Our Experienced Music Teachers
All of School of Rock Fort Washington’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.
Darren Ellis Drums Teacher
Darren Ellis has been playing drums for over 20 years. He studied drums and percussion in college and his experiences encompass a wide variety of styles with many different people and bands in Ohio, Tennessee, New Jersey and New York. Some artists he has performed with include the Dave Landeo Band, Stonewater Groove, Jagstar, Jason Allen Phelps and Donald Brown. Darren has spent much time over the last two years studying at The Drummers Collective in New York City, where he continues to study. Drums are his primary focus, however, beginning in 1998 he worked as a systems technician for a pro concert sound company in the southeast. During this time he gained valuable experience in the music industry that he applies not only to his playing but everyday life as well. Darren holds a BSC in Audio Production from Ohio University.
Jessie Wexler Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Growing up in suburban Philadelphia, Jessie Wexler performed over 200 performances prior to starting college. Throughout his academic career, Jessie participated in many music programs. In this time, Jessie developed a skill for performance at a young age while studying various composers. Jessie composes and performs various styles of music including rock, jazz, film scores, Middle Eastern and world music.
At The University of the Arts, Jessie holds a Bachelor’s with honors in Music Composition. He has studied with some of the city's most talented composers and artists in college. Jessie focused on music production through classes and personal music projects, collaborating and composing music for animators, filmmakers, dancers and music business students. Jessie has performed with and produced for original bands in the Philadelphia area such as Seoul Delhi, Juice Wax and Breathing, collectively performing hundreds of shows and creating a fanbase in the Philadelphia area.
Jessie’s passion for music continued into education here at School of Rock Fort Washington. Through private and group lessons, Jessie is dedicated to teaching his students to learn their instruments and to play what they want confidently. Jessie is proficient at both production and performance, with a passion for writing high-quality content and performing at a professional level.
Mike Kiker Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Drums Teacher
Mike Kiker has been the organist for Philly psychedelic rock trio St. James and The Apostles since 2010 and is an occasional film composer. It all started for him at the age of four after finding out he had an ear for music by plucking out simple melodies on a beat-up Casio. During the latter half of grade school, he got more serious about music after picking up guitar, bass and drums. He took guitar lessons at the original School of Rock down on Race St. for one year. He soon moved on to working as a church organist, as well as joining the music program at Archbishop Ryan High School, where he graduated in 2005. At Ryan, he performed as a percussionist in the marching band and concert band, bassist in the jazz band, and played guitar, bass, keyboards and flute for school plays in the pit orchestra. He graduated in 2010 with honors from the Community College of Philadelphia with degrees in Music Theory and Sound Engineering, sang as a tenor in the school choir, and played as a bassist, drummer and vibraphonist in the college jazz ensemble. He runs a recording studio with the other members of St. James and The Apostles, and has engineered and produced for local artists around Philadelphia. Mike gave one-on-one lessons well before finishing high school, but ever since finishing college he has been teaching professionally at School of Rock Fort Washington in between gigs.
Chris Caulder Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Drums Teacher
Chris Caulder is a musical jack-of-all-trades. Starting his career as a drummer for the underground rock band Downside, Chris went on to play guitar and sing for several hardcore bands in Florida, including Signal 13 and No Way Out. Most recently, he played guitar, bass and piano in a downtempo electronic-based duo called Beauty’s Confusion. Currently, Chris is busy writing and recording music. He is working on his 14th solo project CD, currently entitled "The Surcharge."
To date, Chris has self-released 13 solo music CDs of various styles and sounds, all of which are available from his upstart record label Ousted Records. In addition to Chris’s live band and recording experience, he co-wrote a book about computer recording with author Michael W. Dean entitled “Digital Music DIY Now!” Furthermore, he has provided music for several video games and independent films, and has collaborated with and remixed countless indie artists' music, including Bitstream Dream, Buck 65, East Hundred and Lovespirals.
Chris listens to and loves every style of music under the sun, and some of his favorites include Jet To Brazil, Van Halen (only with David Lee Roth!), the Misfits (Danzig only), Queen, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Pink Floyd, Jimmy Eat World, Azure Ray, Julianna Hatfield, Minipop, Nada Surf, The Smiths and Metric.