School of Rock Rockwall’s music teachers are experienced musicians devoted to helping students attain musical proficiency. From singing to drums to guitar, our Rockwall music instructors inspire and teach students to perform live.
John Paul Thomas Drum Teacher
John Paul Thomas became enamored with the live music scene when he was 10 years old. Being in the quaint area of deep east Texas, the only opportunities to see live music were at Rodeo's, where he befriended an artist by the name of Neal McCoy. After a year of friendship Neal showed up to John Paul's 11th birthday party and gifted him his first guitar. Grateful and eager, John Paul threw himself into classical guitar lessons for three years. At 14 years old, his parents relocated the family to Rockwall, Texas. John Paul put down the guitar for a year to readjust and adapt to his new surroundings. During that time he discovered the music scene in Deep Ellum and would go to shows every single weekend. On drives, while listening to his favorite records, he would catch himself drumming on whatever he could. The floor was the kick, the side panel of the car was the hi-hat/snare and the dashboard served as his two toms. His parents noticed his passion and natural rhythm and made a deal with him. If he kept his grades up, they would look into getting him his first kit. He obliged and did everything he could to expedite that process. Too young to have a job, he would constantly find things to do around the house or at neighbors’ homes to earn extra money for his first set. On Christmas Eve in 2005 he opened a box that had two pairs of drum sticks inside of it. His heart nearly burst out of his chest, because he knew that he finally would be able to play on an actual set. After some time practicing he began sending videos to local bands much older than him that were touring. He also started multiple bands of his own throughout high school. He lived for the weekend to either go to a show or play a show. In 2010, right after high school, he found the band that he knew was the one for him. They began touring relentlessly. The first was a Texas run, the next was the West Coast, after that the East Coast and then the Midwest. His band, Dead Words, would leave for three weeks, be home for one and then head right back out on tour. In 2012 the band embarked on their longest journey yet- a full U.S. and Canada tour. There was little pay and hard times, but nevertheless he was the happiest he'd ever been. He was living the dream he'd been obsessing over since he was 10 years old. He continues to tour today, and loves coming home and sharing his passion for drums with the students of School of Rock.
Mason Steeger Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
Mason began his musical journey with rock music by picking up his dad’s old guitar in middle school and teaching himself how to play different riffs and chords. Once in high school, Mason began playing percussion in the concert band program and fell in love with the drums. This led him to apply for SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts in order to pursue a degree in Music Education. While at college he met up with Sterling Gavinski, a singer/songwriter who played in the band The Happy Alright. Sterling asked Mason to join his band as a bassist and the rest is history. With several tours and studio experience behind him, Mason continues to play, write and tour with The Happy Alright while teaching at School of Rock in hopes that he can inspire kids and teens to start a band and make music of their own.
Eddie Betancourt Music Director
Eddie Betancourt is a piano/keyboard instructor originally from Los Angeles, California. Formerly a professional boxer and boxing coach, Eddie has always incorporated music in all his trainings. He started with a small keyboard at the age of eight and later became obsessed with the piano and movie music. At age 12 he joined his middle school orchestra, playing the violin. Learning to be part of an orchestra helped him with his beginnings in his pursuit of film scoring. Later he graduated from UCLA with a Film Scoring Degree. Recently a School of Rock instructor, Eddie has found a new love in teaching music. Eddie continues to pursue his film scoring career while experiencing the Texas culture.
Michael Engdahl Guitar Teacher
Hailing from Wichita, Kansas, Michael Engdahl brings more than a decades' worth of teaching experience to the School of Rock faculty. Michael received both his Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Music Performance from Wichita State University. During his time at WSU, Michael had the opportunity to perform with the Jazz Arts I Big Band, multiple jazz combos, the guitar ensemble and the Wichita State Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his move to Texas he held adjunct teaching positions at Hutchinson Community College, Bethel College and Emporia State University.
As a performer, Michael has shared the stage with bands such as Robert Randolph and the Family Band, The Rebirth Brass Band and Footprints, both as a band leader and sideman. Michael released his first studio album as a band leader last year entitled "Odisea." In his spare time, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife and son, binge watching every superhero series on Netflix, reading and consuming an unhealthy amount of coffee. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Rockwall.