Cindy Goldberg Studio Coordinator, Little Wing and Rookies Instructor
Cindy is not only our Studio Coordinator, she is our Little Wings and Rookies music instructor.
Cindy is a long-time musician; her first instruments were the piano, followed by the clarinet and saxophone. She has played with several jazz bands and concert bands, including Swing Shift, The Byward Winds and the Halifax Concert band.
Several years ago, Cindy fell in love with drumming. She studied with many local and renowned drummers, including Roy Nichol (April Wine), Mike "Machine" Mallais, and Jason Gianni. Last year, she ventured to New York City for several weeks to study at the Drummer's Collective; that was a dream come true! In 2019, Cindy was also busy producing and directing a feature documentary about female drummers called "Beat Keepers: Women with Rhythm."
Cindy is also a singer/songwriter and her previous band, Restless Soul, produced and performed several original songs. More recently, Cindy co-founded a new band "Retroz" - hopefully we'll hear more from them in the near future!
On an even brighter note, Cindy recently married American drummer and percussionist Rafael de los Reyes.
Jason Watts Drum Teacher, Vocal Instructor
From Ottawa, Jason Watts is a talented musician with an incredible sense of rhythm. With more than 20 years of experience, he is an accomplished drummer, singer, producer and musician. He actually started as a DJ as a teenager and shortly after that turned his attention to drums and percussion. From rock to pop, blues to metal, he has played it all. As a member of various bands throughout the years, in support of multiple full-length albums, Jay has toured around the world from as far away as Australia, to Orlando, Iqaluit and Victoria, British Columbia. With over 1300 shows under his belt, from tiny dive bars to huge festival stages, he has played every kind of show you can imagine. Jay has had the pleasure of working with some really cool people over the years, like producers Jordan Zadorozny (Sam Roberts, Blinker the Star, Hole, Melissa Auf Der Maur) and Terry Brown (Rush). He has shared the stage with great musical acts like Blue Rodeo, Mother-Mother, 3 Days Grace, Alan Frew (Glass Tiger), Thornely, Default, Matt Mays and El Torpedo, Ill Scarlet and Amanda Rheaume, just to name a few. Currently, Jay plays in an internationally renowned band called Twin Flames, an indigenous indie rock husband and wife duo from Ottawa. Jay is also the drummer and back-up vocalist for Ottawa’s hottest high energy cover band, Bytown Lights. He is also a member of Ottawa’s now dormant Hearts and Mines. He gets his inspiration from such legendary drummers as Buddy Rich, Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, Carter Beauford and Travis Barker. Jay's showmanship, energy and rock solid inner metronome make him a fantastic drummer. His love of people, passion for music and life make him a great musician and a wonderful teacher. He is a drum teacher, vocal instructor and show director at School of Rock Orleans.
Troy Huizinga Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Singing Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher
Troy Huizinga is an accomplished multi-instrumental performer, recording artist, and songwriter who has been captivating audiences since an early age. His excellence on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals has been featured in numerous recording and touring acts throughout Canada, the USA, and Australia.
Some career highlights include founding Autumns Cannon with fellow School of Rock instructor Shaun Francisco in 2009, and indie rock group High Waters in 2011. Troy’s compositional talents led to significant radio airplay nationwide. He has performed on stage with Susan Aglukark, the NAC Orchestra, Tom Wilson, Royal Wood, and Peter Katz. He has opened for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Ashley MacIsaac, and more.
Troy is currently touring and recording with award-winning, indigenous folk-rock group Twin Flames. In addition he is recording new material for his solo project HENK, writing music with Hearts&Mines, and occasionally performing with local groups Bytown Lights and Satellite Birdhouse.
Called to positively influence and inspire the community, Troy is proud to offer his wealth of experience and passion for music to his students through the School of Rock.
Chris Buttera Drum Teacher
Chris Buttera has been playing drums since 10 years old. He started playing in bands and recording when he was a teenager. Bands like Boston, Rush, Thin Lizzy and Metallica influenced him at a young age and he began learning a large catalogue of classic rock and metal tunes.
He is mostly self-taught but he has taken professional lessons from Ottawa's own Jeff Asselin. He learned about technique, sight reading and advanced rudiments. Chris has been a consistent player in Ottawa’s music scene for over 10 years. He has played live in, and recorded albums with, Descendant, Vyc Vypyr, Ginger Fox Band and King Swan. With King Swan, the singles "Generation Zero" (from the self-titled debut EP), "Kaleidoscopic Eyes" and "Wicked Witch" (from the "Rituals of Fire" EP) appeared on various "Don Cherry's Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Hockey" DVDs. Recently, Chris has been playing around Ontario with The Steph Larochelle band and Danny Sylvester.
Scott Norris Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Coming from a house filled with rock music from the day he was born, Scott was influenced to pick up the guitar at age 10 and instantly fell in love with every aspect of the instrument. Learning various techniques at this early age under his dad's direction, Scott began to understand his passion for guitar as well as music in general. Playing his first real gig at an open mic night at Barrymore's at the early age of 13, Scott instantly knew the stage was where he belonged. He then began taking lessons at various facilities in the Ottawa/Orleans area and studied under a handful of different instructors all the while taking in all of their various influences and developing those methods into a style that worked for him. Shortly after beginning lessons Scott's musical interests turned towards the heavier side of the genre when he heard Pantera. From there he began to fall in love with the heaviest music he could find. Scott then began to focus on teaching himself and started to look into creating music on top of just learning what his favourite bands were playing. Scott was in and out of various local metal Ottawa bands from ages 16-18 and began learning about the music industry as a whole as well as spending lots of time performing on various local stages. From there, Scott began focused all his time and energy into his new project: Of Reverie, a post-hardcore/metalcore outfit from Ottawa. The band has worked with producers such as Adam Newcomb (Newcomb Studios) and Doug Meadows (Allspark Studios), as well as toured with acts such as Sirens Sailors, Chasing Safety and Horizons. Scott's time with Of Reverie has taught him many things about his own playing and the music industry, and given him a brief glimpse into what life on the road is like. Of Reverie disbanded in 2016 after releasing two albums and reformed as local metalcore outfit: Horcrux. Scott has been the primary songwriter and a founding member of Horcrux from 2016-present. The band has been featured on many different online platforms including Rocksound and Alternative Press. Horcrux is also sponsored by Legator Guitars. Albums "The Dark Mark" and "Heretic" can be found on all major streaming platforms.
Shaun Francisco Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Singing Teacher
Shaun Francisco’s music journey began at the age of 14, a time where lunch hours were devoted to learning Nirvana riffs in the hallways of his high school. By the 10th grade, Shaun began to learn how to sing and play drums, choosing music in all of his electives including three different choirs and a music composition course. It was evident at a young age that music was a strong passion and would eventually lead to a career in writing, recording and performing.
Fast forward 20 years (and counting), Shaun’s resume includes a commercial release of the 2013 album “Open Letter” under the band name Autumns Cannon. The title track, produced and co-written by Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat/Mounties), charted #23 on the active rock chart, landing the group a six-date tour with ZZ Top, as well as a cross Canada tour with The Goo Goo Dolls. Three years after the release of “Open Letter,” Autumns Cannon hit a dead end with their record company, leading to a two and a half year wait before the band could put out their final independent release under the new name, Cannons. The album, “Written on the Wall,” gained enough attention to land them the opening slot for Bon Jovi in April of 2017 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
From teenage years to present, performing on stage, working with producers and the record industry has given Shaun a desire to be a part of shaping and equipping other aspiring musicians not only with music theory, but with characteristics such as leadership, team work, respect and commitment. Along with joining the School of Rock team, Shaun Francisco continues to be active writing, performing and working with producers under his solo project Francisco.
Ryan Whealey Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
As a kid Ryan always loved listening to music. He picked up his first guitar at the age of 12 and quickly developed a passion for it, deciding then that music would be his career. At the age of 14 he was asked to join his first band and soon after he was playing shows all around Ottawa. After high school Ryan took Algonquin College's Music Industry Arts program where he learn all about how to produce and record bands. This gave him the skills needed to record Ginger Fox Band's two latest releases. Ryan has been a music teacher for over four years, teaching kids and adults of all ages guitar, bass and drums. He also works as a live sound engineer all around Ottawa. He has played gigs across Ontario in multiple bands, including The Ginger Fox Band and M'alice and Monsters, a tribute to Alice Cooper.
Galen Cussion Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher
Originally hailing from Innisfil, Ontario, Galen began his music journey after discovering The Beatles in his youth. At 12 he was given his first bass guitar and took to it with great enthusiasm, forming a band with friends shortly after. Upon exposure to Queen a few years later, he taught himself the piano, alongside guitar and vocals. Eventually this led Galen to studying music at Carleton University, taking lessons from Steve Boudreau and graduating with a BMus, majoring in jazz piano. With a very eclectic range of influences, Galen is well-versed in classic rock, prog rock, alternative, jazz, classic metal, musical theatre and electronic music. His list of musical heroes includes The Beatles, Queen, Rush, The Killers, Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Kraftwerk, The Who, Muse, Franz Ferdinand, The Rolling Stones, The Sheepdogs, The Beach Boys and too many others to list here.
No stranger to the stage, he competed in several battle of the bands in high school, as well as in a tribute act at the Orillia Beatles Celebration four consecutive years. Since moving to Ottawa in 2013, Galen has been a regular in theatre pit bands, and has twice been musical director for productions of rock musicals "Heathers: the Musical" and "The Rocky Horror Show." He currently performs with both Blind Aura and The Tackies, the latter of which have toured across Eastern Canada, performed at 2017's edition of Ottawa Bluesfest, won the "Ottawa Life Magazine" Cover Me contest and worked with artists such as The Lazys, Modern Space, LIGHTS, Alvvays and Jim Bryson.
Stephanie Venneri Vocal Instructor, Piano Teacher
Raised in Timmins, Stephanie Venneri has been singing her heart out since she could talk. From auditioning for "Canadian Idol" in 2006 and "Canada's Got Talent" in 2012 to winning best French singer in Ontario in 2008, she always knew music was going to be a big part of her life. She graduated from the Performing Arts program at Sheridan College in 2010. Stephanie aspires to share her talent with the world as a performer and a teacher. She decided to make the big move to Ottawa in 2012, where she now is a vocal instructor, piano teacher, House Band leader and Performance music director at School of Rock Orleans. She performs with her cover band Bytown Lights, who met while at School of Rock.
Matt Spafford Guitar and Bass Guitar Teacher
After being told that taking guitar lessons meant starting acoustically, Matt began learning bass guitar at the ripe age of 7 years old. By the age of 11, he was participating in all manner of performance programs, private lessons and personal learning. Thus began Matt's passion of playing solo and blending genres in various bands. Upon starting high school, he began playing shows around the city in his pop-punk band Spirit of Commission. By the time he was 18, Matt had toured all across Ontario and Quebec, as well as over 15 American states with his band Castlefield. He has also worked as a touring bassist with a number of American bands. In addition to his experience as a musician, Matt has also worked as a concert promoter and booking agent, organizing concerts all over Canada and the United States.
Matt now spends his time playing with Ontario pop-rock group Certainty, as well as writing and recording music as a solo musician. He is also a full-time student at Carleton University, pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Media Studies.
Alex Pharoah Guitar Teacher
Born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, Alex began his musical career at the age of 12. He was gifted an electric guitar for his birthday and it was love at first sight. He got his start playing at church in the band on Sunday mornings which evolved to performing at various church events around the Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo area. Alex moved to Ottawa in 2014 to attend Algonquin College's "Music Industry Arts" program where he graduated in 2016. Quickly after moving Alex got involved as the lead guitarist for the band "Hearts In Stereo". Over the next year they played shows all over Ottawa and even as far as North Bay. A year later they unfortunately broke up as multiple members moved away. While in school, Alex met and became friends with Tori Dawson (who now goes by the stage name "Vi"). Alex has become her guitarist, performing live together and on her album "Blackwater". They eventually played at Ottawa's Bluesfest in 2019, opening for a band named "The Backstreet Boys". In 2015, Alex and a couple of his musician friends got hired to be the band in CBC Radio One's "Christmas Human Jukebox". They practiced for months beforehand learning every christmas song they could. Listeners would call in to the show with a special story and a song that reminded them of christmas. Then the band had to play whatever song they requested. Since January 2020, Alex has been a music director at a church here in Ottawa.