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Our Experienced Music Instructors

School of Rock has experienced music instructors

Our Experienced Music Instructors

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

Justin Zych Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher

Justin has been playing guitar since he was 11 years old. He picked up the guitar from watching his father play and never stopped. He has a Bachelors Degree in music performance from IPFW and excels at classical, jazz, blues and rock. He arranged a Metallica medley for his classical guitar ensemble and has sold this arrangement to several schools around the world. He is a touring musician and has been a part of national tour packages and has been teaching private and group/band ensemble lessons for 10+ years. The bands he currently plays/tours with are Zephaniah and Death On Fire. He has filled in for countless bands for live performances as well as recorded bass, guitar and piano as a studio musician. Justin likes going to live music shows with his family, collecting music memorabilia and playing video games when playing his instruments!

Sam Stephens Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Sam Stephens has been a herald of the divine art of music since his childhood. His interest in guitar was originally kindled by his uncle, who would frequently bring an acoustic guitar to family gatherings. At age 13 this interest manifested itself physically when said uncle allowed Sam to borrow an acoustic guitar with the condition that he must learn a full song within a month to be able to keep the instrument. Sam fulfilled this challenge by learning "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones, and thus his musical voyage began. Throughout high school he cultivated his knowledge of guitar by taking lessons from a brilliant instructor, Michael Patterson, and by playing in assorted garage and school constructed bands. He is currently playing lead guitar in a Fort Wayne-based group called Our Name is Taken, and bass in the Chicago-based metal band Death on Fire.

Kyle Smith Drum Teacher

Kyle Smith is a serious musician, making serious music, without taking himself too seriously.

Ryan Getz, of the music blog Tuned Up, once described Kyle's indie rock project Girl Colors using those terms, and ever since Kyle has taken that as something of a motto for himself.

A musician based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Kyle plays drums and percussion. He has a passion for music education and has been teaching drums and performance to students of all ages at School of Rock since it opened in Fort Wayne in Fall 2015. He hopes to communicate joy and humor through serious musicianship, always working to be a studious keeper of groove behind the drum kit, but is not above throwing on a costume and facepaint in the name of rock and roll.

In addition to drumming and teaching, Kyle is involved in many things related to music: writing original music, reviewing new music releases for the music blog Tuned Up, creating DIY band merchandise, and building and restoring custom drums. Outside of music, Kyle enjoys reading good fantasy and science fiction, drinking strong coffee, and spending time with his wife Erin and their cat Willow.

Kevin Showalter Vocal Instructor

Vocal instructor Kevin Showalter has been singing ever since he could first talk. As a very young child, he would hear music on the radio and within a week be singing that song, word for word, by memory. His first experience of singing on stage would come not too long after, performing songs at his childhood church. His first real performance was his sophomore year in high school, when he sang “Tears in Heaven” at his choir show and received his first, of many, standing ovations.

Kevin graduated with his bachelor’s degree, majoring in Vocal Performance and an outside field of Creative Writing from IPFW in 2010. The program afforded him many opportunities to perform in such places as Washington D.C. and New York City. Kevin has also sung "The National Anthem" at college basketball games, as well as Fort Wayne Tincaps games.

When he’s not teaching at School of Rock Fort Wayne, Kevin is a featured vocalist in the infamous Fort Wayne rock orchestra The APQ-Harmonic. He has been described as a “renaissance man” by the PyleStyle Blog for his day work as an advocate for kids with disabilities, and for writing his blog Modern Day Nobody in addition to all his music ventures. While he loves to write and perform more laid-back folk tunes, he also has a soft spot in his heart for getting everyone on their feet with some loud rock, and loves passing that passion on to his students.

Jacob Ganser Piano Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

By the time Jacob Ganser had started middle school, he had dabbled in percussion and piano, and been approached by some friends who were interested in performing an amateur Green Day cover at the art camp that they all would attend that summer. The performance itself had room for improvement, but Jacob was hooked on it.

A couple years later, Jacob discovered a love for the bass guitar, influenced by the diversity of the instrument and its application in bands ranging from The Gorillaz to early Metallica. He began to push the boundaries of what a bass guitarist’s role in music could be, applying lead riffs to keep up with some of his more technically-skilled friends, and even crafting sounds with guitar pedals that would later be applied in electronic music settings. One thing would remain certain: Jacob loved playing music and enjoyed helping others put on a show.

In addition to music, Jacob is also a leading member of the local arts collective The Keepers of Bohemia. He graduated from St. Francis University with Bachelor’s degrees in both Music Technology and Psychology, and uses these to help collaborate with artists and venues in the local area to put on shows. As of now, Jacob plays bass with two local Fort Wayne bands: Our Name Is Taken and Venus In Jeans.

Tyler Witte Guitar Teacher, Drums Teacher

Guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher and drum teacher Tyler Witte first got a guitar in his hand at the young age of five, when his musician father taught him a couple chords. However it wasn’t until the age of 12 when he discovered and fell in love with early thrash metal bands such as Metallica and Slayer that he started diving into guitar seriously. Using his Christmas money, Tyler bought his first B.C. Rich Warlock, and spent endless hours locked in his room learning to play.

Before too long he and his high school buddies had a band and were writing original metal songs. After high school, Tyler’s bandmates let their passion for video games get in the way of creating music, but Tyler’s pursuit of musical fulfillment would not be squashed. While in search of his next musical endeavor, Tyler came across local thrash metal band Masochist; however, there was a catch. Masochist didn’t need a guitarist. They needed a drummer. In the eight years they were together, Masochist composed and released their self-titled album, and played venues all over the Midwest, Detroit and Cincinnati.

While not molding the next generation of young rock stars at School of Rock Fort Wayne, Tyler plays drums for local tribute bands Cougar Hunter and Decade Divide. He is also currently attending Purdue Fort Wayne in pursuit of a degree in Physics.

Lee Cliff Bass Guitar Teacher

Lee Cliff's been playing bass for six years and is in love with the instrument, as well as music in general. Starting off with a talent show with his two older brothers, his instrumental skills improved over self-training and synthesis of his classical training with clarinet. Lee spent years in church and in several traveling worship teams before he founded the small break-out indie rock group Calder the Band. They played around Fort Wayne and had month long appearances on Spotify's Discover Weekly. Lee loves teaching bass lessons, and is beginning a new group called Brother Gene. Excited about the future, and excited about being a part of School of Rock Fort Wayne, Lee is ready to teach.

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