Monica Rubin Owner
The best way that I can introduce myself to you is to tell you my story. I cannot tell you that from a young age I knew that this was where I wanted to be, but in truth, my life has always lead me to this school. I grew up in a talented home, that is everyone had musical talent except me. My dad, a self taught musician, could play anything you put in front of him. I, on the other hand, was musically challenged. I would sing (and still do) at the top of my lungs not really caring that I was pitchy and off beat. My parents sent me for piano lessons even though I wanted to play the drums. After the second month, the instructor told me he would pay me to stop going if I promised not to tell anyone I had been his student. True story!
Our son Michael became interested in playing the guitar at a young age. My husband, Gene and I encouraged him to play but quickly realized that taking lessons just wasn't enough. Coming home and practicing on his own wasn't fun. Like most of you, I turned to my dear trusty friend Google to help us solve the problem. I asked Google what we could do to "help our child find other kids to play music with." Google replied "School of Rock." I was in disbelief. Google had made a mistake! We all know that School of Rock was a movie, how would that help my child? What I didn't know was that the movie resulted from an actual school. THE SCHOOL OF ROCK! We quickly scheduled an appointment thinking this was all just too good to be true. I had no idea that Google had not only changed my son's life, but the life of my entire family! Throughout Michael's years at School of Rock I turned my photography to the concert world. I was not only fortunate to have met some incredible artists, but I am lucky to now call them my friends. They introduced me to the music business teaching me about recording, managing, touring, the list goes on. It was around this time that Michael's band, The Inoculated Canaries started to develop into more than a garage band. It was at this time that Gene told me he knew what my calling was, he was right! We started our School of Rock knowing that it would change the lives of those who walked through our doors. Our school is a clubhouse for our students. They have a place to express themselves musically and are challenged by the incredible teachers that are here. Together, we are the School of Rock Rockville Centre, Huntington and Syosset/Oyster Bay family.
Dylan Gross Regional Manager, Music Director
Dylan's training is classical and jazz but his heart is all rock n' roll. Coming to School of Rock as a multi-instrumentalist, he took the school by storm and quickly became the Assistant General Manager. With a Music Education degree from Five Towns College and now a Master's Degree in Music Education from Hofstra University, Dylan has had the incredible opportuniy to perform in chamber orchestra, jazz orchestra and theatre orchestra on multiple instruments including the upright and electric bass. Of course when not a part of the orchestra he toured with local rock bands playing drums, keys and the bass! A lesson with Dylan means a lesson in theory, ear training, performance and exposure to multiple genres of music. He is our Regional Manager and Music Director at School of Rock Rockville Centre.
Sam Coughlin Assistant Music Director, Singing Teacher
Sam "Stellar" Coughlin is a NY music scene veteran and classically trained vocalist from Long Island, NY. With a hefty musical theater background, she made the transition to front woman for several prominent Long Island acts at the tender age of 14. As a child, her father, a self-taught guitarist, would play all kinds of rock songs for her until she eventually begged for lessons herself. She's been playing guitar for over 10 years and bass for around nine. Being rooted in traditional vocal and speech training, Sam has been able to span her songwriting over a vast collection of genres including pop, indie, punk and hip-hop. Along the way, she's toured the country fronting various musical acts with stops at festivals such as SXSW and Warped Tour. She is the Assistant Music Director at School of Rock Rockville Centre.
Chris Bedward Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Chris Bedward is a rock/fusion guitarist and composer based in New York. He is a regular at many major trade shows such as the NAMM show, NY Amp Show, The Stompbox Exhibit and more. He has worked as a product specialist with Electro-Harmonix, has been featured on the 96.7 The Buzz radio station and has played for hip-hop/reggae group RSNY, as well as toured with international reggae star Shaggy. In the summer of 2015, during a showcase with up-and-coming saxophonist David T.V. Barnes, Chris received industry-wide accolades from labels such as Def Jam Records, Atlantic Records and Universal Music Group. Having played venues like CBGBs, The Knitting Factory, Club Show, Sullivan Hall and Webster Hall, Chris is now seeking to expand his horizons, as well as teach those who struggle to grasp the guitar. Chris is also a private guitar instructor and session musician. He is a guitar teacher and bass guitar teacher at School of Rock Rockville Centre.
David Nieves Drum Teacher, Piano Teacher
David is a 20-year musician specializing in drums, percussion, woodwinds and piano. He got his start at the age of 10 when a chance meeting with a music teacher prompted him to start clarinet. He attended Laguardia High School of Music and Art and Mannes School of Music, performing with the Laguardia orchestra, the Mannes concert orchestra and the ISO orchestra. After graduating high school, David attended Queens College where he performed with the senior orchestra for three years. He's taken lessons with some of the most famous clarinetists in New York City including Bonnie Sholl, David Glazer, David Weber and Stanley Drucker. After years of clarinet lessons, David felt he needed a change. Percussion was always a love of his so after transferring to Lehman College in the Bronx, he decided to take drum lessons. After four years of percussion lessons with Howard Hirsch, he began performing in various marching band groups and symphonic bands around New York City, trading the woodwind section for the percussion section. Currently, David gives private music instruction in all of his instruments, performs with various rock bands and cover band groups around the city, and writes original compositions in his spare time.
John Tocabens Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher
John is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from Oceanside, NY. With a background deeply rooted in punk and progressive rock, his philosophy is focused on developing the musical acuity and passion of his students. A drum student since age six and a self-taught guitarist, John has spent his life studying both the method of music theory as well as the art of songwriting. He received his Bachelors degree in music from the City College of NY. By focusing on aural development and comprehension, his curriculum is designed to prepare students for the unique challenges that accompany group performance. John currently plays guitar in It Came From Space, a Long Island-based post/math rock band.
Tom Diognardi Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Singing Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher
Thomas Diognardi is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter from Bethpage, NY. He's spent the better part of his life performing with various bands, and graduated from the Music Conservatory at SUNY Purchase with his Bachelors Degree in Studio Production. Being both a self-taught musician and well-versed in music theory allows Thomas to approach lessons and teaching with a laid-back, yet critical and corrective mindset. He currently records/produces local bands out of his home studio while touring and pursuing a career with his band In Loving Memory.
James Terranova General Manager
James Terranova began playing music before he learned to speak. James is the General Manager at School of Rock Rockville Centre. James received his degree in Audio Engineering from I.A.R. James is now touring with his band, The Inoculated Canaries, as they prepare for the release of their newest EP, "Trying Times."
Danny Lamagna Drum Teacher, Piano Teacher
Years ago when Dan decided to start sharing his musical knowledge with children he quickly realized how rewarding it would be. Now, looking back, he sees the accomplished musicians he has helped develop. Dan studied music at Nassau Community College, Drummers Collective and continues his education with the well-known instructors Joe Morello, Jojo Mayer and Frank Bellucci. Dan has played with several national acts touring globally. Dan's focus is drumset, snare drum and mallets along with preparation of his students for NYSMMA.
Jimmy Gerovac Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher
Jimmy Gerovac is a singer/songwriter/guitarist out of Amityville, NY. Self-teaching himself guitar at age 15 and joining his first band a year later in Indiana started Jimmy on the path of music discovery. After five years of touring and recording as a guitarist he began to find his voice as a singer, moving to New York and fronting popular bands in both NYC and Long Island. He has studied under and received lessons from renowned vocal instructor Bret Manning who works with Hayley Williams of Paramore and Robert J. Lunte who has worked with Chris Cornell and Steven Tyler, just to name a few. Currently, Jimmy is the singer and guitarist for the rock band Craving Strange who have released two albums, toured the country, and licensed music to movies and television.
Noam Beili Guitar Teacher
Noam Beili is a classically trained guitarist and multi-instrumentalist from Jerusalem, Israel. A musician for over 10 years, Noam studied at The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and has been an avid educator of music ever since. He is passionate about teaching people of all ages and spends his free time composing. He believes that fostering an appreciation and love of music in students is a teacher's greatest goal. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Rockville Centre.
ANTHONY RIZZO Guitar and bass teacher
Anthony Rizzo is a New York based guitar player, TV, film and multimedia composer with over 35 years of playing, composing and recording experience combined. He composed all of the original music for the documentary "Dennis and Lois" (Casspix Productions). He is the former composer for the IFC show, "Maron", which he also composed the main titles for. His past contributions to TV and film include: "My Dead Boyfriend" (Cohen Media Group), Beware The Gonzo (Corner Store Entertainment), Side By Side (documentary - Produced by Keanu Reeves) and the acclaimed FX series Lights Out, where he is credited as co-writer of the main titles and composer of the "previously on." In addition, he composed and currently performs all of the music for the children's play, "Hatched" as well as "Olive and Pearl"(Treehouse Shakers). He has performed in many bands, including Garden Variety, Vic Thrill, Little Embers, The Nefarious Pow and Local Zeros. He teaches Guitar and Bass at School of Rock Rockville Centre.
BRANDEN ANDRADE guitar, bass, keyboard, singing teacher and Recruitment Director
Branden Andrade is a graduate of Five Towns College with a Masters in Music Composition and a BA in Music Performance. He was Director for Long Island's first Alzheimers and Dementia chorus group “The Sharpnotes”. In his free time, Branden enjoys watching all types of Superhero movies and singing (yelling) all the superhero theme songs. Branden’s favorite styles of music range from Folk Rock to Post Hardcore. He strives to make his students ROCK GODS. He teaches guitar, bass, keyboard and vocals at School of Rock Rockville Centre.
DORIANNA GROSS MARKETING DIRECTOR
Dorianna Gross has extensive experience working with children, including being an Assistant Director at a sleep-away camp for underprivileged children and adults with special needs. She has also worked at several local day camps, as well as after-school programs. She is excited to be a part of School of Rock as the Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Mount Saint Mary College and a Master's Degree in Social Work from Adelphi University.
Michael Rubin Guitar Teacher
Michael Rubin was born in Whitestone, New York. His parents introduced him to music while in utero, listening to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Zappa - the classics. It was his grandfather who handed him his first guitar, the one Christmas gift that forever changed his life. Guitar Hero was fun to play but when he actually held a guitar he knew the game wouldn’t be enough. From that moment on his passion for the instrument began his journey into songwriting.
By the age of 10 Michael was attending classes at School of Rock. “I felt at home there,” he recalls, “there were other kids just like me.” It was School of Rock that introduced Michael to performing. The school had such a profound impact on him that he is now one of the top instructors/directors at three (3) New York area School of Rocks in which he is the co-owner. He is presently using his teaching skills to create an instructional video series in partnership with ESP Guitars, one of his musical instrument endorsers.
At the age of 13, Michael formed his band, The Inoculated Canaries. He was in his Science class when the instructor mentioned inoculating canaries during the bird flu. The band’s first EP The Blue Laws was soon followed by their single “Don’t Be Late” and an acoustic version of the song “Jericho”. Their second EP, Trying Times was also followed by singles “Count Me Out”, “Who Are You?”, “The Lawyer’s Wife”, “Sneakers”, “Donna” and “Hypocrite”.
Michael describes the Canaries: “We want to take those raw human emotions that we all feel in the darkness of our minds and write songs about them. We’re not here to be rich or famous, we’re here to be great. To us, greatness means making music that is real, and the best, but always being original. Greatness is sometimes having to stick up your middle finger to authority, convention and even the person in the mirror…. Side effects may include crying, laughing, a sudden sense of existential dread and/or hearing loss.”
Michael formed a second band, King Falcon. They released their debut single “Shake!, Shake! Shake!” early 2020. “We thought if you took characters from one tv show and made a spin-off that is what King Falcon would be.” It’s a bit more commercial and modern.
Both bands are actively writing, recording and performing.
Today, Michael is endorsed by ESP Guitars. Matt Masciandaro, president & CEO comments: “ESP works with many of rock’s leading guitarists, and Michael’s amazing technique, stylistic range, tone, and phrasing make him a welcome addition to our team.” Tony Rauser, director of Artist Relations, adds: “We are happy to welcome Michael Rubin of King Falcon to the ESP artist family! Michael’s unique and melodic playing style is showcased perfectly in his first ESP video lesson series.”
Bradley Stewart Guitar Teacher
Bradley Stewart is a guitar teacher, multi-instrumentalist producer and working musician, who has earned their Bachelors Degree in Music from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. While their Undergraduate academic focuses were Tonal and Atonal theory, and Jazz guitar, their experience as a working guitarist and educator has built their theoretical and technical facility with music such as Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B, Neo-Soul, Gospel, Blues, Rock, Indie and Funk. Bradley has performed guitar and electric bass across the Finger Lakes region, Rochester and NYC; playing with different bands, vocalists, jazz combos and big bands. In 2018 they performed with a sextet at the Rochester Jazz Festival. When Bradley is not teaching or performing they record/produce for singers, rappers, and other musicians. They have studied with Greg Wachala, attended master classes led by Grammy nominated Mel Henderson, and Eastman School of Music professor Bob Sneider and is studying with Professor of Guitar Rodney Jones, faculty member of the Juilliard school and the Manhattan School of Music. Bradley approaches teaching centering the student’s interest, learning style and musical purpose; creating a relaxed, supportive and yet disciplined learning environment.
Nick Politis Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Nick Politis is a bass player who studied music at Hunter College and Queensborough Community College in New York City. Throughout his musical career, he has performed with a variety of jazz bands and rock bands. Nick's teaching career started at Queensborough Community College, and expanded to students of all ages. He is a bass, guitar and keyboard instructor at School of Rock.