Nicole Starch General Manager
Prior to taking over as general manager in September of 2019, Nicole was a vocal and keys instructor at School of Rock Katy. She’s been a student of music since a young age and loves watching young musicians find confidence in rehearsal and on stage while learning to work together to produce great music. She’s recorded two albums, 2007’s “Miscellaneous” and 2014’s “Black Coffee and Key Lime Pie.” Nicole believes that you should never stop learning, currently playing bass and drums in the School of Rock Katy Adult Band.
Miriam Ward Music Director
Our Music Director Miriam Ward began playing worship in her home church, a growing ministry which provided her amazing opportunities to learn and grow with older musicians. She was awarded a presidential scholarship at the age of 17 to attend Berklee College of Music, one of only ten recipients nationwide. She finds herself immersed in the modern metal prog scene with artists such as Intervals, Plini, Polyphia, Animals as Leaders, and Periphery influencing her own music composition in her band Minosa. Miriam believes that anybody from any walk of life can play music and be taught an instrument in some fashion. She believes that humans are inherently designed for music. Her goals as an instructor are to teach students of all ages with fundamentals that anyone can understand, to teach to their playing goals quickly and effectively while not losing the fun in playing.
Chris Moye Drum Teacher
Born and raised in Katy, TX, Chris had a natural ear for music from a very young age. In the beginning, Chris’s fundamental experiences were organic- learning to play by watching and listening to drummers of all styles. In junior high, Chris played with many bands, performing in school functions and at various youth venues in Houston and the surrounding area. Soon after, Chris joined Minderbinder, recording and performing at multiple venues across Texas including the Houston Marathon and South by Southwest. Chris continues to immerse himself in the Houston music scene, performing with several local and national bands and earning nominations from the Houston Press for Best Upcoming Metal/Punk Band. With his capacity to come into any professional environment and instinctively play exactly what is needed, Chris has earned a reputation as a veritable drumming ninja in the Houston area. Chris is passionate about drumming and about sharing his passion for music with others.
Stan Pillis Guitar Teacher
Stan Pillis is a seasoned performer, songwriter, composer, arranger and teacher with over 30 years of experience working with students of all ages and all genres. He is an expert in playing various styles of both guitar and bass and also sings. He is also an accomplished session player and recording artist. Stan has a wide knowledge of and teaches various musical styles such as rock, metal, pop, acoustic, classical, jazz, funk, fusion, world and blues. He has recorded guitar tracks on numerous commercials and has recorded multiple albums with numerous bands, as well as traveled the world on tour with numerous bands. He has taught all levels of instruction and skill sets (beginning, intermediate and advanced) and has provided instruction on sight-reading, ear-training, musical and chord theory, speed picking, pick techniques, rhythm guitar techniques, lead guitar techniques and explaining modal concepts. He is an expert in performance and has led many workshops on different types of methodology, as well as demonstrations of various types of pickups, strings, picks and pedals. He has prepared students for performances, auditions and festivals by also leading band performance workshops.
Steve Long Piano Teacher
Steve has been involved with music his whole life. His dad was a drummer and also played clarinet in a Dixieland band, so there was always music in the house. He bought Steve a marching drum when he was five and Steve would march around the neighborhood playing marching cadences with all his friends following behind. At seven, Steve took piano lessons and stopped when he was 14, then taught himself to play the guitar. He had a band in high school and college. After two years as a journalist in the Navy, he joined Channel Two News as a photojournalist. A few years later he got together with some of his neighbors and started Easy Money, a local band that has been playing all over Houston for 27 years. Steve retired from Channel Two after 40 years and now enjoys teaching a new generation how to rock and roll.
Larry Del Toro Drum Teacher
Born in Baytown, TX, Lawrence Del Toro has been playing drums for more than 40 years. Immersed in music from an early age, Lawrence was hooked on the drums after seeing Ringo Starr and The Beatles on television. Since then, Lawrence has performed in numerous bands, honing his skills behind the kit. Some of his bands have opened for such famous groups as The Drifters, The Platters, The Temptations, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Vaughan. Currently, he’s actively working the blues circuit with his nephew, 2017 Blues Award winner John Del Toro Richardson. In addition to the drums, Lawrence also plays guitar, keyboards and harmonica and enjoys his time in his own studio making music.
Abigail Armstrong Vocal Instructor
After developing a love of music at a very young age, Abigail Armstrong realized her talent and love for singing with the help of many teachers and mentors, but it was her time working in the worship ministry at her church that really shaped and grew her as a vocalist. She led worship and performed at several women’s ministry retreats. She thoroughly enjoys harmonies and vocal blending, and can often be heard adding her own special touch to music playing throughout the school. She encourages students to find their own true voice while learning vocal health and overcoming vocal boundaries. Her playlist includes a wide variety of music from Johnnyswim to Journey, Matchbox Twenty to Ed Sheeran and Leon Bridges to Nirvana, which allows her to hop on stage at dueling piano bars with ease. Her vocal influences include Adele, Lauren Daigle, Whitney Houston and Stevie Nicks. She is a vocal instructor at School of Rock Katy.
Justine Singson Guitar Teacher, Vocal Instructor
Justine Singson is ecstatic to return to School of Rock Katy as a vocal instructor and guitar teacher after being a founding member of both the school and House Band (and later the adult band) in 2012 as a guitarist, bassist and vocalist. Playing in gigs all over southeast Texas and at Summerfest in Milwaukee further influenced her eclectic music tastes, which go from Paramore and Sleater Kinney, to Siouxsie Sioux and The Pretenders. Her vocal inspirations are Hayley Williams and Florence Welch, whose powerful and unforgiving voices drove her passion in singing. She wants to bring out that same passion and individuality in others. She currently attends the University of Houston (Honors College) as a double major in Women and Gender Studies and Media Production.
Bryce Levett Guitar Teacher
Bryce Levett has been playing music for more than 40 years, beginning with piano, then acoustic guitar and electric guitar when he was in high school. He has performed with groups and taught guitar to students in both the US and Australia. He enjoys playing and teaching a variety of music styles such as rock, blues and jazz. Although mainly a guitar player, he also likes playing piano, bass guitar, ukulele and mandolin. He is equally comfortable teaching both rhythm and lead guitar techniques. Formally educated as a mechanical engineer, he has applied his education toward the building and upgrading of both electric and acoustic guitars. He also loves teaching others about how to properly set up their instruments to improve playability and sound. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Katy.
Connor Coleman Drum Teacher
Born in Kingwood, TX, Connor spent his youth moving with his family across the country and overseas. He began focused drumming at thirteen when given the opportunity to drum in his school’s Rock Band. Previously providing the foundation for the band with his bass playing, he realized he was uniquely talented on the drums. In 2014 Connor joined School of Rock Katy as a student. He performed for three years in a row at Summer Fest in Milwaukee as a drummer for the school's selective House Band while also supplying the foundation on both drums and bass during numerous SOR shows. During his final years as a student at SOR, Connor joined with his brother and three other School of Rockers to form a band that gigged at many of Houston's popular music venues. Their debut album allowed Connor and his fellow band members the opportunity to showcase their ability to create, perform and record their own music. He continues to develop his creative skills in audio, video and digital media in college. He’s also returned to School of Rock as a drum instructor and is now leading the next line of musicians on their exciting musical journey.
Saturday Biffle Singing Teacher
Saturday Biffle brings an educational approach to vocal instruction to School of Rock Katy, utilizing a BA in Speech Language Pathology, giving them special skill in training vocalists to sing in the healthiest way possible. Their performance experience began at the age of 7 where they were trained classically and then expanded into other musical genres. Their influences range from Mal Blum to Brian Wilson and clipping to Cosmo Sheldrake. While most people think singing is some magical talent that you either have or don’t have, Saturday believes that vocalists simply aren’t taught in a way that is right for them. They believe it is vital to tap into what kind of learner each person and bring that out in each lesson.
Joshua Merritt Drum Teacher
Joshua Merritt started his musical journey when he fell in love with Electric Light Orchestra at two years old. While he still maintains a love for all styles of music, his discovery of metal in elementary school has shaped his career in the years since. He is a seasoned drummer, playing in the band Spectral Manifest and Haserot. His musical influences include Bill Ward, Bev Bevan, Lars Ulrich, Mick Fleetwood and Dave Lombardo. Josh’s love for playing is infectious and he loves to quote Van Halen saying, “There is no wrong way to play” believing that students learn more by feeling out the music.
Griffin Swank Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Singing Teacher
Growing up in a musical family, Griffin has been surrounded by songwriting and theory his whole life. His father’s eclectic taste in poetry and rock ‘n roll and his mother’s experience as a flautist in the UT Band is reflected in his endless pursuit of songwriting and the analysis of popular music. A guitarist to his core, he is in high demand in the Houston music scene as a keyboardist and is confidently able to teach guitar, keys, and vocals to the students of School of Rock Katy. Griffin has several years of college level advanced music theory under his belt and has a degree from MediaTech Institute with an emphasis in music production. You may have seen Griffin making his rounds in the Houston music scene in bands such as Ben Kweller, Rooney, Up On A Quasar, Howard and the Nosebleeds, and Griffin Swank’s Hubble Space Parade..
He’s most influenced by The Beatles, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Ry Cooder, Traffic, Little Feat, Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, Derek & the Dominos, and the JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE. Griffin believes that there is no ceiling to keep students from growing! Pathways to mastery are always accessible.