Mike Souder Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, piano Teacher
Inspired by The Beatles, Mike Souder started with guitar at age 11. He has extensive experience performing and recording for over 40 years. The past 25 years included teaching privately and in local music stores prior to coming to School of Rock. He taught an after school music program at X-Zone Lifespring in Midlothian. He plays advanced guitar, electric bass, keyboard and drums/percussion. He performs regularly with three bands in the Richmond, VA area as well as in Cloverhill Assembly of God church services.
Drew Micco Bass Guitar Teacher
Drew has been playing bass guitar for over 25 years. At the age of 14 he formed his first band with his neighborhood friends and thus launched a lifetime love of playing and recording music. Over the years he went on to play bass and record with several bands in his native state of Pennsylvania and later here in Richmond. He also plays guitar, and writes and records music when he's not working at his day job as a construction project manager. Drew is a fan of all genres of rock music and can hold his own in a game of rock n' roll trivia.
Drew is thrilled to share his passion for music with the students at School of Rock and help them achieve their rock n' roll dreams.
Ella Mort Piano Teacher, Vocal Instructor
Exposed to music at a young age with a pianist as a mother and a rock and roll drummer as a father, Ella Mort quickly discovered that singing was her lifelong passion. After participating in numerous amounts of choirs, show choirs and musicals throughout her childhood and teenage years in Chesterfield County, she chose to go on to pursue Music Education in college. She received a Bachelors Degree in Vocal Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University in May of 2018 and is currently licensed to teach music to any grade level in the entire state of Virginia. She has been vocally trained in all sorts of styles of music, from Broadway musicals to radio hits, to the rock and coll classics she grew up on. She is always willing to work on any sort of music that the students enjoy and want to learn how to sing with.
Ella was introduced to School of Rock right after graduating college, and has quickly fallen in love with the fun environment, the incredible and unique students, and all of the music that is created here. She is currently a vocal instructor and piano teacher at School of Rock Midlothian, and assistant directs for the large group band shows that School of Rock offers and puts on.
Jared Merrill Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Drum Teacher, Vocal Instructor
Jared Merrill started playing his first instrument 14 years ago and today has knowledge in bass, drums, guitar, piano and keyboard. Jared learned the bass as his first instrument at age 11 and played in the symphonic band from sixth grade through 12th grade. He grew up listening to The Beatles but it was the band Muse that inspired him to pick up multiple instruments.
A few years later, his dad bought a vintage Ludwig kit and he couldn't resist sitting behind it every chance that he got. He quickly developed a talent for drums which led to him playing the snare drum in his school's marching band during his senior year of high school. During this time is also when he first picked up a guitar and sat behind a keyboard. He has a love for learning chords and melodies.
Today Jared is a gigging musician with a local band named The J.O.B, and has a passion for teaching students various techniques, chords and theories for all instruments. He is a guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher, piano teacher, drum teacher and vocal instructor at School of Rock Midlothian.
Austin Washington Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Austin Washington picked up the guitar at age 10 and soon picked up the baritone saxophone at age 11. He was inspired by bands and artists like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. By the time he arrived in high school his influences shifted towards a more jazz oriented position through groups and people like Frank Zappa, Pat Metheny, Cole Train, Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, Chick Corea and Guthrie Govan. He also decided to pick up other instruments all while attending high school and School of Rock Short Pump.
Being highly devoted to his musical trade, he was thrust into the show program and House Band. Austin in 2015 went on to audition for the School of Rock AllStars and made it, being the first School of Rock student between Short Pump and Midlothian to join the program. He made it to Team 1 and toured from Austin, TX to Chicago, IL. Austin then went on to study music theory quite rigorously with a teacher for a year and then on his own terms, mostly through jazz mediums via transcribing the music and analyzing it. He also began to work in the audio engineering field and got work as an audio editor for various big YouTubers. He now has decided to come back to School of Rock Midlothian and impart some of his knowledge to students. It's his passion and joy to be able to spread the things he's learned about music, and he hopes to inspire every single student he gets to be better than what they are, and push themselves into territory previously uncharted. He is a guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher and saxophone teacher at School of Rock Midlothian.
Eric Bandy Drum Teacher
Inspired by listening to classic rock radio at a young age, Eric Bandy became fascinated with the drums. At the age of 11 he began taking lessons. He was heavily influenced by John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, Stewart Copeland of The Police and many other modern day drummers. Eric found great joy in playing along with some of his favorite classic rock records. After cutting his teeth in a few local bands, he moved to Hollywood to attend The Musicians Institute, where he studied drums and live performance. After moving back to Richmond in 2014, he began teaching drums and joined VA's Top 40 charting band, The J.O.B. (The Jim O'Ferrell Band). Eric enjoys sharing his passion for music, as well as plenty of live performance experience. He looks forward to inspiring the next generation of young musicians. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Midlothian.
Sean McCoy Studio Coordinator
Sean McCoy was a student at School of Rock Midlothian for three years before coming on as our Studio Coordinator. With a passion for what we do, he was always helping out with the younger students, as well as participating in House Band during his time learning here. Now, as the Studio Coordinator, he feels right at home in our dynamic environment. He helps current and prospective students on their own music journeys, as well as coordinates day-to-day operations. He shares a passion for music and performance that is characteristic of all of our instructors here at the school. He has been in various local bands and is constantly pursuing personal projects.
John Kramer Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Vocal Instructor
John Kramer began his music journey in fifth grade playing the trumpet. He became a member of jazz band in middle school, and joined marching band and orchestra in high school. He learned how to sing in chorus class and performed in school musicals and chorus concerts. He also taught trumpet to beginner students and assisted in jazz clinics. He picked up the guitar when he couldn’t play trumpet because of braces and started listening to classic rock. He played lead guitar and vocals in a local New Jersey group, and recorded several albums with the band. He also taught himself recording and mixing, and started composing music for commercials and indie films.
John has been playing music locally in Richmond since 2014, but is currently focusing on composing, production and teaching. He not only teaches pop/rock music with a foundation in classical and jazz, but guides others in how to connect with their personality and how to express their emotions through music. He is a guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher and vocal instructor at School of Rock Midlothian.
Jackson Shurlds Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Vocal Instructor
Jackson Shurlds is a multi-instrumentalist freelance musician who frequently performs a variety of musical genres in Richmond and cities along the East Coast. He earned music degrees at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Cincinnati. Jackson loves to share his musical passion and knowledge with his students, introducing them to goal-oriented music practice to maximize efficiency during practice sessions. It immensely inspires him to witness a student's development as a musician. He is a guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher, piano teacher and vocal instructor at School of Rock Midlothian.
Joe Welch Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
Joe Welch hails from Yorktown, VA and is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. He has shared the stage with the likes of Grammy Award-winning musicians The Roots, Thundercat, Casey Benjamin and Anna Wise. He has played at notable venues, including The 9:30 Club, UCLA Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Fest, BAM Opera House in Brooklyn and more. Joe has taught privately for over 10 years and likes to guide a student's path of development based on their musical goals and interests. He is a bass guitar teacher and drum teacher at School of Rock Midlothian.