Alec Simpson Owner, General Manager
Alec’s passion is music - playing, writing, recording and mixing. He is a multi-instrumentalist who primarily plays guitar but also has proficiency on drums, keys, bass, violin and mandolin. His passion for music started at age six, when he started guitar lessons. His talent eventually led him to the Frisco, Texas School of Rock, where he was part of the house band and performed all over the Dallas area. Alec accepted a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Engineering. After graduation he moved back to Dallas, working in the audio/visual industry before moving to St. Petersburg and becoming the owner/general manager of School of Rock St. Petersburg. Alec is thrilled to be contributing to the music industry by helping shape the next generation of musicians through School of Rock.
Mark Cunningham Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher
Mark began his career in music over 20 years ago as a bass player in a band he started with a few friends. Since then, Mark has performed in various live music scenarios that have included piano accompaniment in numerous theater productions and bands. Some of the notable events in Mark's career include performances in the Hulaween Music Festival (Live Oak, Florida), Gasparilla Music Festival (Tampa, Florida) and South By Southwest (Austin, Texas). Mark performed with a group that was nominated to compete in the International Blues Competition in Memphis, Tennessee. Currently, Mark can be seen in various music venues in central Florida, playing the upright bass with the St. Petersburg based band Someday Honey.
Sarah Huff Singing Teacher
Sarah Huff was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee by her two favorite singers, her parents. At an early age they introduced her to classic rock, Nashville country and church hymns. At the age of four she was already performing her first gig on the once famous stage of the Chattanooga Choo Choo, and by 15 she was writing original music for her band Immortal Soul while obtaining a musical education and performing as a first soprano in competition choirs throughout the state. In college she continued to study voice and guitar from soloist composer Garrett Tucker. Her performance experience and abilities include classical voice in English, Spanish, Latin and French, musical theater, jazz, choral ensemble, in studio and live back-up vocalization, and live stage lead performance. She is an accomplished vocalist with the ability to scale nearly any style and range for both male and female driven songs. Sarah performs, stage manages, directs and teaches music in the Tampa Bay area.
Vincent "Vince" Montemarano Drum Teacher
A consistently gigging and touring drummer for over 14 years, Vincent plans to use his additional experience in songwriting, guitar, bass, vocals and percussion to help strengthen students’ understanding and appreciation of music. He knew that being a musician was his calling when he started playing guitar at age 10, but it wasn’t until age 13 that he realized he felt most comfortable behind a drum kit. From that point, he began taking drum set lessons and also joined the Countryside High School drum line, where he would spend the next four years developing and honing his drumming skills.
Vincent continues to use his multi-instrumental experience in his two current bands, for which he writes and arranges music. With his comprehensive skill set, he hopes to create a unique lesson plan that caters to each student’s individual musical aspirations.
Melbourne "Mel" Walsh Guitar Teacher
Melbourne "Mel" Walsh picked up his first guitar at 15 years old. Inspired by his father's love of guitar, Mel's natural musical aptitude ensured local success in his hometown of Marathon, Florida. He started his formal musical education in Gainesville, Florida at Santa Fe Community College but was quickly lured away by the opportunity to study at The Players School of Music. There he took part in weekly jazz ensembles with the inimitable Jeff Berlin, studied theory, harmony, scales and chord tones, learned to read chord charts and sheet music, received one-on-one guitar lessons and ear training, and a multitude of other musical concepts. He has played a myriad of venues from Florida to North Carolina, including Hard Rock Cafe and Jannus Live. Mel's musical background includes rock, blues, jazz, fusion, progressive rock and funk.
Zach Short Guitar Teacher
Zach Short is a guitarist and vocalist of 13 years from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has written and recorded two albums with cog and lantern recordings, both of which have been released on iTunes and other music platforms. Zach has played multiple venues, ranging from small sizes such as restaurants, bars and weddings to larger venues that host national acts like Cains Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has toured the Midwest, playing in multiple bands either as a hired guitarist, session guitarist or permanent member of the band, and has performed at festivals such as SXSW in Austin, Texas playing showcases and opening up for artists including Leon Russel and The Nixons. Zach has eight years of experience teaching students of all ages, both in group settings and private lessons. He currently plays guitar for the Safety Harbor-based band Viewers Like You and is regularly gigging throughout the Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg areas.
Vinny Svoboda Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher
Vinny Svoboda picked up his first musical instrument, the violin, when he was 10 years old. Shortly after this musical introduction, he received his first bass guitar. In his early teens, after a few years of being a part of his school's orchestras and bands, Vinny became intrigued by the mechanics of percussion and overall rhythm. He immersed himself in learning how to play any percussion instrument he could get his hands on.
His education progressed when he was accepted into the Music Performance program at the University of South Florida. Studying under the principal bass player of the Florida Orchestra, Vinny received his Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance with an emphasis in Classical Upright Bass in 2013. Since graduation, Vinny has made great strides within his local community and abroad as a live and studio musician for many musical acts. He's also an active audio engineer who specializes in full-band tracking, mixing and mastering. He is a bass guitar teacher and piano teacher at School of Rock St. Petersburg.
Jae Hughes Studio Coordinator
Since the age of 10, Jae Hughes has had a passion for both teaching music and working with children. Her career began as a music tutor for percussion instruments at her high school in Rayland, Ohio. To further her career, she moved to St. Petersburg after graduation, and has spent her time since then teaching band instruments, percussion and piano, and working in the music industry. With experience in both sales and lesson coordinating, she enjoys working with people and spreading the joy of music to everyone she meets. She is the Studio Coordinator at School of Rock St. Petersburg.