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Our Experienced Music Instructors

School of Rock has experienced music instructors

Our Experienced Music Instructors

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

Ryan Schiff District Manager

Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Ryan began playing guitar at age 13 after seeing the movie "La Bamba" about rock legend Ritchie Valens. He studied with Grammy-nominated guitarist Steve Briody for several years before starting his own projects and soon became an instructor himself. While still in New York, his band Code Anchor independently released several EPs and one full-length album, "Rosada," while touring extensively nationwide from 2005-2009. A co-writer in the band, Ryan also played lead and rhythm guitar while singing lead and backup vocals. Memorable stages include the Vans Warped Tour at Nassau Coliseum and headlining bills at some of New York City's greatest venues like CBGBs and The Knitting Factory. It was during this time that Ryan began teaching at School of Rock in Melville, NY. Hungry to pursue new musical ventures, Ryan departed from Code Anchor and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. Since then, he's been busy writing, producing and performing with his newest project, Lou Pine. As a Sony/ATV artist, Lou Pine’s music has been featured on television shows like “Chicago Fire,” “Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word,” and “Food Paradise." Ryan enjoys playing every genre including jazz, funk, country and folk, but credits the blues and rock n' roll as his main influences.

Will McGrath Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Will moved to Los Angeles to further his love for music and passion for teaching. Nicknamed the Jack of All Trades, Will is a multi-instrumentalist, proficient with the guitar, bass guitar, drums and piano. In 2007 at the age of 19, Will founded the band Jackal as songwriter and guitarist. Jackal went on to release six successful albums and extensively toured. With his knowledge from working in the music industry as a touring and recording musician, Will has helped numerous students with their own musical ambitions and goals.

In 2008, Will graduated university with a diploma in Contemporary Music and was awarded Best Instrumentalist of the Year. He then went on to start his own private music tuition business in Auckland, establishing a large clientele and offering lessons in guitar, bass, drums, piano and ukulele. Through Will’s study and love of all genres, he structures his lessons based on the individual's own interests and personal taste. This approach in his teaching results in continual growth, commitment and enthusiasm from his students.

Scott Mellis Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher

Scott Mellis started out playing in heavy metal bands in high school, sneaking into bars underage and carrying the gear of older band members. In his solo project he has opened for folk-rock icon Richard Thompson, Serena Ryder, Jeff Martin, Fink and Joseph Arthur. He was asked to open for Jason Mraz and Tom Morello after being spotted playing an impromptu acoustic set at a clothing store in Austin for SXSW.

T. Alex Budrow Drum Teacher

Alex Budrow started out in the basement with a passion at 11 years old, like many drummers, and has pursued that through today. He began playing professionally by age 17 and has been studying and playing music for 18 years. He attended The New England Institute of Art and McNally Smith College of Music and got a BA in Audio Media Technology and AP Percussion Performance. His experience as an educator began while still attending NEIA, guest lecturing on Drum Set Production and Performance, which led to teaching private lessons. A position as Music Director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester in Boston, MA followed soon after. As a drummer pursuing his calling, Alex has performed countless shows, covering a vast spectrum of musical styles. His recording credits boast the same variety. Some of these recordings have even cracked local radio markets. These accomplishments only strengthen his commitment to the daily discipline of a professional musician. Alex believes the experience of music is for everyone. His approach to teaching is a balanced mix of inspiration and diligence designed to take the student where they want to go in their pursuit of a musical life.

Katie Henkel Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Singing Teacher

Katie began playing piano at the age of five and hasn’t stopped since. In 2009 she joined School of Rock as a keyboardist, bassist and vocalist and later became a School of Rock AllStar, playing venues such as Gathering of the Vibes, The Stone Pony and many others. She then studied at and graduated from Berklee College of Music, where she went on cross-country tours with bands she was in, as well as studied audio engineering. She’s played in venues all over the country, and engineers her own music and the music of other artists.

Abigail Miller Bass Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher

Born and raised in Oak Park, IL, Abigail Joy Miller has always been an avid music lover. She started taking bass lessons at the age of 12 at a small, local music store. Shortly after, she found her people and passion at School of Rock in Chicago. After a year at School of Rock Chiago, her mom, an active member of the community, decided to open what has become the largest School of Rock in the country. In 2012, at 14 years old, she was the youngest member of a local punk band in the Chicagoland area and recorded a few EPs. In 2015 and 2016 Abigail was chosen to represent the elite top 1% of School of Rock students as a national AllStar, where she played and performed around the US including at places like Gathering of the Vibes, Lollapalooza, Riot Fest and Summerfest. When she was supposed to be going into senior year of high school, she instead joined Dalton Rapattoni as the bassist and a backup singer on The Inspired Attempt Tour. After tour she graduated early from high school and was already living in LA while her peers were going to prom. She is now attending the Musicians Institute for Bass Performance with a minor in Audio Engineering. Abigail has accomplished a great deal already at the young age of 19, and she's only just getting started.

Naiim Wilson Guitar Teacher

Naiim Wilson was born in Arizona and raised in California, where he took up the guitar at the age of 12. Inspired by bands such as Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, he joined School of Rock as a student at 13, honing his skills through relentless practice, private lessons and show performances. After having performed at venues such as The Troubadour, The Joint and The Whiskey-a-Go-Go, Naiim was placed under the tutelage of Emmy-nominated conductor Michael Bearden and continued to perform on his own, as well as with other acts. In 2017, Naiim returned to School of Rock as a guitar teacher, guiding the younger students through their journeys as young musicians. Naiim plays a plethora of different styles, including rock, funk, jazz, blues, folk, and raga, with rock being his leading style.

Atticus Reynolds Drum Teacher

Atticus Reynolds is a drummer, composer and educator hailing from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is the first jazz musician and composer to receive the Kenan Music Scholarship at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He has been teaching students for nine years. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Atticus worked at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. He has studied with renowned artists, including Kenny Washington and Joe Farnsworth in New York, and received extensive classical snare drum and Latin percussion training with composer-performer Dr. Juan Alamo. He also studied for two and a half months at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. In 2016, Atticus composed and recorded an original suite of music in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which resulted in the release of his debut album “Ventana” in 2017. KCRW and KJAZZ radio stations have recently played selections from the album in the Los Angeles area. In 2017, he was selected to participate in the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music in Canada, directed by Vijay Iyer. Atticus has played a wide variety of music over the years, including for hip-hop and rap artists, marching bands, and indie rock and pop artists. He is excited to join the School of Rock team.

Drama Wyatt Drum Teacher

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California in a musical family, Drama has been around music her entire life and started playing guitar at the age of eight. However, it was when she was 14 years old and started playing the drums that she found her true passion for being a musician. She started taking lessons and enrolled at School of Rock West LA, and has been playing ever since. School of Rock has given her many amazing opportunities, such as learning how to play and interact with other musicians, as well as the chance to play legendary venues including The Whiskey a Go Go and The Troubadour with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jackson Browne. Now at the age of 18, she currently attends Musicians Institute in Hollywood, has played in several bands, currently plays drums for various singer-songwriters around town and writes her own material. Drama appreciates an array of genres, but prefers to play hard rock and alternative rock. Some of her favorite bands include The Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Royal Blood and Marmozets. She continues to strive to be a better musician everyday, and works very hard towards her goal of becoming a nationwide touring musician.

Joe Conner Drum Teacher

Joe Conner is a multi-talented musician hailing from Philadelphia, PA. A drummer and percussionist trained in the classical and Latin genres, Joe began playing drums at his father’s church at the early age of seven. With success coming early on, by the age of 12, Joe began sharing his skills by giving lessons to beginner students as well as some of his peers. His formal study began at the Settlement Music School with Philadelphia orchestra percussionist Susan Jones. He subsequently continued his training under the tutelage of great veteran drummers such as Craig McIver, Skip Hadden, Bertram Lehman and Casey Scheuerell. Through his vigorous training and study, he has become an extremely skilled musician on timpani, congas, bongos, cajon, vibes and marimba. Joe was rewarded a scholarship to attend The Berklee College of Music, where he graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Music Business and Management but not before managing backing bands he played in. He's worked with a long list of esteemed artists that includes "American Idol" finalist John Stevens, Jordin Sparks, Problem, Noel Gordin, Bobby McFerrin, Jessie J, Mickey Factz, Bilal, Jordan Knight, Meshell Ndegeocello, Walter Beasley, Rhythm Monks, JoJo and Sammy Adams, who he’s toured extensively with.

Scott Warren Piano Teacher

Scott Warren was the latest keyboardist for heavy metal band Dio and Heaven & Hell. Scott is a self-taught keyboardist and began playing at age six. Later he trained professionally at Dick Grove School of Music. He was a member of the groups Warrant, Keel and Berlin. Today Scott is part of Dio Disciples, which includes surviving members of the final line-up of Dio, along with former Lynch Mob vocalist Oni Logan. He also plays in the band Hellion, alongside fellow Dio Disciples member Simon Wright. His most notable work with the band would have to include his keyboard solo on the recent "Killing the Dragon" album on a track titled "Before the Fall."

Alyssa Robertson Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher

After seeing My Chemical Romance on the 2011 Honda Civic Tour, Los Angeles native Alyssa Robertson knew music was what she wanted to do with her life. Within a year of taking guitar lessons, Alyssa soon found herself wanting more to sink her teeth into, and did so by walking through the doors of School of Rock West LA. In addition to participating in the Performance Program while at School of Rock, she was also a vocalist in West LA’s House Band, which gave her the opportunity to play gigs all over town, including alongside Brad Wilk and Danny Carey, and with the House Band on Conan O'Brien's show. While growing as a musician during her tenure at School of Rock, Alyssa became interested in songwriting, and has been doing so for five years. Alyssa has also played in many bands, and has played at venues such as The Whisky A Go-Go, The Troubadour, Amplyfi and DiPiazza’s. Her main influences are Nirvana, Hole, My Chemical Romance, Placebo, No Doubt, Sleater Kinney, Bikini Kill, Paramore, Streetlight Manifesto and The Smiths.

Jake Furgason Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher

Jake Furgason began his music career at age 10 after picking up a guitar to play in a local band with some friends. He is originally from Littleton, CO, where he was one of the first students at School of Rock Denver. He is also a former School of Rock AllStar. His experiences as an AllStar and a member of the Denver House Band have given Jake many incredible musical opportunities, including playing with the likes of Josh Kilnghoffer, Vinnie and Carmine Apiece, and Andy "ROK" Guerrero in venues all over the country, including the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater. In 2012 he was accepted into the Berklee College of Music in Boston and studied there for four years, earning a degree in Music Production and Engineering as well as a minor in Acoustics and Audio Electronics. After leaving Boston he came to Los Angeles to further broaden his musical horizons. An avid tinkerer, he is often modifying his guitars or creating guitar pedals and microphones for his own personal use.

Tom Harrison Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Singing Teacher

Tom Harrison is a composer and musician originally from Morayshire, Scotland. After graduating with a BMus (Film Scoring) degree summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Tom moved to Los Angeles. His career in Hollywood began with a series of assistant jobs working for composers W. G. Snuffy Walden, Deborah Lurie and Christopher Tyng. He also interned with Alf Clausen on "The Simpsons" as part of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences internship program. Following this, Tom landed a gig working for composer John M. Keane on the score for one of the longest running TV dramas of all time, "CSI." He worked with John across three seasons of the show on over 50 episodes in total. Tom’s songs were featured on the Billboard Holiday number one album “This Christmas Time” by "Glee" star Damian McGinty, who he has also toured with. Tom now divides his time between writing songs for other artists, musical directing live concerts, composing music for film and television and occasionally releasing his own songs too. He is known as the lead singer and guitarist of ska/punk band Elmo Wants His Latte.

Natasha Ostapovicz Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher

Tash is a vocal and guitar instructor from Boston, MA. She studied Vocal Performance at Berklee College of Music and holds both a BA from Berklee and a BBus from MIT. The songwriting prodigy of Paula Cole, Tash toured the country singing backgrounds for the Grammy-winning artist's 10-year anniversary of album "This Fire." She has traveled to Kenya, Uganda and South Africa with music education outreach programs, and performed with countless artists in countries across the globe. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2016, Tash has worked with multiple major labels as a ghost writer, receiving a Grammy nomination for one of said works. She has been writing, recording and performing her own music for the past eight years and is currently hard at work in the music scene in LA. Tash has been teaching since 2012 and is constantly honing her own skills as a musician.

Adrian Flores Assistant General Manager

Adrian is a scholar of music. A former college radio DJ of WLIU Southampton, Adrian credits music with helping him navigate the twists and turns of life. The son of two middle school teachers, Adrian has lived in and around educational settings since before he could walk, and has the somewhat rare experience of having seen school from both sides of the teacher's desk. The insight this affords him makes him uniquely suited to acting as a liaison between students, teachers and parents. Adrian is a true believer in School of Rock's mission, and it shows.

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