Scott Rownin Owner
School of Rock West Hartford’s owner, Scott Rownin, is an entrepreneur, inventor of the “SafeRide” mobile app to halt texting while driving; and a drummer of 35 years.
After being asked to accompany his daughter’s fourth grade band for a performance of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five,” parents approached him about teaching their elementary school kids as well. “That was the spark,” he said. Right around the same time, he ran into an adult in Westport, CT where he currently lives, who was a student at a local School of Rock, and “it just dawned on me that this would be a great business.” When he got in touch with School of Rock, he learned that the company has been looking for someone to come into West Hartford for a long time.
Bryan Eng Bass Guitar Teacher
Bryan Eng is a professional bass player and music educator from Annapolis, Maryland. Picking up the bass guitar at age 14, he developed a passion for music and quickly excelled on his instrument. Before long, he was playing in various rock bands and gigging in the local music scene in Washington DC.
While in high school, Bryan was recommended by his local bass instructor to study in the world-renowned music school "Bassology" with Anthony Wellington, marking the beginning of a long apprenticeship that continues to this day. As he became exposed to different styles of music, he began studying jazz harmony and syncopated rhythms.
Upon completing his formal studies, Bryan spent several years in Madrid to study the Spanish language. In the meantime, he started auditioning for various cruise lines, and was offered a position with NCL and later continued on ships with Holland America Cruise Line. Since then, Bryan has begun teaching at School of Rock, where he's able to share his passion for music and teaching.
Chuck Peterson Drum Teacher
Professional drummer, Chuck Peterson has been involved in music since his early childhood. Following in the great footsteps of Jeff Porcaro, Steve Jordan, and Keith LeBlanc, he pours out energy and passion into playing a wide variety of genres such as rock, jazz, hip hop, country, funk, latin, r&b, reggae, and orchestral music.
Chuck has toured all over the United States and Canada with many different artists. He also recorded for some major labels such as Warner Brothers Records, Island/Def Jam Records, and International Records/Middle East. Chuck is also affiliated with The Motown Alumni Association, which became a direct link to the legendary Motown session group The Funk Brothers. The remaining legends heard Chuck drumming and enjoyed what they heard, that they dubbed him an honorary Funk Brother.
Danica Schofer Singing Teacher, Piano Teacher
Danica Isabelle Schofer is a music and dance artist and educator based in Northeast PA. As of Summer 2020, she is a rising junior at Muhlenberg College pursuing a dual Bachelors of Arts in Music and Dance. In music, Danica’s focus is specifically in jazz studies and improvisation, and she specializes in jazz piano, vocals, piano/voice combo work, and flute. She applies these skills in a variety of musical genres. At Muhlenberg, Danica is a music theory tutor for her fellow students and featured musician in the Jazz Improvisation Ensemble and Jazz Big Band. She also works closely with children of all ages as a creative dance teacher in city schools and a certified online ESL instructor to children in China. Danica believes that every student has a unique value that they bring to the world by being themselves and sees the student’s experience of making art as a daily practice of exploring that gift and inspiring others to do the same. Danica will be teaching at School of Rock West Hartford remotely until October.
Diego Smith Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Saxophone Teacher
Diego Smith grew up in rural Dominican Republic until the 7th grade. In his youth he was exposed to American Folk and Rock and Roll from his father and Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata from his mother. In his adolescent years, he was exposed to Metal, Jazz, and Classical music. He studied Composition at Berklee College of Music, where he studied Contemporary Styles and Jazz alongside his traditional compositional studies. While in Boston he wrote for and led an ensemble of about a dozen colleagues called the Mad Pop Tyccoons, with a surreal twist on Fusion.
After living in the Dominican Republic and spending some years studying and cataloging as many genres as possible, Diego returned to the states where he became a certified teacher and completed his Masters in Composition at the University of Hartford. While at Hartt, he wrote a number of pieces for chamber ensembles, electronics/mixed media, and the Composers Ensemble, a group of composers who wrote and played music that was often experimental and improvisational. His Thesis was a concept album lasting around an hour, including over 100 styles of music of original music, all recorded by Diego himself on about a dozen instruments.
Diego Smith currently teaches K-12 General Music, as well as private piano and guitar students. He writes, records, and films himself performing musical experiments on his youtube channel.
Jaeme Brennan McDonald Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Jaeme Brennan McDonald is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, and mix engineer. He received his Bachelor’s degree in music production from Berklee College of Music, and is a teaching artist at the CREC Academy of the Arts. Mr. McDonald has toured internationally with blues dub project Little Axe, and mixed for a variety of local and national acts such as The Bandshes, TangSauce, Jeff Pitchell, The Unforgettable Fire, Living Colour, FreekBass and Unlocking The Truth. He has also provided tour support as a back line instrument technician for Janelle Monae, Eddie Money, and BB King, and served as production manager for bassist Doug Wimbish’s WIMBASH Festival series. Mr. McDonald’s company, Mixed by Soundchild, has provided training and recording services for all levels of musicians, from beginner to professional. He also writes and performs music under the stage name JME Strchild.
Jeffrey Howard Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Jeffrey Howard is a musical tour-de-force. He started playing guitar at the age of eight and quickly developed a love for classic rock and ‘80s “shred” guitar. In middle school, Jeffrey entered the group The McLovins, earning coverage from Rolling Stone and opening for blues legend Buddy Guy. After departing The McLovins, Jeffrey honed his skills as a session and studio guitarist, providing guitar for seasoned performers such as Matt Cusson (Cee Lo Green) and Will Evans (Barefoot Truth).
As a college student at the University of Rochester, Jeff studied jazz guitar with Eastman professor and musician Bob Sneider (Chuck Mangione), where he learned how to play like a “jazz cat”. Jeffrey earned his Master’s Degree in Human Development from the University of Rochester in 2019, and currently resides in CT, where he enjoys teaching guitar and bass, as well as producing music on Logic Pro X.
Kayla Silverman Singing Teacher
Kayla Silverman is a Boston based indie-pop artist who looks to the past for inspiration and guidance. Trained in the classical style, Kayla studied and performed compositions of Schubert, Mozart and Bach to audiences at Carnegie Hall. But as she reached young adulthood, she discovered the synergy of combining the sounds of classical music and the electronic sounds of bedroom pop can fuse into a single beautiful identity. One can describe Kayla’s music as the byproduct of a studio session with “Mozart and Billie Eilish.”
Kayla has immense live performance experiences already under her belt, such as her 2019 headliner show promoting her EP “I Believe,” at The Cutting Room and the Bitter End in New York City. Kayla is a two-time performer at the BBYO International Convention of six thousand people in which she performed with Justin Jesso, a rising pop artist. Seeing Kayla Silverman live is an energetic yet intimate experience as her dramatic red hair bounces around the stage and has a mind of its own. Her compositions have won songwriting awards from the “Unsigned Only Music Competition,” “Global Music Award” and “Los Angeles Film Awards.”
Simone Dube Singing Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Simone Marie is a musician from Wolcott, CT. Simone started singing and playing piano at the age of 5 and has been jamming ever since! She attended college at Hofstra University where she received her bachelors in Jazz and Commercial Music, and then attended the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz where she received her masters in Jazz Studies. She studied with great musicians including Dave LaLama, Holli Ross, Javon Jackson and Shawnn Montiero. She has performed at various venues around Connecticut including Cafe Nine and Black Eyed Sally's to name a few.
Simone has been teaching piano and voice for the past two years and is excited to continue her teaching endeavors at School of Rock. With her education in jazz, along with her diverse taste in music, she is hoping to inspire many future musicians.
Simone released her debut EP, "just the beginning" in August of 2020 and will be releasing a full album later this year.
Mackey Pope Singing Teacher, Saxophone Teacher, Clarinet Teacher
Mackey Pope has been studying music seriously since the first year of high school. He has received a Bachelors of Art in Music from Keene State College for his studies of the Classical and Jazz genres. He performed with several rock bands during his college studies, playing with classic rock, ska, funk, metal, and alternative ensembles as lead vocalist, horn player, and back up drummer. His teaching style has been honed over years of individual and group instruction, focusing on highlighting student’s abilities while ensuring basic to advanced music theory knowledge.
Xondra O’Connell Singing Teacher
Alexondra (Xondra) O’Connell is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Long Island, New York . She earned her Bachelor’s Of Music Degree from SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory Of Music and most recently earned her Master’s Of Music Business from Berklee College Of Music. She has been performing since she was 12 years old and now plays music venues with her band all around the Northeastern US. She has experience teaching both individual lessons and group classes at three other School Of Rock locations. She’s passionate about nourishing the love of music in her students and is excited to help them reach their full potential.