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 Gross'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 opportunity to perform in chamber orchestra, jazz orchestra and theatre orchestra on multiple instruments, including the upright and electric bass. He also 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 Syosset/Oyster Bay.
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 and Syosset/Oyster Bay. 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."
TOM DIOGNARDI Assistant Music Director
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. He is our Assistant Music Director at School of Rock Syosset/Oyster Bay.
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.
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.
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 and Syosset/Oyster Bay.
Kevin Quinn Guitar Teacher
Kevin Quinn is a New York based guitarist, composer, and sound engineer. Born and raised in New York, Kevin began his musical studies on guitar when he was 18 years old. While attending the State University of New York at New Paltz, Kevin began to take an interest in music. Kevin pursued a Bachelor’s of Science in Jazz Studies, studying with guitarist Mark Dziuba. After graduating, he started his career as a sound engineer at the ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY, where he studied with bass guitarist Matthew Garrison. Continuing his journey, Kevin has played at ShapeShifter Lab, Bowery Electric, Shrine, Highline Ballroom, Muchmore's, Silvana, Wiliamsburg Music Center, The Falcon, Tomi Jazz, Pianos, Mohegun Sun, Garment District Art Festival and many of New York’s venue. Today Kevin enjoys playing all types of music whether it's jazz, rock or country.
Chris Bedward Guitar and 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.
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.”
Nick Politis Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher Nick Politis
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.