Oak Park
School of Rock

Explore School of Rock

Oak Park

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School of Rock Oak Park
219 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 298-0002

Location Specifics

On the corner of Lake St. and Harvey Ave. Across the street from Pete's Market.

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Hours
  • Monday: 2 PM - 9 PM
  • Tuesday: 2 PM - 9 PM
  • Wednesday: 2 PM - 9 PM
  • Thursday: 2 PM - 9 PM
  • Friday: 2 PM - 9 PM
  • Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM
  • Sunday: 11 AM - 4:15 PM

Music programs at School of Rock Oak Park combine one-on-one lessons with group band practices

Programs we offer

Little Wing music program for toddlers and preschoolers
Little Wing
Ages 3-5

At School of Rock Oak Park our Little Wing music program for preschoolers and toddlers teaches students foundational music skills by playing games and participating in other interactive musical activities. Little Wing students have one weekly group music lesson in which they use classic rock songs to learn about rhythm, song structure, melody and dynamics through play.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP LESSON
  • USE HAND PERCUSSION & OTHER TOOLS TO LEARN RHYTHM PATTERNS & MUSIC SYNTAX

The Path to Take the Stage

The Little Wing music program is the first step in a young musician's journey. At School of Rock Oak Park, toddlers and preschoolers who show an interest in music should start with Little Wing. As they get older, they will progress into the Rookies program, followed by Rock 101 and the Performance Program.

Rookies music program for children
Rookies
Ages 6-7

At School of Rock Oak Park, our music program for children with no previous musical experience (typically ages 6 to 7-years-old) is called Rookies. Rookies students have one weekly group music lesson where they learn fundamentals like chords, rhythm and song structure. Kids get to learn and experiment with multiple instruments so they can later decide which one they ultimately want to continue pursuing in Rock 101.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP LESSON
  • USE OF SIMPLIFIED ROCK INSTRUMENTS TO TEACH KIDS TO PLAY MUSIC

The Path to Take the Stage

All of our music programs are designed to inspire students to learn and develop a strong musical proficiency. At School of Rock Oak Park, younger students who are not ready for a more comprehensive program like Rock 101 can start in Rookies. Additionally, students who have completed the Little Wing program will progress into the Rookies music program. No prior musical experience is needed for Rookies. Once your child is ready for private music lessons (typically older than first or second graders), they will graduate into our Rock 101 program.

Rock 101 music program for kids and beginners
Rock 101
Ages 8-18

Rock 101 is one of School of Rock Oak Park's top programs for kids and beginners. Students have one weekly group rehearsal where they learn to play classic rock songs that have been simplified for beginner musicians. Additionally, Rock 101 students in Oak Park have a weekly private music lesson with an instructor who helps them learn the concepts and skills behind their performance songs.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY PRIVATE LESSON
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP REHEARSAL

The Path to Take the Stage

Our music programs for kids in Oak Park are designed to get students on stage performing, with the goal of building strong musical proficiency. Younger students at School of Rock Oak Park who have participated in the Rookies program can move to our Rock 101 music program once they’re ready. Additionally, students (typically ages 8 to 18-years-old) can begin Rock 101 without any prior experience. The goal of this rock program is to quickly develop a basic competence on students’ chosen instruments before moving on to our famous Performance Program.

Performance music program for teens
Performance
Ages 8-18

The Performance Program at School of Rock Oak Park is our hallmark music program, where tens of thousands of students enroll each year. It consists of a weekly group rehearsal where kids and teens learn by playing rock music's most iconic songs with a band composed of their peers. Students are assigned songs and parts that are tailored to them based on their age, experience and ability to learn new skills and concepts. Students then work through their parts in weekly private music lessons, refining the skills and concepts that those songs introduce. The goal of this curriculum is to prepare kids and teens for live performances. Every few months, School of Rock Oak Park Performance Program students take the stage and play at local Oak Park music venues in front of a live audience.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY PRIVATE LESSON
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP REHEARSAL

The Path to Take the Stage

School of Rock Oak Park's music programs for kids and teens are designed to inspire by getting students on stage and performing. All of our other music education programs focus on readying students for our famous Performance Program. This is where students develop incredible musical skills. Performance Program students have often gone through our Rock 101 program first or have some previous basic music experience. These young musicians will have custom development plans outlined by their instructors with key concepts reinforced during private lessons and group rehearsals, all with the goal of performing live at a Oak Park music venue.

Adult music program for students over 18
Adult Program
Ages 18+

School of Rock Oak Park's Adult Program is for students over 18 years old who are looking to either improve their musical proficiency or pick up an instrument with no prior musical experience. As with most School of Rock music programs, the Adult Program uses a performance-based music education approach. This means the curriculum focuses on learning music concepts and applying them in a live performance setting. Our Adult Music Program includes one weekly private music lesson and a weekly group rehearsal. Every student at School of Rock Oak Park is placed in a band of fellow adults and then assigned specific songs as a way of learning key music concepts and skills. Adult students then take the stage to play at a live show in Oak Park.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY PRIVATE LESSON
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP REHEARSAL

The Path to Take the Stage

All of our music programs are designed to inspire by getting students on stage and performing, with the goal of building strong musical proficiency along the way. The School of Rock Oak Park Adult Program is open to all experience levels and each student will follow a customized learning plan developed by their instructor. Adult students will work together during rehearsal to prepare for a live performance at a real rock venue in Oak Park.

House Band program for gigging at local venues around town
House Band
Age 12-18

The School of Rock Oak Park House Band music program gives students under 18 the opportunity to join a gigging band composed of fellow musicians from their school. These students perform additional live shows throughout the year. All students in the Performance Program have the opportunity to audition for a spot in School of Rock Oak Park's House Band. Once selected, House Band members become leaders in their School of Rock community and perform live shows at IL rock venues throughout the year.

What To Expect
  • A GIGGING MUSICIAN'S EXPERIENCE
  • FREQUENT LIVE PERFORMANCES IN COMMUNITY

The Path to Take the Stage

Performance is the core of School of Rock's educational approach. Therefore, we create additional opportunities for students to perform on stages throughout Oak Park and the rest of IL. The House Band music program allows each school's most talented students the opportunity to join a band and play routinely in front of live audiences. Once a member, students will gain real music experience associated with gigging musicians and will become leaders and mentors inside the School of Rock community.

The AllStars national tour features the best child and teen musicians
AllStars
Age 17 and Under

The School of Rock AllStars Tour takes the very best students from around the world and sends them on a nationwide summer tour across the United States. Less than 1% of School of Rock students are selected each year to represent School of Rock as an AllStar. All Performance Program students are eligible to audition for this prestigious program. The intensive audition process starts off with video submissions followed by live auditions. Once selected, AllStar students will have an authentic touring experience including traveling on a tour bus, doing tour publicity and starring in nightly performances at famous venues and festivals during a two-week tour.

What To Expect
  • A MULTI-CITY, COUNTRY-WIDE MUSIC TOUR EXPERIENCE
  • PERFORMING ON SOME OF THE BIGGEST AND MOST FAMOUS STAGES IN THE WORLD

The Path to Take the Stage

Becoming an AllStar is the highest level of achievement for a School of Rock student. They play on legendary stages large and small, including The Knitting Factory, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Troubadour and Lollapalooza. AllStar students often go on to have accomplished careers in the music industry. Former AllStars have gone on to become touring artists, star in Broadway musicals, get signed to record deals, become finalists on talent competitions like "The Voice" and "American Idol" and have other notable roles in the music industry.

Center Stage Program Picture
Center Stage
Ages 13-19

The Center Stage Artist Search Program is an opportunity to be heard by a major record label. Singers from the ages of 13-19 can submit an audition video as part of the selection process. Selected artists will then have the chance to participate in a studio recording session, and perform at a live artist showcase with record label executives in Los Angeles. We'll also provide School of Rock songwriting camp scholarships for 100 applicants. Submit your video audition today.

What to expect
  • A live artist showcase in front of record executives
  • Record in a state-of-the-art major label studio

The Path to Take the Stage

The music of legendary recording artists can be the inspiration behind many School of Rock students’ drive to pick up an instrument for the first time. This music is the foundation of our curriculum because it helps maintain young musician’s drive to gain musical proficiency. Center Stage is a program to help usher in the next generation of great artists that will one day inspire others to begin their musical journey.

Music Lessons in Oak Park

Kid learns to play guitar at School of Rock

Guitar Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Guitar Lessons for Kids

At School of Rock Oak Park, we offer beginner guitar lessons for kids. Our expert guitar instructors guide your child from start to finish with private instruction and weekly group band rehearsals. Every instructor at School of Rock Oak Park is an experienced musician, and they emphasize foundational music theory and technique when teaching guitar lessons to kids. Unlike other Oak Park guitar lessons and programs, School of Rock is designed to get students performing in a band.

Beginner Guitar Lessons for Adults

It’s never too late to learn to play the guitar. Similar to our kids guitar lessons, School of Rock Oak Park's beginner guitar lessons for adults utilizes a performance-based curriculum. Our experienced instructors teach adult students through popular rock songs, and teach students to play guitar in a way that’s challenging and fun. We believe the best way to learn is by doing, which is why we combine weekly private guitar lessons with group band rehearsals. At School of Rock Oak Park, we teach beginner guitar lessons for adults in our Adult Program. This program gets students performing onstage at a local Oak Park venue.

Key Concepts
  • Technique
  • Solos
  • Chords
  • Theory

Intermediate to Advanced Guitar Lessons

As students gain skills and experience, we move them along to more challenging programs at higher skill levels. Intermediate and advanced students take the skills they learned in beginner guitar lessons, and layer on more difficult techniques and concepts. School of Rock Oak Park offers advanced guitar lessons for kids and adults that teach by playing challenging classic rock songs and emphasize playing the guitar in a real music venue. Our Oak Park guitar teachers will work with each student to develop a custom learning plan.

Kids learn to drum at School of Rock

Drum Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Drum Lessons for Kids

School of Rock Oak Park is the best option for anyone looking to learn the drums. Our beginner drum lessons get kids behind the drum kit and on their way to taking the stage. That’s why at School of Rock Oak Park we combine private drum lessons for beginners with weekly band rehearsals—it prepares students to perform live. With years of experience teaching drums in Oak Park, our drum instructors teach beginner drum students core techniques, including how to groove, play rudiments and more.

Beginner Drum Lessons for Adults

Our drum lessons for adults are designed to accommodate all skill levels. At School of Rock Oak Park, our beginner drum lessons for adults are built for musicians with little to no experience. We teach adults using the same core performance-based education philosophy as our drum lessons for kids—performing with a band accelerates the learning process. Adult students will perform live at a venue in Oak Park. Unlike other Oak Park drum lessons for beginners, School of Rock combines private drum lessons with weekly band rehearsals so students are ready to play in front of real, live audiences.

Key Concepts
  • RUDIMENTS
  • TIME SIGNATURES
  • TECHNIQUE
  • GROOVE

Intermediate to Advanced Drum Lessons

More experienced to advanced drum students need a drum lesson curriculum that builds upon foundational skills and continues to grow musical proficiency. That’s why at School of Rock Oak Park, our drum lessons are customized for each student and his or her goals. Our Oak Park drum instructors integrate more complex techniques and concepts—intermediary grooves, shifts, meters and more—into a student's individual lessons and group band rehearsal, and will also select more difficult songs for his or her live performances.

 

Kid learns to sing at School of Rock

Singing Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Singing Lessons for Kids

School of Rock Oak Park offers beginner singing lessons for kids. Our unique, performance-based approach develops students' musical proficiency by preparing them to perform live. At School of Rock Oak Park, our vocal coaches are practicing musicians who integrate key music fundamentals—breathing, posture and more—into a curriculum based on performing with a band. Each week, beginner singing students participate in a private singing lesson and a band rehearsal.

Beginner Singing Lessons for Adults

School of Rock Oak Park teaches adults how to sing in our innovative Adult Program. Students develop vocal skills at a challenging pace designed to help you see results with every singing lesson. Adult vocalists learn how to keep tempo, stay on-key and master advanced vocal techniques for a powerful and healthy voice. Our curriculum teaches students how to sing by using popular rock songs that emphasize key concepts. Each week, Adult Program students have a private singing lesson for beginners and group band rehearsal.

Key Concepts
  • TECHNIQUE
  • HARMONY
  • POWER
  • READING

Intermediate to Advanced Singing Lessons

At School of Rock Oak Park, our singing lessons for kids and adults are designed to help our students reach a high degree of musical proficiency. Intermediate and advanced singers take skills learned from previous singing lessons and layer on more difficult techniques and concepts. Our advanced singing lessons teach students to sing by performing popular rock songs that illustrate a specific vocal concept or technique. We pair weekly private singing lessons with weekly band rehearsals with the goal of getting musicians to perform live in Oak Park.

Kid learns to play bass at School of Rock

Bass Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Bass Lessons for Kids

School of Rock Oak Park offers beginner bass guitar lessons for kids that blend weekly private instruction with weekly band rehearsals. This performance-based approach results in a high level of musical proficiency because it engages and inspires students. Every School of Rock bass instructor is a practicing musician in Oak Park and teaches bass lessons for kids that get great results. Beginners learn to play bass guitar by using popular rock songs that illustrate key concepts and techniques.

Beginner Bass Lessons for Adults

Adults looking to learn bass guitar can enroll in School of Rock’s Adult Program. No experience is necessary in our beginner bass guitar lessons for adults. At School of Rock Oak Park, our experienced, local bass guitar instructors have the patience and skills to help adult students gain musical proficiency. As with all School of Rock music programs, our bass guitar lessons for adults ciriculum is performance-based, and include both weekly private instruction and weekly band rehearsals.

Key Concepts
  • GROOVE
  • TECHNIQUE
  • THEORY
  • TONE

Intermediate to Advanced Bass Lessons

Our intermediate to advanced bass guitar lessons teach Oak Park students the skills they need to become the backbone of a band. Students take skills from previous bass lessons and layer on more difficult techniques and concepts. At School of Rock Oak Park, our bass instructors use popular rock songs as a way of teaching students advanced concepts and techniques. We pair weekly private bass lessons with weekly band rehearsals to inspire and engage students throughout the learning process.

Kid learns to play piano at School of Rock

Keyboard Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Keyboard Lessons for Kids

At School of Rock we teach differently than other music schools in Oak Park. Our curriculum is performance-based, meaning that we prepare students to perform. Our piano lessons for beginners combine weekly private instruction with weekly band rehearsals. At School of Rock Oak Park, our beginner keyboard lessons for kids take key concepts and music fundamentals—finger placement, scales, key differentiation and more—and teach them through popular rock songs. This approach inspires and engages students, which results in attaining a high level of musical proficiency. Our piano teachers have years of experience teaching music in the Oak Park area, and know how to coach and motivate students of any skill level to play the keyboard.

Beginner Keyboard Lessons for Adults

The School of Rock Oak Park Adult Program puts beginner keyboard students in a band. Adult Program students in the Oak Park area learn to play piano through a combination of weekly private beginner piano lessons and weekly band rehearsals. At School of Rock, our piano lessons give adult students the chance to perform in a band at local Oak Park music venues, taking them out of the classroom and onto the stage.

Key Concepts
  • TECHNIQUE
  • TONE
  • THEORY
  • READING

Intermediate to Advanced Keyboard Lessons

At School of Rock Oak Park, our keyboard lessons for kids and adults are designed to help students get results. Intermediate and advanced students take skills learned from beginner keyboard lessons and layer on more advanced piano techniques with concepts. Our local keyboard instructors are all practicing musicians in Oak Park, and use popular rock songs as a way of teaching complex skills. We pair weekly private piano lessons with weekly band rehearsals to inspire and engage students throughout the learning process.

Our Experienced Music Teachers

All of School of Rock Oak Park’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.

Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Adam Instefjord Regional Director

Adam Instefjord is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. Hailing from the NW suburbs of Chicago, Adam first picked up a guitar around the age of 12. After mastering the art of the power chord, he devoted most of his free time to learning every song on every album he had. As a child of mid-90s punk, those first albums consisted of Green Day, Rancid, Offspring, Weezer, etc. Adam started his first band in the eighth grade and never looked back. He has since learned how to sing, play bass and drums, played countless shows with many bands, spent four years in Los Angbeles and toured the country. Adam also studied Audio Recording and Production at The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, OH. He uses those skills at his recording studio The Space, located at Music Garage Chicago, where he records, produces and mixes a variety of artists as well as his own bands. He is the Regional Director at School of Rock Oak Park.
Owner

Amy Renzulli Owner

Amy Renzulli, rocker mom and corporate marketer, is the owner of School of Rock Oak Park. Amy has spent most of her work life building her career in Sales and Marketing at Blue Cross and Blue Shield and at the same time pursuing artistic interests. While she developed her business skills in web marketing, sales strategy and technology adoption, she also hosted art shows, crafted and sold jewelry in local boutiques and galleries, and generally sought opportunities that would enable her to marry her business skills with her love of art. When her daughter, at the time, only 12 years old, attended summer camp at School of Rock Chicago, Amy suggested that they should consider opening a school in Oak Park. Amy learned that the School of Rock was a franchise opportunity and a light bulb went off. She knew that she would be the person to make it happen. In early December 2012, Amy and her ever-supportive husband converted a 50-year-old combination warehouse and office building into the vibrant home of School of Rock Oak Park.

Al Willis Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Al Willis has been playing and performing music almost since he was old enough to walk. From playing the bass for gospel artist Inez Andrews in the early 70s at the tender of age of 10, to performing in the Chicago all-city jazz ensemble with fellow School of Rock instructor Rafe Bradford in the 80s, his music career began at a young age. Al toured and recorded with Grammy award-winning choir, Rev. Milton Brunson and The Thompson Community Singers. He worked as a Nashville session musician in the 1990s. He has performed with Michael McDonald, Patty Austin, Ali Woodson, Jamie Foxx, Billy Paul and Aretha Franklin. He was formerly the guitarist for The Dells and is now touring and performing with The Isley Brothers.

Chris Connelly Vocal Instructor

Chris Connelly has been a force in independent music since the inception of his first band Fini Tribe in his native Edinburgh, Scotland in 1980. During his eight years with the band they released several singles, played extensively around the U.K. and recorded a radio session for the legendary B.B.C. program “The John Peel Show.” They scored a massive European hit with “Detestimony” before leaving to move to Chicago at the invitation of Ministry's Al Jourgenson to sing with the band and collaborate on many musical side projects. Chris went on to be featured as a singer and composer on three hit albums for Ministry. He has maintained an incredibly prolific career to this day, recently completing his 15th solo album. He has over 300 published songs both as a sole composer and a co-writer. Amongst the musicians Chris has collaborated with over the years are Shirley Manson, Robert Fripp, Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Killing Joke, Jah Wobble (Public Image Limited), Cabaret Voltaire, Rebecca Pidgeon, Steve Albini, Tim Kinsella, Duane Dennison (Jesus Lizard), David Sim (Jesus Lizard), Ruby, Bill Rieflin (King Crimson, R.E.M.), Chris Bruce (Seal, Wendy Lisa) and Bill Laswell.

Andy Quirk General Manager

Born and raised in Southern California, Andy Quirk has always been a huge music fan (specifically of rock and heavy metal!). Following his wife here from Denver to support her career (even giving up a promotion for it!), Andy found a second home at our school. Andy has an extensive background in customer service for large, national companies. His customer-oriented skills make him the ideal person to manage our front office and handle our customer relations. He is the General Manager at School of Rock Oak Park.

Chris Kimmons Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Chris Kimmons moved from West Virginia five years ago to pursue a music career in Chicago. In that short amount of time, he has covered ground in many genres including rock, metal, traditional folk, jazz, fusion and electronic. Having studied music composition at Columbia College Chicago for his first two and a half years in the city, he has studied with many of Chicago's finest musicians. His bands, Can I Get An Amen and Actual Rhinoceros, show his diverse musical interests and his dedication to preserving music history while not allowing the past to inhibit the future.

Evan Opitz Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Evan is a multi-instrumentalist composer with a primary focus on guitar and vocals. Committed to a life of practice and study for 15 years, he holds a bachelor's degree in Jazz Guitar from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied with world famous musicians Larry Gray (Benny Golson, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Pass) and Jim Pugh (Steely Dan, Michael Jackson). Currently Evan plays with several different musical groups that write and perform original creative music exclusively. These groups include The Phantom Broadcast, Two Sets of Eyes, Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen, and Fiona Grey. His group Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen recently worked with Beau Sorenson (Death Cab For Cutie, Garbage) in the studio of Justin Vernon (Bon Iver/Volcano Choir) at April Base in Eaux Claire, WI. He has also recorded session guitar for quite a few artists including Travis Orbin (Darkest Hour/Sky Eats Airplane). Evan's multiple projects cross quite a few genres including indie rock, pop, hip-hop, folk, Americana, jazz, post-punk, prog and metal. After spending countless days and nights touring, writing, recording and networking, Evan hopes to share his personal experience instilling only the truest hope and desire of musical knowledge in his students.

Heidie Malnassy Vocal Instructor

Heidie Malnassy has been charming audiences with her voice since the age of 11. A natural performer, she has proven time and time again that music is her calling and passion. Receiving her Bachelor of Music in Contemporary and Urban Popular Music from Columbia College Chicago, Heidie has gained extensive knowledge in Vocal Performance, Songwriting, Production and Music Business. She has also had the chance to perform and collaborate with several highly acclaimed musicians including Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriters Paula Cole and Jim Lauderdale, multi-talented singer/songwriter and guitarist Charlie Sexton, and the world-renowned Todd Rundgren through Columbia’s Master Class/Residency program. Currently you can find Heidie as a vocalist and songwriter for several independent music projects, and performing regularly as the lead singer in one of Chicago's top event bands, Shout Out. She is also preparing to release her first solo debut EP, “No Love Like Our Love.” Heidie is excited for her new role as Voice Instructor, and is honored to have joined the many incredibly talented musicians that are a part of the School of Rock Oak Park family.

Jennifer Malone Director of Music Culture and Community Outreach

Jennifer is a veteran music director whose imagination and curriculum expertise have helped School of Rock Oak Park become the largest school in the international system. She is a four-time School of Rock AllStar director and has served on content and innovation boards at the corporate level over her many years with the company. Jennifer is a voice teacher who loves coaching students of all levels to perform at their personal best through personalized training, biodynamics and stage prep. As a director, Jennifer challenges players to step out of their comfort zones and develop the skills needed to be free and authentic on stage. Jennifer served as School of Rock Oak Park’s Music Director and developed programming, show seasons and touring groups, and oversaw the artistic direction of the school. As Music Experience Director of the new AMP (Awaken Musical Power) program for team-building, Jennifer aims to offer non-musicians the opportunity to experience the magic of group music through learning to spark breakthroughs of their own. Jennifer holds an M.Phil in Irish Theatre from Trinity College Dublin and a BFA in Acting from Kent State University. She performs regularly with the band 1976 and has a long performing resume that includes musical theater, jazz, roots, rock and punk. She lives in Oak Park with her husband and two kids and spends her free time volunteering and engaged in social justice. She is the Director of Music Culture and Community Outreach at School of Rock Oak Park.

Joel Janchenko Drum Teacher

Joel Janchenko is a Chicago-based drum instructor, knowledgeable in a wide variety of genres and musical skill sets. He has played all over the states, including The Metro in Chicago, multiple House of Blues venues, Milwaukee's SummerFest and Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. After studying at Berklee College of Music, he went on to teach at School of Rock. Currently, he plays professionally with Boy Band Review, a nationally touring tribute act. Excited to start this new chapter, the goal is to inspire the new generation of musicians.

Nick Fane Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Nick grew up in the west suburbs of Chicago and started his life in music by picking up a bass guitar at age 15. Influenced by bands like Rush, The Who, Tool and Soundgarden, he became immersed in every element of the musical process, from songwriting to music production and beyond. After earning his Bachelor's of Music from Columbia College Chicago in 2013, he spent four years with the Nick Moss Band, an internationally known blues/rock band. Pulling on experience gained from years of touring the continental United States, northern Europe and beyond, he works with his students to fully enrich their musical lives, as well as make them better players.

Dave Vazzano Music Director

Dave began his musical journey playing in concert and marching bands throughout grade school and college at Western Illinois University. His passion for rock music started when he bought his first drum set at age 12. Shortly after he started a punk rock band with fellow School of Rock instructor Adam Instefjord and never looked back. Dave is currently playing in a handful of bands in Chicago. He is the founding member of the female-fronted alt-rock band Lights Alive, as well as the drum player for the Chicago punk rock outfits The Mizzerables and The Student Body (a cover band that features rock tunes from the 50s up to today). This year his drumming will be featured on a series of EPs from Lights Alive and on the debut album "Every Last Stitch" from The Mizzerables. He is the Music Director at School of Rock Oak Park.

Joey Buttlar Drum Teacher

A recent addition to the Chicago music scene, Joey Buttlar is a drummer and percussionist who has has been performing with bands and ensembles for over a decade. He received the bulk of his formal education in high school and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he participated in marching band, jazz ensembles and orchestras. In Urbana he was a member of the pit orchestra for The Celebration Theater Company and The Champaign-Urbana Theater Company, while also performing with local punk, folk and rock bands. Joey is a founding member of the band Tara Terra, whose songs combine sharp songwriting with live energy and indie-rock production. In 2017, the band self-released their second studio album "Where’s Your Light?" and embarked on their third tour across the midwest and east coast. The band also performed at a variety of festivals, including the Pygmalion Festival in Urbana and Dunn Dunn Fest in Chicago. Currently, Joey is a member of the bands Two Sets of Eyes (rock/experimental) and Honey Cellar (folk/country).

Matt Tate Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Matt Tate is a Chicago-based artist, guitarist, composer and instructor. For the last 10 years he has been dedicated to performing solo and in bands. Currently, he is composing music for a Solo Stick record, launching a new website, touring, and working on multiple recording/performing collaborations (metal-math-prog-experimental). His current musical leanings are in the vein of the technical death shred of Blotted Science and the rhythmic madness of Frank Zappa, the interlocking poly-rhythmic spiderwebs of King Crimson and the stark, overwhelming beauty of Arvo Part.

Matt Velasco Drum Teacher

Matt believes a good teacher is forever a student because there is always something to be learned or improved upon. The seed of his love for music was planted around the age of five on the piano, and nurtured by his very musically inclined family. Through his formative years he had formal training with multiple instruments including guitar, violin and the drum set. After a few years of a musical hiatus, after high school and a stint at massage therapy school, Matt realized his true passion was for music. He decided to pursue music seriously and since 2012 has been performing with various ensembles throughout the city of Chicago. As a proponent of diversifying his range of skills in music, he has taken on teaching as a new chapter in his career. He hopes to inspire and challenge his students, and is excited to be a part of the magical, burgeoning community at School of Rock Oak Park!

Michael Brooks Piano Teacher, Vocal Instructor

Michael Brooks has been studying music since the age of four, when he started piano lessons and first heard his parents' vinyl copy of "Pet Sounds." While being trained in classical piano, Brooks eventually found himself drawn to Billy Joel, Ben Folds and rock operas. He studied music, theatre and voice at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI before moving to Chicago with his indie pop/piano rock band Common Shiner. In his 12-year tenure with that project Brooks charted nationally in the AC format (thanks to major support from Midwestern radio stations), toured the continental US and made a slasher movie parody music video that went viral across the globe with over 12 million views. Brooks has also voiced radio commercials and characters nationally, and won a Kennedy Center Special Award for Theatrical Sound Design in 2006. Current endeavors include Otter Finn, Foster, Front Runners and solo projects.

Michael Morgan Music Director

Michael Morgan has been playing music for close to 10 years, and has roots in The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but loves all kinds of music genres, such as jazz, funk, rock, blues, classical, metal, folk, bluegrass and lots in between! He believes there is always more to learn when it comes to music and strives to keep improving as a musician and a teacher. We're very happy to have him! He is the Music Director at School of Rock Oak Park.

Morgen Hare Marketing Coordinator

Morgen has been brought up in music since she was six and hasn't stopped since! She started off dancing at age four then added piano at six and voice at seven to continue her musical education. Originally from Minnesota, she developed a love for music the moment she was introduced to the Jackson 5 and Earth, Wind and Fire. After high school, she moved to Chicago, graduated from Columbia College and is currently a full-time professional vocalist. As she grew so did her skills as they developed and blossomed into a thriving career. Having performed at Carnegie Hall in NY, Summerfest in Milwaukee, and the Vic and Aragon Theaters in Chicago, Morgen is just as comfortable in front of large crowds as well as small. Whether it's working as a studio singer recording for TV and radio commercials or live shows, her love for music never ceases. She has a passion for all types of music ranging from classical to hip-hop, rock to soul, musical theater to R&B and everything in between. Morgen also has an avid passion for health, fitness and nutrition. In college, she got her yoga certification and studies nutrition on the side.

Rafe Bradford Bass Guitar Teacher

Rafe has been playing bass since age 11 and gigging professionally since age 16. He is a native Oak Parker who is returning from many years of playing and recording in Los Angeles, where he was most recently the bass player for Bonnie Hunt's daytime talk show band. Rafe majored in double bass performance at The University of Illinois, where he played in the orchestra, ensembles and jazz band, and was mentored by John Garvey. He has toured with and played with a host of stars, including Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Nancy Wilson, Mavis Staples, Michael McDermott, Alice Peacock, Poi Dog Pondering and Sons of The Never Wrong. He was in the live band of "The Tom Joyner Morning Show." Rafe also played on many jingles, including compositions for "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and McDonald's. We are very happy that Rafe's musical journey is also bringing him to School of Rock Oak Park, where he will influence another generation of musicians.

Tim Johnson Guitar Teacher

Tim Johnson first picked up the guitar over 20 years ago at age 13 and hasn't put it down since. In 2001, he earned a BA in Music Business from Elmhurst College. He has been teaching private guitar and bass lessons consistently since 2000 in the western suburbs and running rock band programs for kids since 2010. When outside of lessons, Tim evenly divides his time between practicing, rehearsals and a plethora of varying live performance situations, including everything from Chicago street festivals to weddings, large events like Riot Fest, big and small club shows and performing on the street. Trying to stay as busy as possible, he has held tenure in countless bands. This constant real world performing experience enriches every lesson. In addition to several original projects that Tim has in the works, he also currently performs extensively in and around Chicago with The Student Body (party rock covers).

Thor Bremer Drum Teacher

Thor Bremer is an in-demand drummer and percussionist throughout the Chicagoland area. He has played drums for such artists as Chase, Steve Edwards Orchestra, 1976, Animal Farm, The Dennis Keith Experience, Guitarola and more. He also performs regularly on marimba and vibraphone in Bowtime and Nine Worlds Ensemble, which he composes for and directs.

Thor received his MFA in Game Music and Audio from University of Chichester, and a BA in Music from UW-Milwaukee, with a focus on percussion performance. In addition to his active performance schedule Thor is also an active composer and sound designer, working for Outlier Studios and Serial Labs, and has released six albums of original music. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Oak Park.

Steve Edwards Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher

Steve Edwards began playing piano at the age of five and began studying guitar at age 11 after hearing a classical guitar recital at his church on Easter Sunday. Since then, Edwards has concertized throughout the United States and Europe as a recitalist, chamber musician and soloist, and as half of the renowned Edwards-Simmons Guitar Duo. After receiving his bachelor's degree on a scholarship to DePaul University, where he studied with legendary guitarist Leon Borkowski, he pursued his Master's degree at DePaul under the instruction of Mark Maxwell. Steve has studied and worked with such world-famous guitarists as Pepé Romero, Christopher Parkening, Denis Azabagic, Douglas Niedt and Robert Guthrie. An exceptionally talented classical guitarist, Steve Edwards received the distinguished honor of runner-up in the Society of American Musicians Guitar Competition. A versatile chamber musician, Mr. Edwards's preeminent performance career has included collaborations with many notable artists, including flamenco guitarist Carlos Montoya, legendary jazz pianist George Shearing and violin virtuoso Gidon Kremer. Recordings of Mr. Edwards have been featured on national broadcasts by Chicago's fine arts radio station, 98.7WFMT, as well as on Radio France. Having played in bands since the age of 11, Mr. Edwards formed the Steve Edwards Orchestra in 1994. He has devoted a lifetime of experience to performing and has appeared in concert with Dave Mason, Buddy Guy and George Shearing. Mr. Edwards is a prolific composer and arranger for film and live theatre. His compositions on Guitarra Azul's debut CD "Mariposa" have received great acclaim as well as enthusiastic reception from audiences nationwide.

Reid Libby Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Raised on the theatrical virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix, Weird Al Yankovic, The Beatles and the Marx Brothers, Reid has been juxtaposing guitar and performance since seventh grade. In 2013, as he was majoring in Theatre Performance and Literary Studies at Beloit College, Reid began writing and recording music that integrated the braininess of literature and theatricality of drama. Reid's music was compelling and successful, culminating in Reid performing a song written for his theatre professor at his own commencement. After graduation, Reid expanded into a genre he calls "theatre pop" with the first of four feature-length concept albums. Sharing a name with its protagonist, "Birdbrain" explores art's delicate balance between music and words in a 76-minute whirlwind of sketches, songs, dialogue, sound experiments and poetry.

Jack Mahon Studio Coordinator

Jack Mahon is a vocalist, guitarist and all-out music nerd born and raised in Chicago, IL. A School of Rock devotee since 2007, his love for all things School of Rock is well-known and matched by few. After graduating out of School of Rock, he earned a B.A. in Music from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, where he performed and toured nationally with their elite choral ensemble, The Macalester College Concert Choir. He studied jazz and contemporary voice with Sean Turner and Rachel Holder, composed and premiered new classical works under the instruction of Randall Bauer, and led Off-Kilter, an all-gender vocal jazz a cappella group. A musician of diverse interests, he is currently pursuing an M.M. in Musicology at Northwestern University. He’s an obsessive music listener and student with wide-ranging tastes and interests, from black metal to Beethoven, from techno to Thin Lizzy. He is our Studio Coordinator at School of Rock Oak Park.

Annette Fritts Guitar Teacher

Annette grew up in a music loving family and has no earlier childhood memories than of The Beatles, "A Hard Days Night" and Sundays spent cruising the streets of Logan Square with three teenage uncles to the sounds of the British invasion, Motown, Jim, Jimi and Janis. It was to no one's surprise that most of her boyfriends had a guitar strapped to them, and, eventually weary of watching, she picked up an instrument and began playing herself. She has an extensive background in theatre, both performing and producing. Together with her director husband, they founded, built and operated one of the first commercial venues in the Bucktown area- a 100-seat performance space and art gallery. Annette organized and directed a fundraiser concert for her daughter's second grade class performing hits of the 60s, including a medley from "Hair" and was immediately offered a position teaching guitar. Over the past seven years, she has developed her own technique to get even the youngest guitar enthusiasts playing. She's taught hundreds of kids through Park District programs she initiated in Oak Park, River Forest and Elmwood Park as well as privately in her home studio. Annette is the creator of Guitar Cat and has been seen over the years performing with her band of students, The Cat Pack. She couldn't be happier to join School of Rock Oak Park.

Joe Thomas Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

"Smoking" Joe Thomas has been a mainstay on the Chicago blues scene. He has played with local, national and international legends such as Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Koko Taylor, Lurrie Bell, Carrie Bell, Otis Clay, Mojo Buford and Elvin Bishop. For 22 years he served as the music director for The Underground Wonder Bar. Joe, as bassist, has toured with the Mandingo Griot Society in the countries of Germany, France, Greece, Finland, Amsterdam and the entire continent of Europe. He has toured, as bassist, with the Kinzey Report throughout the state of California during the period of 1995-2005. Joe also played and toured worldwide with the world renowned Buddy Miles (drummer for Jimi Hendrix).

Jim Lunsford Piano Teacher, Vocal Instructor

A chance encounter with a ukulele at the tender age of nine launched Jim Lunsford on a life-long rock and roll adventure. Teenage garage bands in the Arizona desert led to years of touring and recording in musical styles that ranged from rock, blues and R&B to cumbia, salsa and musical theater. Along the way, he has been privileged to work with a number of great artists, including Bonnie Raitt, John Mayall, Bo Diddley, The Four Tops, Bobby 'Blue' Bland, Delbert McClinton, Dallas Taylor, 'Gatemouth' Brown and Luther Allison. During his musical travels, Jim took de-tours to study classical piano, music theory and earn a Masters in Choral Conducting at Arizona State University. Having invested all that time and money in higher education, he switched tracks to a career as a high school and college instructor (though he continued to gig in every city between Tucson and Seattle, as well as in Chicagoland, Europe, Australia and New Zealand). After toiling valiantly for 25 years in classrooms from Berwyn to the border of Mexico, Jim retired from the Latin School of Chicago, and he is thrilled to be returning to his rock roots as a member of the amazing staff at School of Rock Oak Park. In addition to teaching here, he records and performs with his roots-rock band The Hurtin' Kind. His favorite bands are The Beatles and Los Lobos. He loves teaching music to young people.

Michelle Cohen Rookies Instructor, Little Wing Instructor

Michelle Cohen has loved music all her life. After taking a break from teaching preschool and being in a band to focus on raising her kids, and driving them to music lessons, she’s happy to be back working with music. Drumming and singing in a couple of local bands feeds her soul, while teaching the youngest students at School of Rock Oak Park gives her joy and fills her heart.

Jaci Jepson Vocal Instructor

Jaci Jepson, also known by her stage name J Leigh, is a Columbia College Chicago alumni with a BA in Vocal Performance. Her calling for music and performance started at just five years old as she put on shows for her family and friends whenever she had the chance. With natural stage presence, extensive knowledge in vocal technique/stylization, songwriting, studio experience and her new single “Paragon” on the horizon, J Leigh has refined her craft over the years. She is not only a vocalist, but a storyteller who shares and lives out her journey with emotional grace. She has had the pleasure of performing at many venues/events in the Chicago area, such as The House of Blues and the Chicago Blues Festival. J Leigh is actively building upon her portfolio, artistry, and musicianship by taking/seeking out every musical opportunity that comes her way. She is thrilled to be working at School of Rock Oak Park, not just as a vocal instructor but as a mentor who helps her students unleash their musical passion and potential as her mentors/idols have done for her.

Tracy Shepherd Drum Teacher

Tracy Shepherd is a professional drummer and instructor based in Chicago. He has over 20 years of stage and studio experience covering all styles and eras, from swing to rock, blues to Latin, and country to dance/pop/R&B. A Chicago native, Tracy was raised in a musical family. With a father and older brother who were both drummers, his passion for drums and music has been literally life-long. Tracy majored in Music in college and, starting at age nine, has studied under several great teachers, including renowned NBC staff drummer Max Mariash, the late, great Chicago drummer, teacher and band leader Tony Caselli, and classical percussion studies with Mike McLead. Additional private lessons followed with masters such as Rusty Jones and Johnny Rabb.

Tracy’s earliest professional experience started at 13, playing for local Chicago area church and school musical productions. Since then his music career has taken him to venues large and small, from the east coast to Las Vegas and throughout the Midwest, including the Surf Ballroom, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, Metro, Vic Theater, Arcada Theater, Shuba's, House of Blues and many others. Tracy’s playing/recording credits include work with many great Chicago bands and artists. He has also shared the stage with such notables as The Samples, The Radiators, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Edwin McCain, The Grassroots, Jazz is Dead, Buddy Holly’s Crickets, Edan Don Everly, Remembering Ricky Nelson featuring Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, Johnny Rivers and others. In addition to a busy live performance schedule, Tracy is very active in drum education and studies piano and voice in his spare time. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Oak Park.

Max Carrillo Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

As a Columbia College Graduate, Max Carrillo has gone on to become a fill-in touring guitarist for rock group Remada. Along with being a singer-songwriter, he is also the front man and manager for Chicago's hard rock quartet UnderFire. He has played various venues such as House of Blues, Metro, Bottom Lounge, Toads Place and Webster Theatre. Max has also shared the stage with notable acts such as Saving Abel, Cavo, Lights Alive and Three Years Hollow.

Max is currently working on session work and is the guitarist for the Detroit rock band A War Within. A War Within has toured with bands such as Bless The Fall, The Word Alive, Ded, The Plot In You and many others. Max looks forward to inspiring students, along with sharing his love and knowledge of music with them. He is a guitar teacher and bass guitar teacher at School of Rock Oak Park.

Taylor Mallory Vocal Instructor, Piano Teacher

Taylor Mallory is a professional singer, songwriter, actor and Level Next Music recording artist. As a music artist, he’s been featured in "The Wall Street Journal," "JET" and "Windy City Live!" and has been nominated for Best Male Vocalist at the Chicago Music Awards. His acting highlights include national print, radio and commercial ads from Corona, Newport, McDonald's, Xfinity and many more. Recently, he made his film debut on NBC’s "Chicago P.D." as Darius Brown. Above all, Mallory uses his artistry as an entertainer to uplift and encourage those who have experienced childhood trauma. He is a member of the F.A.M.E. foundation, SAG-AFTRA, and his Level Next Music team actively mentors and motivates youth in inner cities. He is a vocal instructor and piano teacher at School of Rock Oak Park.

Katelyn DuBose Little Wing Teacher

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Katelyn DuBose has been in the School of Rock Oak Park program since she was just 14 years old. After being a student for years with School of Rock's very own Annette Fritts, she found her love for guitar at age 12. She was then introduced to School of Rock and participated in several Performance Program shows at venues like Reggie’s Rock Club and The Wire. Once she graduated from School of Rock, she eventually moved out of state for college at Butler University. After a year and a half, she returned to Chicago, where she is currently studying English at DePaul. After hearing about the new Performance Program being developed at School of Rock, she decided to participate as a vocalist and guitarist in the Young Adult Program for the past year and a half. She is our Little Wing teacher.

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Reviews

A great experience for my two boys!

One of my sons is a complete introvert who has never stuck out in other extracurricular activities, but he plays drums and plays in the shows. It's kind of a miracle! I also love how excited the staff gets the kids about music.

School of Rock is amazing.

My kids have learned what it is like to be a musician, an artist and a music collaborator. Because of the wide variety of musicians teaching, they can try out different approaches to playing, performing and creating music.

The Adult Band is wonderful!

The Adult Band teachers are so incredibly knowledgeable, inspiring and friendly. They're able to communicate technically and informally, and their song selections bring back memories and turn me on to new music.

School of Rock engages kids.

My daughter is in Rock 101 and takes keyboard lessons. I love that your programs keep kids engaged and have an awesome community atmosphere. Rock 101 is great for team/band building.

My daughter has thrived at School of Rock.

The confidence and creativity she acquired on the School of Rock stage is now apparent in all aspects of her life—personally, academically and socially. She looks forward to her lesson as much as her weekly band practice. We can’t say enough good things about this program.