Pete FordGuitar Teacher, Singing Teacher, Piano Teacher
Midway through his second year in business school at Miami University, Pete Ford had a sudden epiphany to become a professional songwriter. Upon leaving Miami, he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina where he began his musical journey and learned how to speak Spanish very poorly! He eventually moved back to the States to get his music degree, graduating with honors at Columbia College in Chicago. After graduating, Pete moved out west to Santa Cruz, CA where he began teaching and playing music full-time. He eventually started his own business, The Serenade Store, where he still writes, records and performs personalized songs for special occasions. His motto for music and life is simple: do what you have to do to keep the dream alive! Pete has an extraordinary passion for sharing his unique musical perspectives with anyone that is eager to listen. His goal in teaching is to find out what drives each individual student and help guide them along their individual path.
Dan BeasleyMusic Director
Dan graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2009 and moved immediately to Chicago to pursue the richest music scene in the country here in the Windy City. He has been actively playing, writing and recording around Chicago and across the nation ever since. While studying at Berklee he had the privilege of studying under the likes of Mike Mangini, Kim Plainfield, Skip Hadden, Dave DiCenso and many others. Dan has years of experience teaching Rookies, Rock 101, Performance Program and House Band, and while he specializes in drums and singing he can play every instrument taught at School of Rock. He has always relished the opportunity to pass the joy of music on to others and to share in the magic of others' music. He has never shied away from any playing situation and has a very diverse and unique musical background because of it. He currently plays drums, writes and sings in Old Grand Dad, drums for The Prairie Fires, and works freelance as a studio and live musician.
Danielle FitzsimmonsGeneral Manager
Danielle FitzSimmons is the General Manager and Little Wing instructor at School of Rock Hinsdale. Danielle grew up in Mount Prospect, Illinois where she fondly recalls waking up every morning to the sound of her dad playing songs by James Brown. Like a lot of people who are passionate about music, Danielle has woven her way in and out of the industry. Starting at the College of DuPage, she became involved in organizing monthly concerts for local bands. From there, Danielle relocated herself to Nashville which was the place to be "before it was the place to be." Once in Nashville, she continued to pursue music-related jobs (including one at Clear Channel Radio) as well as a Bachelor's degree. Danielle's BA in Organizational Leadership as well as her Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling have both found purpose at School of Rock Hinsdale. As a Little Wing instructor, she's able to apply her knowledge of "play therapy." Recognizing differences and how to motivate each student is one of her greatest strengths and personal rewards. Danielle's story is a reminder to anyone who loves music that there is a place for everyone, especially at School of Rock.
Emily GoodellAssistant Manager
Emily Goodell started playing piano at the age of seven and percussion at the age of 10. Throughout high school and college, Emily played in concert band, jazz band, marching band, percussion ensemble and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra. Emily graduated from Lewi University with a degree in Music Business and a minor in Marketing. Although classically trained, Emily uses influences from all genres of music in her teaching. She loves teaching kids and watching them grow musically. Emily started out as a Little Wing instructor at School of Rock Naperville. She then went on to work as the Assistant Marketing Director for School of Rock Hinsdale. Emily loves getting to know everyone in the lobby and still getting to teach Little Wing.
Jeremiah MillerSinging Teacher
Jeremiah was born the youngest of four children. Over the years his love for writing music, singing and playing the drums has grown tremendously. Jeremiah has been playing the drums since he was four years old. His skill has grown over the years and he is now the lead drummer and music director at his father’s church and has started his own solo career as an artist. He has ventured into teaching younger children in the art of playing instruments and singing.
Lenny VertucciGuitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Lenny brings over 20 years of stage and teaching experience. He started playing guitar at the age of 15 and spent most of his late teen years locked away in his room practicing with friends like Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, David Gilmore, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Michael Schenker to name a few. By the age of 19 Lenny was playing in original bands in and around the Chicago area, working his way up to playing in touring bands and opening for acts such as Ozzy Osbourne and Testament. By his late 20s Lenny was a songwriter for Nash Publishing and house session player at Tanglewood Studios in Brookfield, IL, which afforded him the opportunity to work with many artists that have helped shape his style and sound today. Currently Lenny is writing music in his home studio and performing all over the Chicago area and midwest in the cover band LAVA Rock.
Matt EvertGuitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Singing Teacher, Piano Teacher
Matt Evert had an interest in music at a very early age. He started taking piano lessons in first grade and went on to study percussion, guitar and vocals throughout high school, where he performed in jazz band, choir and was a cast member in the musical productions. After graduating from Northern Illinois University, he found himself performing in bands all over the Unites States and Canada. He is now composing and recording music under his solo project, Barber Greene, as well as drumming in the Chicago band Campdogzz, who are working on their second full-length album and continue to play venues all around the country. Some of his favorite artists include Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, The Beatles, Neil Young, Television, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie.
Rudy BlessBass Guitar Teacher
Having grown up in Switzerland, Rudy moved to Chicago in the summer of 2009 in order to attend Columbia College Chicago. Four years later he walked out with a Bachelors of Music, with a concentration in Instrumental Performance for Bass. He had the opportunity to study under a slew of great musicians in that time (and learn a number of other instruments including guitar, piano and drums), and was fortunate to be offered a position playing bass for Australian blues artist Michael Charles. His time on the road with this band gave him a lot to think about when it came to actually applying what he’d learned over the years. He’s currently playing all around Chicago with his bands The Lulabelles and The Devilish Winks, and slowly working on some small projects of his own. Rudy is always ready to talk music with anyone who’ll listen.
Walter PochronDrum Teacher
Wally Pochron started playing the drums when he was nine years old when he decided to join his school's band program. Since then Wally has been continuously playing music both as a classical artist and as a commercial artist. In the spring of 2017, Wally received his Bachelors in Music Performance from Millikin University in Decatur Illinois. During his time at Millikin Wally enjoyed playing in jazz combos, jazz bands, percussion ensembles, pit orchestras, wind ensembles and symphonic orchestras. One of his favorite groups to play in with was the Millikin University Latin Jazz Project. As part of the Millikin University Latin Jazz Project Wally recorded two CDs, toured the Midwest and performed at the 2016 Havana International Jazz Festival. A passionate teacher, Wally is committed to his students’ success and happiness in both music and in life.
John NugentGuitar Teacher
John Nugent is a native Chicagoan who has been performing and teaching guitar for the better part of a decade. Considering himself to be an eternal student of music, John has always pushed himself to learn and incorporate new styles and techniques into his playing. Performing everything from Miles to Metallica, John has been a fixture of the Chicago music scene, and has had the privilege of playing at a number of the city's venues including Lincoln Hall, Double Door, Schubas, The Mutiny, The Jazz Showcase, Quencher's, Andy's Jazz Club, Tonic Room and the Chicago Jazz Festival. After receiving his Bachelors Degree from the Music Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, John moved to New York City where he was a sought after studio musician, performer and musical outreach educator. John thoroughly enjoys teaching and tailors his lessons to be fun and relatable, believing that a student’s success is contingent on their enjoyment.