San Jose
School of Rock

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Our Experienced Music Instructors

School of Rock has experienced music instructors

Our Experienced Music Instructors

School of Rock San Jose’s music teachers are experienced musicians devoted to helping students attain musical proficiency. From singing to drums to guitar, our San Jose music instructors inspire and teach students to perform live.

Amanda Smith Piano Teacher, Vocal Instructor

Amanda Smith is a New York transplant and new to California. She recently joined the School of Rock family as a vocal and performance coach.

Amanda lived and worked in New York City for over 10 years, studying and performing musical theater, individual voice and audition technique. She toured the east coast and the Midwest in a children’s theater adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast," and also voiced the character of Nell the shooting star in the best-selling children’s book "Fireflies and Shooting Stars: the Tale of Enzo."

She has spent the last year and a half sailing around the world, working for Carnival Cruise Line as a lead singer for their house rock band, and is excited to step foot back on land to perform locally and to teach others how to use and enhance their musical gifts. Amanda is excited to work with such talented musicians here at School of Rock.

Alonso Hernandez Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Alonso Hernandez is a seasoned musician from the Bay Area music scene. He has been a bass and guitar teacher at School of Rock since 2015. Affectionately referred to as the Bass God, Alonso has toured the world performing with multiple groups that cover a wide diversity of styles. He has performed on the Warped Tour with his pop punk group Pounders, has had multiple tours of Japan with legendary nu metal group Insolence and has played throughout the US with jazz/hip-hop group SoleJive. Having studied jazz for nearly 15 years, Alonso is able to teach all musical styles. Along with teaching bass and guitar, he shares his experiences of live performance, touring, songwriting, the music business, showmanship and rock history with each of his students.

Alex Nguyen Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Drums Teacher

Alex is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and performer from San Jose,CA. He was introduced to music at an early age and has thus found his passion in life. In high school, Alex was part of the symphonic, concert, marching and steel drum ensembles, where he learned the importance of being a well-rounded musician as well as playing with others. With these programs, he had the opportunity to play in various venues such as Disneyland and all the way across the world at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. He attended the University of Oregon, where he studied Music, as well as branched off and played original music in bands. In the Bay Area, Alex plays in Love District, Socorra and other projects.

He does his best to share his passion and enthusiasm for music with all of his students. Since joining School of Rock, he finds joy in inspiring his students to play and helping them to find their own voice in music. You will never find him happier than when he is playing or teaching.

Alex Pipkins Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Vocal Instructor

Alex Pipkins is a teacher and singer/songwriter from Austin, Texas. He's benefited from almost two decades of musical training, including studying Music Education at the University of Texas at Arlington. Alex is a multi-instrumentalist who's performed in several punk rock and ska bands, as well as jazz ensembles and orchestras. He has taught guitar, keyboard, bass and vocal lessons to a wide range of ages. Alex finds nothing in life more fun than playing and talking about music, and is beyond excited to be teaching at School of Rock.

Carl Valdez Drums Teacher

Carl Valdez brings along 40+ years of musical experience to School of Rock. He was the founding member of legendary hardcore punk band Ill Repute, featured in their own documentary and book ("Clean Cut American Kids - the Story of Ill Repute”). Through the years, he has worked alongside famed pop/punk record producer Jerry Finn (Green Day, Blink 182, Rancid). They have been inducted into the Ventura County Music Awards Hall of Fame. Ill Repute also has a song on the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things."

Carl's drum experience also expands to other genres, including orchestral, community concert bands and Dixieland swing. He is also a Scottish bagpipe side drummer. He is currently a member of the Silicon Valley Pipe Band, an award-winning competitive Scottish bagpipe and drum group based out of Saratoga, CA. Carl also has years of experience performing on other instruments including the clarinet, saxophone, mandolin and guitar.

Brian Hart Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher

Brian currently serves as a guitar and bass instructor at School of Rock San Jose, where you can trust his commitment to providing students with lessons learned from his vast experience.

Chris Surma Guitar Teacher

Chris Surma from San Jose has been playing guitar for over 28 years. He has self-released three albums and has innovated and crafted several two-handed tapping techniques into his playing over the years. A few of his main influences are Joe Satriani, Michael Hedges, and Metallica. Chris won the Livermore Acoustic Guitar Competition (GuitarFestLive) back in September of 2012 and was featured in the 2012 December issue of "Guitar Player Magazine." He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock San Jose.

Jonathan Shaheen Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Vocal Instructor

Jonathan Shaheen is a musician/vocalist/singer-songwriter based in the Bay Area since 2016 and has been teaching at School of Rock since 2016 as well. Jonathan is currently the Music Director at our school and teaches keys, vocals, guitar and bass, and is also the group show director.

Jonathan has worked, performed and studied music in many areas, from writing and music directing for large churches to playing in pop-punk screamo bands, studying music composition and recording in Australia, and of course playing in a few coffee shops along the way. Jonathan is currently involved in a few different projects. He has a solo project of his own called CNVS (Canvas), he plays keys for Socorra and is the front man for an alternative/pop-punk band called Second Wind.

Jonathan brings a variety of genres, skills and instruments to the table when teaching students, but what he is most passionate about is instilling a passion for music in each and every student that walks through the doors of our school. No matter the student, no matter the lesson, Jonathan is passionate about seeing each and every person leave feeling more passionate about music and equipped to play it than they did when they walked in.

Robbie Fureby Drums Teacher

Influenced early on by family members to play music, Robbie Fureby’s interest in drums has flourished into a limitless passion. During the 13 years he’s been playing, Robbie earned an Associate of Arts in Music Performance in drums from Musicians Institute in Hollywood where he studied with many talented drummers, including Rob Carson and Fred Dinkins. Robbie is currently the drummer for an alternative rock band, Soy Sauce Control, who have released two professionally recorded EPs. Through teaching, Robbie is able to share his passion for drums, as well as the positivity music brings into his life. He is a drums teacher at School of Rock San Jose.

Socorra Camposanto Guitar Teacher, Vocal Instructor, Drums Teacher

Socorra Camposanto is a singer/songwriter from San Jose and has been teaching at School of Rock San Jose since 2014. She is a drummer-turned-guitar player and released her debut EP, "Break," in January 2017.

In April 2017 she was one of the featured musicians in "Content Magazine" and later that summer had the opportunity to open up for Blues Traveler at Music in the Park. Socorra is also heavily active in the local San Jose music scene and has worked with many local businesses and organizations to bring more live music to San Jose. At School of Rock, she has worked many positions, but these days she teaches Rock 101, Performance Group and our House Band.

Steely Nash Vocal Instructor

Steely Nash is an actress, vocalist and songwriter from Austin, Texas living in the Bay Area. She has studied voice with Kelley Cooksey of the Houston Grand Opera and Musical Theatre at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performance Arts: The Theatre Conservatory.

Since age 11, Steely has performed in over 100 musicals including "RENT" (Maureen) and "The Sound of Music" (Maria). After becoming a top 40 finalist of "American Idol" season 10, she signed with legendary pop manager Johnny Wright (Justin Timberlake, Ciara, Jonas Brothers) and has recorded at the famous Jim Hensen Studios in LA, where she received pop performance and vocal coaching from Doc Holiday (En Vogue, Toni Braxton, Britney Spears).

You can now see her playing shows with her girl group Steely Nash and The Cuts all over the Bay Area. Steely specializes in audition prep, songwriting and various vocal stylings such as pop, rock, opera, musical theatre and soul. She loves to teach and help students strengthen their voice through proper placement and inspired delivery.

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