Kent Newman Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Kent Newman has been a professional guitarist for over 30 years. He began playing at the age of 13 and at 15 was in the Texas dance hall circuit as lead guitarist and singer for the established band The Emotions. In 1989 he formed the band Rat Ranch. That band lasted 28 years and played thousands of shows for audiences from Florida to Alaska. He has also recorded countless projects, including original music for Rat Ranch as well as guitar and vocal arrangements for all levels of professional studio production. Over the years he and his bands have shared the stage with artists such as Kansas, Joe Walsh, 38 Special, America, Jefferson Starship, Peter Frampton, Dishwalla and many others. In addition to rock guitar styles, Kent has played just about every other type of popular music out there and he attempts to incorporate a broader understanding of music in general into his lessons. He also has decades of experience keeping a successful band together as a business pursuit. Kent currently plays in the country group Shotgun Road and the 70s classic rock group Diamond Jack. He is a guitar teacher and a bass guitar teacher at School of Rock Sugar Land.
Grace Valdes Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Drum Teacher, Vocal Instructor
Grace Valdes was a student at School of Rock Clear Lake for three years and worked her way up to become an instructor and show director. When she picked up a guitar at age 15, Grace knew it would be the right direction for her. As the only musician in her family, she has gained knowledge of five instruments, as well as basic theory and sight reading. Grace is passionate and determined, and she hopes to inspire the next generation of musicians. Her number one inspiration is the lead singer from Paramore, Hayley Williams. She is a guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher, piano teacher, drum teacher and vocal instructor at School of Rock Sugar Land.
Jeremy Horton Co-Owner, General Manager
Jeremy is the General Manager for the School of Rock Clear Lake and Owner/General Manager of the School of Rock Sugar Land and Champion Forest locations. He has been a professional musician for 30 years, is a current Berklee student, has played over 3,000 shows and concerts and is fluent on bass, guitar and drums. He is a freelance bassist, session musician and producer for many studios and artists, one of them being the eight-time "Billboard" charting R&B artist J Metro. In 2013 they toured Africa, headlining jazz festivals and teaching master classes at schools as part of an arts-envoy program for the United States Government. You can also find Jeremy on tour with soul country artist David Grace or his band Moses Guest that has been together for 24 years and recently completed their eighth album! Several songs from Moses Guest have also been featured on MTV's popular show "The Real World." They've opened for several great artists, such as The Steve Miller Band, Willie Nelson, Jewel, Tower of Power, Jerry Garcia Band and many more. Jeremy comes from a musical family. His mother is a pianist and vocalist, while his dad is a bassist, guitarist and vocalist. Jeremy’s ultimate goal is to pay it forward by giving young inspiring artists something that will be with them forever, and to bring them the same joy that has filled his life with great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.
Jordan Wright Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
Jordan Wright is a longtime student and lover of music. Starting off with piano and choir in elementary school, he moved on to the guitar and bass guitar before beginning to dabble with other instruments such as drums, mandolin and ukulele. He played as a sideman during this time, as well as in multiple original Houston bands including Condition Green, Wasi Townsend and Madlove, MacAdams, The Psychodillos, Moonshine Summit, The Hightailers, POTROAST, Don't Worry 'Bout It, and Michael Shanks and the Merry Shanksters. For 10 years he was also the resident audio engineer at Last Concert Cafe in downtown Houston, affording the opportunity to work with all kinds of bands of all sizes from all over the world. In another life, he was also a math tutor and teacher's aide for HISD. He has a love for working with youth and is excited to combine his two passions, music and teaching, at School of Rock Sugar Land. He is a guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher and drum teacher.
Krystal Salinas Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Vocal Instructor
Krystal Salinas was born in Houston, TX. She sang on her first recording at five years old. She was in choir and band throughout high school and college, playing alto saxophone. She played in several state competitions, but was always drawn to rock and metal. She started seriously getting into guitar and drums within the same week when she was 13 years old. When she was 17 her band started playing live and she got into radio broadcasting. She studied under the great Kathy Forsythe. She has been involved in the local radio scene for over two decades.
Eventually she started recording multiple records with her band and touring the country. She developed relationships with multiple sponsors, venues, booking agents, recording companies and other musicians throughout the world. She decided to pass on her gift of music by teaching at School of Rock. Krystal is the Assistant General Manager, and is also a drum teacher, guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher and vocal instructor at School of Rock Sugar Land.
Calvin Parker Drum Teacher
Calvin Parker's parents gave him his first drum set on his fifth birthday and he has had sticks in his hands ever since. He started playing in church as a young teen, eventually joining the snare line in high school. After receiving a degree in Audio Engineering from SCA in Raleigh, North Carolina, he made his way to Houston, Texas. At age 18 he joined his first working gig with the high-energy funk band Out of Control. Fast forward 11 years, thousands of shows and studio sessions played with multiple bands and artists, and he has progressed as a musician through the Houston music scene. These gigs ranged from small pubs to touring the whole southwest casino circuit with cover bands. He has also been a part of multiple original groups, playing drums and providing production. He's played with bands of all genres, from the hip-hop flavored Positive Disturbance, Marauderz and CB Kings, to pop-rock acts Who is BC and Michael Flores, to country artist David Grace and many more. He is a drum teacher and also teaches audio engineering at School of Rock Sugar Land.
Ximena Hernandez Keyboard and Singing Teacher
Ximena is a Houston native that began her involvement in the arts at a very young age, having been immersed in almost all performing arts disciplines such as ballet, theater, choir, concert band, marching band, etc. As her focus shifted to music she was classically trained in several different instruments, her primary being flute. She has had the opportunity to perform on platforms including super bowls, NFL games, music videos with international recording artists, among other notable performances.
Ximena has had a passion for teaching her entire life having worked for different organizations and charter schools with a strong focus on infants and elementary school levels. She is currently in her senior year of studies at Texas Southern University where she will be obtaining her Bachelor's in Music Education, studying under clarinetist virtuoso, Miss LeTriel White.
Willie Britton III Bass Guitar, Drum, Keyboard and Singing Teacher
Willie plays drums, bass guitar, piano and sings. Willie began playing drums at the age of 6 and played his first professional gig at the age of 13. Soon after, he played at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City. In his high school years, he won many jazz competitions with the band at Kashmere High School. Willie ended up getting a full scholarship to Texas Southern University for marching band. He played snare drum for the Ocean of Soul marching band for two years, and during that time, he fell in love with playing the bass guitar.
Two years into learning the bass, he played his first gig on bass at a little blues bar called Emitt's Place. He has been constantly learning, practicing and playing on the bass ever since. In 2018, he was blessed to be able to work at the School of Rock Sugar Land. He uses the knowledge he's gained to teach future musicians.
Matt Adame Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums, Keyboard and Singing Teacher
Matt has been playing music since he was about 9, and has been playing in bands locally and on small tours since he was 14.
He had played in numerous bands including, ¡BLUNT!, Molotov Compromise, Mind Kill, and Moral Distrust. He was trained in percussion in Middle and High School and had left college for pursuit of touring in bands on the constant road. He had been teaching privately for about 8 years now, and is lucky to be part of the great School of Rock team.
Sara Zare Singing Teacher
Sara Zare was born in a family with musical interests in Iran. Growing up, she would always listen to her father sing semi-professionally and she developed an interest in Persian classical music. In high school, she was encouraged and eventually participated in multiple performance ensembles and decided to take up voice lessons to better her singing ability. While participating in these classes, many opportunities became available to her and she was able to join more advanced and professional ensembles. As she became more involved in these performances, her instructors took a special interest in her and she was afforded more advanced roles in various ensembles.
With the encouragement from her instructors and a very clear visceral desire within, she decided to pursue singing more professionally and enter an academic voice program. Due to the ban on female singing in her country, she decided to apply to study abroad. She was admitted into the Vocal Performance program at Georgia state University and graduated in spring 2018. She had a great experience joining the GSU Opera Theatre along with many other valuable experiences she has gained throughout the four years. She also graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Master of Liberal Arts and has been with School of Rock since January 2020.
Chris Zamora Guitar Teacher
Chris Zamora has been playing guitar for 9 years. He's in 2 tribute bands and 1 original band, Out Of Exile - A Tribute to Audioslave and People Of The Sun - Houston Tribute to Rage Against The Machine, and Everlasting Disaster.
He's been teaching at School Of Rock Sugar Land for almost an entire year now. Seeing his students grow and their skills gradually increasing as they go during every lesson they have is the reason he became a music teacher.
Aaron Walker Guitar and Keyboard Teacher
Aaron has been playing music since he was introduced to the saxophone in middle school. After learning the bassoon at the age of 18, he began studying bassoon performance under Elise Wagner at the University of Houston. Over the course of the next four years his interests drifted from performance to music theory and he began to study composition, with the ambition of writing for video games and films. He now spends his time making music and sharing his knowledge at School of Rock Sugar Land.
Taylor Trevino Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Taylor Trevino is a Houston-native who has spent nearly half his life learning the craft of music and performing with countless groups and musicians throughout the state of Texas and its bordering states. Taylor has been performing regularly since 2009 at the age of 13 in bands ranging from Rock/Metal, Spanish, Jazz, Country, dance, gospel, etc. In addition to this experience, Taylor spent 2 years learning music theory and one year learning Jazz theory in his teens. As a well-rounded musician, Taylor can teach proper technique, theory, songwriting, performance strategies, and any genre of music. With plenty of experience in young education programs throughout high school and college, he is alsp well equipped to teach young students in an interesting and fun way!
Matt Yalcin Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Singing Teacher
Showing a love for music at an early age, Matt began taking piano lessons at the age of six. He received classical training including music theory, sight-reading, musical expression, music composition, and performance in classical, jazz, blues, and contemporary music. Matt increased his proficiency through middle school under the instruction of master teacher John Weems. He received the highest score three consecutive years at the Forum Auditions with the UH Moore’s School of Music.
In high school and college, Matt turned his focus to learning guitar, bass, singing, and songwriting, and began performing in bands/groups as well as solo.
While attending University of Houston, Matt found his true calling when he started teaching piano and guitar lessons at a music academy in Sugar Land. His student base quickly grew, and he received wonderful feedback from parents and administrators.
Since earning his Bachelor’s degree from UH in 2015, Matt continues to teach, write, and perform music around the greater Houston area. He has performed as a pianist, guitarist, bassist, and vocalist for everything from Gospel, Hymns, and Christian contemporary music, to Rock, Pop, Country, and Jazz, and has been teaching dozens of students weekly for over 6 years.
Blake Jackson Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Drum Teacher
Blake Jackson began playing guitar and singing at the age of 10. Growing up in church as part leader of the worship team, he led worship and arranged the music for over 300+ sermons and gained experience in other instruments such as the keyboard, bass and drums. While attending grade school Blake participated in music electives such as marching band and jazz band, where he picked up an extensive knowledge for reading music and playing saxophone. Before graduating high school, he tried to make a name for himself growing up in different bands in the DFW area and later moved to Houston to start the semi-successful band The Aftervibe, which Blake fronted as lead guitar and main vocalist. Gathering a good following around the Houston area, Blake has opened up for performers such as Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, DMX, Sir-Mix-A-Lot, O-Town, Juicy J and other upcoming acts out of Houston. He also headlined multiple venues such as The House of Blues, Warehouse Live, Jet Lounge and many other iconic venues locally and nationally. While playing on the weekends, Blake was a guitar soloist in the ACC jazz band and even earned an award for Most Outstanding Player for the 2014 year. After successfully releasing four albums on iTunes, Blake continues to write and produce his own music while using the knowledge and experience he has gained through many years of dedication and love for music.
James "Willie" Wilhite Guitar Teacher
James "Willie" Wilhite is a Guitarist & Singer playing in the Houston area. He grew up in Austin playing Blues at Antone's and Six Street bars with the bands Bluefish & Nacho Mama till 2000 when he moved to Houston. He is currently Guitarist for The Mark May Band. He has been a member of Pigs On The Wall, The Fab Five, Drywater, Yelba's Variety Band, The Annika Chambers Band, The Classix, POTROAST, The Easy Three, The Tommy Dardar Band, Groove City, The Goodtrain Sessions, The James/Reese Band, The Chariots, and The James Wilhite Band.
Mike McCulloch Piano Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Bass Teacher, Drum Teacher, Singing Teacher, Mandolin Teacher, Ukulele Teacher
At a year and a half old, Mike learned to play piano. His dad was a jazz player and always encouraged music. Mike's folks were also in barbershop choruses when he was growing up. He got an appreciation for vocal discipline and harmony. At 12 he picked up bass, being a huge Rush and jazz fan, and that led quickly to guitar- classical, acoustic and electric. In high school he was first chair French horn for three years. In college, Mike studied music theory and orchestral composition, with ambitions of being a film score artist. From there, he has been in over 20 bands in 30 years, each different from the last, from jazz to country to rock to metal. Mike has embraced every genre he's ever been a part of and now enjoys passing his experience on to the other generation at School of Rock Clear Lake.
Dennis Townsend Drum Teacher
Dennis is a Houston native that began playing drums at a young age influenced by the musicianship he inherited from his late grandfather. Not once has he ever missed an opportunity to drum, he was in band all throughout middle school and high school which is where he began learning music theory. Not to mention he has won numerous awards during his time in high school while being the drum line captain along with playing one of the top jazz bands ensemble. He had continued to pursue and master his rudimental drumming by touring with Drum Coups International and Winter Guard International. Dennis has played hundreds of shows from small local pubs to crowded stadiums! He has written and produced original music for multiple bands along with teaching at different high schools. With a multitude of knowledge in all genres, he is pumped to share his understand with his students and inspire them to forge their passions. He will focus on enhancing your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses. He is currently a preforming artist and instructor at the School of Rock Champion Forest and Sugar Land.
Justin Evan Thompson Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Justin Evan Thompson is a New Mexico-born songwriter and performer based in the Houston area. Thompson has an affinity for Americana music and the acoustic guitar. He performs both solo and with a backing band and has been associated with multiple acts including The Gabrielle Louise Show, The Palace Flophouse, and The DAMN Union. His 2015 debut record Hymns for a Manchild showcases a decade’s worth of songwriting and features well-covered songs like “Mighty Bourbon” and “The Fat Man.”
Thompson began his lifetime relationship with music as a saxophonist in the middle school band and jazz band. Before long, he traded his woodwind for a steel string acoustic guitar and immediately began writing songs. After his time in the military, Justin began performing in various cover bands before dedicating his attention to writing, recording, and performing original material. In 2014, he left New Mexico and began a five year tour of the United States and Europe, performing solo and with various bands.
In 2015 he began teaching the guitar, taking on a few students who were mainly close friends and family. He quickly developed a love for teaching and continued to take on new students as time permitted. In late 2019, he began teaching for School of Rock and currently teaches part time at various locations. His love of music coupled with the joy of teaching makes Justin a dedicated and enthusiastic instructor.
Dillion Matherne Drum Teacher
Dillion started playing the drums at the age of 7. He’s had a pair of sticks in his hands ever since. He took private lessons with a local drum instructor and also took lessons from the same school of rock program! He joined band in middle school and continued to play percussion all the way through high school. He played in the concert band as well as the drum line, playing marimba and snare. He’s been playing gigs since the age of 10 with local musicians. He is now pursuing original projects as well as gigging in cover bands. He is looking forward to learning as much as he can and giving back, just as his teachers gave to him.