

Alan Veto Guitar Teacher

Allan Veto grew up in the city of Elk Grove, learning and playing with musicians all around the area. He started playing guitar when he was around eight years old and picked up bass shortly after. With a blues soul and classic rock background Allan is a perfect match for School of Rock Elk Grove.

Roger Fandel Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Piano Teacher

Roger Fandel is a piano, drum and guitar teacher, as well as band director. He has years of teaching, composing and performing experience. He loves jamming and songwriting, and strives to engender the same passion in his students.

Nathaniel Chung Bass Guitar Teacher

Nathaniel wanted to be a musician since he was a child. At around six or seven he started piano and took lessons for four years while being exposed to his parents’ Beatles records. Some time down the line, he started listening to Metallica and around middle school picked up the guitar. It wasn’t until the eighth grade when he started playing with his sister’s bass guitar that he wanted to focus more attention on that instrument. During this time he began playing in a church worship team from middle school up until early college and even formed a small garage band during high school. In college he performed in various music courses, ranging from commercial music, jazz band and orchestra. Outside of school, he currently performs bass in the worship group at Greenhaven Lutheran Church in Sacramento, performs with the Ryder Green Band and Ro Harpo the Bluesman.

Matt Stone Drum Teacher

Ever since he bounced his knee to musical inspirations such as Metallica, Van Halen and Phil Collins, Matt knew music would be part of his life. As a kid when he made a drum set out of buckets, barrels and metal dust pans, he knew percussion was the way to go. With inspiration from his dad, who was a drummer as a kid too, Matt started his musical journey in elementary school as a trumpet player. Although he made first chair, his passion for drums eventually won out. He began playing drums in beginning band at Joseph Kerr Middle School under the leadership of Dave Winstead and Nancy Kreis. Learning quickly, Matt joined concert and jazz band, participating in ensembles that won awards at the prestigious Golden Empire competition. He continued musically into high school, joining a few bands, including Paranoid Delusions, a cover band playing Black Sabbath and Marylin Manson. Matt graduated from Sheldon High School as a letterman in Visual and Performing Arts. Shortly after high school he joined his church praise band as drummer and vocalist, where he played for more than 15 years. In college Matt joined the Chamber Singers, where he honed his vocal skills and sang a solo at the State Capital Rotunda. He also joined a local performance group called the Village Opera Theatre in which he had multiple principal roles, including the lead role in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado." Matt continues his musical talents to this day as drummer and vocalist for The Maple Tones, a local cover band playing for various business and events. Matt currently resides in Elk Grove with his high school sweetheart and wife, Jennifer. Some of his other musical inspirations include The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Harry Connick Jr., Coldplay and Garth Brooks. Matt hopes to continue playing and sharing music for as long as possible.

Kimmy Aston Singing Teacher

Growing up in Fresno, California, Kim’s earliest memory of singing was around the age of five when she was caught by the older boy next door singing in a reflection in a mirror in the garage. Her emotions were torn between being completely embarrassed to being elated that someone actually heard the fabulous song she’d just made up. This was the first of many songs she would in the future write as a lyricist. From the age of 15 to the age of 20 she performed in Southern Sound Band, performing all over the California Central Valley. This band had the distinction of being the most booked band in the area at the time. There were no high school dances or proms for Kim as the band was scheduled almost every weekend- sometimes Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights back to back. Eventually she moved to Branson, Missouri to try her luck in the music business, singing in many smoke-filled bars and attending many songwriter’s nights. Attempts to hit the “big time” in the country music scene after a long, hard fought battle led Kim to seek other musical genres. She was asked to sing in a rock band and became a member of Leather and Lace, and, later, Carousel. Kim ultimately moved back to California and wanted to experience singing in an R&B band. She auditioned for and got a spot with Innersoul Band. After taking a respite from the music business to focus on her family, Kim is now singing in The SoulCats.

Renée Pettersen Piano Teacher

Renée is a musician and poet from Sacramento, CA. She is the daughter of musicians and grew up playing piano in jazz and blues bands. At 18 she moved to New York to attend Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School. There she collaborated with students at the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, writing lyrics and accompanying singers on piano. She graduated with her Bachelor’s of Arts in Literary sStudies with a concentration in Poetry and Writing in 2012. After college she accompanied stage productions on piano and accordion, eventually taking a residency at a Brooklyn circus called The Muse as their accordionist. After years of travel she returned home to Sacramento, where she began her career in education. She has taught elementary bands within the Elk Grove Unified School District and private piano lessons before joining School of Rock. Her students range from age four to 18, beginning to intermediate skill levels primarily. Her area of expertise ranges from blues to jazz to rock. Her lessons are focused on music theory and reading charts, but she can teach students how to read music traditionally, as well. Renée is currently enrolled in a teaching credential program to earn her dual credential in English and music. When not teaching, she is collaborating with artists in her community. Most recently she contributed poetry to Vox Musica, a Sacramento-based women’s choir.

Jason Ashcraft Guitar Teacher

Jason Ashcraft began playing guitar at the age of 12 when he lugged home a giant amplifier and an off-brand guitar from a neighbor's house. He began by making loud noises and rocking out to Metallica albums like "...And Justice For All." With a combination of lessons and being self-taught, he quickly grew as a performer and songwriter through high school. He attended Pinnacle College, where he graduated with a certificate in Audio Engineering. He is now the founder/songwriter of the national touring metal band Helion Prime, signed to AFM Records (Danzig, Flotsam and Jetsam) out of Germany.

Jason has a passion for teaching. He has been teaching music, as well as children with autism, for over eight years. He believes music is something to be shared with everyone and being able to help others evolve into the performer/songwriter they wish to become is a great feeling not much can compare to.

Jason Brennan Music Director

Jason Brennon started playing bass at the age of 11. From 2005-2013 he worked in music, writing, performing and recording in many different styles. During this time, he graduated from Musicians Institute Hollywood for Music Performance, and was a key member and business manager of heavy metal band Jameson. Jason's favorite bass players and influences are John Entwistle, Jaco Pastorius, Verdine White, John Paul Jones and Paul McCartney. Some of his favorite styles to play are rock, blues, funk and R&B.

Joel Case Vocal Instructor

Joel Case is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, well-versed in the foundational instruments of rock: guitar, piano, bass and drums. His education began at four years old when his parents noticed how much he loved the feel and sound of the family piano. He would often daydream while lying on the piano bench with his head next to the walnut soundboard while he tinkered with the keys overhead. His parents hired an instructor who showed Joel how to close his eyes and identify harmonic elements by listening. From there, the teacher showed Joel how to immediately perform what he heard on piano without using trial-and-error. Using this knowledge, Joel became obsessed with The Beatles and quickly learned how to play their songs. Later, he learned to vocally harmonize by analyzing those same songs. After high school, he learned guitar, bass and drums, and performed in bands for many years.

His knowledge of vocal/piano technique and music theory comes from a combination of classical private instruction, textbooks and coursework as a Music major at Sacramento City College. His stage presence comes from collaboration with experienced mentors and photographers such as Dennis Scott, who captured the picture above. Joel is very passionate and enthusiastic about music and the role it plays in confidence, inspiration and personal artistic expression. He is a vocal instructor at School of Rock Elk Grove.

Jackie Lorona Piano Teacher

Jackie Lorona learned piano in sixth grade by watching his music teacher play and also learning melodies by ear. He began playing ragtime after learning a simpler version of "The Entertainer," which sparked interest in the composition and the composer. After purchasing a book on Scott Joplin's works, he began to learn all his favorite rags with midi files on the internet for reference. After performing the full composition of Beethoven's "Fur Elise" for a talent show, a teacher donated a baby grand piano from her living room to Jackie. He spent many hours learning ragtime songs and his favorite songs on the radio by listening to midi files and mp3s online.

In middle school and by the end of high school he had taken musical classes like orchestra, jazz band, choir and beginning piano to learn the fundamentals of music. In high school he shifted his focus to his voice and began to accompany himself while singing songs, performing in talent shows and at small parties. As a prize for winning a high school talent show he was given the opportunity to tour nationwide with the group J’on Harris and the Voices. He has also performed in the San Joaquin County Honor Choir, and became a winner in Stockton, California’s Apollo Night at Bob Hope Theatre in the male teen vocalist category.

Since then he has played with the group Archeara and the groups Nightshift and People of the Sun centered around R & B and hip-hop, occasionally opening for artists like KRSone and La Circa. At age 19 he took classes at Sacramento City College such as voice, music theory, commercial music ensemble and modern recording techniques. Now he has three children of his own who he plans to teach piano, voice and theory to. Some of his musical influences include India Arie, Erykah Badu, Dave Brubeck, Scott Joplin, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and more. He is a piano teacher at School of Rock Elk Grove.

Calvin Hazy Guitar Teacher

Calvin Hazy found his love for music by playing keys for a youth orchestra in Miami, FL at six years old. He performed in various event halls and concerts, including in a performance for the release of "Shrek." Inspired by Jack Black in "School of Rock" at age 12, he begged his parents for a guitar for Christmas and started taking lessons. After also receiving a hand-me-down MP3 player from his older brother, he discovered artists such as Buckethead, System of a Down, Pantera and Lamb of God and fell in love with the genres of rock and metal.

After finding out a childhood friend of his played drums with similar musical interests, they started a thrash metal band, Amnesia, and performed live for a few years with other high school friends. Eventually disbanding, Calvin joined the rock band Second Day Silence, with influences such as Breaking Benjamin, Alter Bridge and Shinedown. In search of finding his sound, Calvin and his previous co-guitarist from Amnesia attended The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Arizona. They both used their education for recording their own music, as well as uploading guitar playthrough videos on YouTube. Currently, his musical interests range from Gorillaz, RHCP and King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard to artists such as Necriphagist, Flying Lotus and various classical composers. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Elk Grove.

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