Ken Kramer Owner, General Manager
Ken has always been passionate about music and an avid, aspiring guitarist. He's had his eyes set on starting his own music school for years which inspired him to open the School of Rock Williamsburg! It's a culmination of all the characteristics that he loves from building a business, being immersed in music, providing the highest quality music education and creating a fun, lively environment that is part of an exciting, growing and passionate community.
Prior to leaping into the rocking, shredding world of School of Rock, Ken worked in Information Technology for over 30 years, building state of the art computer systems. Starting as a software engineer, Ken worked his way up to designing, architecting and managing large projects and IT departments ranging from start-ups to large companies, including financial, media and government. All of this work ultimately led to Ken becoming a Chief Technology Officer.
Ken loves the diversity, energy and excitement of Brooklyn and has lived in Park Slope for over 20 years with his wife and two daughters. He has been an integral part of the community from coaching kids’ soccer teams, being a member of the New York City Community Education Council where he worked with the local public schools, city officials and parents to advocate for improved schools and education, and being a member of the local Civic Council promoting safer streets.
We strive to have School of Rock Williamsburg be seen as an integral part of the fabric of the community, with much to offer to all, so come join the band and rock out with us!
Michael Hart Music Director, Guitar Teacher
Michael is a prolific composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Ridgewood, NY. He holds both a Bachelors of Music from SUNY Purchase (2012) and a Masters of Music from the University of Miami (2016), where he studied Media Writing and Production. Michael has produced music for Nickelodeon, Amazon, is a regular composer for CBS Football and various overseas clients, and most recently wrote rhythm charts for Starkid’s 10th Anniversary concert, which featured Darren Criss and Vulfpeck’s Jack Stratton. A guitarist for 20 years, Michael has played at venues all over the US, including world premieres for musicals in Chicago (Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier) and New York (Alice Unraveled, which he orchestrated) and enjoyed a stint in Colorado as Guitar II for Rock of Ages. He currently co-writes and produces music for Beldame, a goth-rock duo beginning to make waves in New York’s music scene.
Michael is an accomplished teacher, having taught at both grade school and collegiate levels in every facet of musical education, and has been a part of School of Rock for the past 5 years in Miami and NYC, both as an Instructor and Show Director. He is thrilled to bring his expertise and knowledge to the Music Director role at School of Rock Williamsburg. Music has never been a cut and dry affair and Michael hopes to facilitate an environment where students accept, embrace and deconstruct that thought.
Kate Koenig Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, Singing Teacher
Kate is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and music journalist based in Brooklyn. She's been singing since she could open her mouth and grew up learning trumpet, studying classical piano and learning rock and fingerpicking style guitar playing. From 2016 to 2018, she was editor of Music Alive!, a music education magazine for middle schoolers, as well as associate editor for its sister publication, In Tune Monthly.
She has had experience teaching students of all ages, apprenticing as a instrument tech for acoustic guitars and world instruments at Music Inn in Manhattan, composing for mixed ensembles, and transcribing music like Frank Zappa's "Cruisin' for Burgers" and Gentle Giant's "On Reflection." Along with teaching guitar, bass, keyboard and vocals at School of Rock Williamsburg, she interviews professional musicians and edits music notation for Premier Guitar and Acoustic Guitar magazines.
She recently released her debut album as a singer-songwriter, Haircuts for Barbers (which can be found on Spotify), and has performed at New York's Pianos, Pete's Candy Store, and Bowery Electric. When teaching music, she focuses on discovering the quickest way to help a young musician realize their personal connection with and strengths in music, and how capable they are of growing in their art.
Christian Cepeda Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Christian is a professional musician and instructor from Long Island, NY. He received his Bachelor's Degree in 2012 from SUNY Purchase in Classical Guitar Performance under the tutelage of the world-renowned Fred Hand. After graduation and moving back to Long Island, Christian started working at the School of Rock Port Jeff Station. It was here that his passion for teaching flourished along with his desire to start making music in the local scene.
From indie-rock to progressive-punk to soul-funk outfits, Christian's musical experience is as eclectic as his interests. In 2018 he had the pleasure of working as musical director/composer for a musical run at The PIT for SketchFest, one of the nation's largest and New York City's Premier sketch festival. Ever the versatile musician, you can even find him performing as a one man band at a monthly Brooklyn comedy show as he improvises beats and tracks using his guitar and the ever so handy Ableton software.
Through his studies he's channeled his passion for jazz, education in classical music, guitar pedagogy, and experience in teaching contemporary music to gain a multifaceted understanding of the guitar. With an understanding that allows a readiness for any musical situation, this is exactly the kind of level of comfort he wishes to pass down to his students so they can be their best, uninhibited, musical self.
Brian Duke Show Director, Drum Teacher
Inspired by the rich music and culture of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Brian Duke grew up learning to play drums like his paisley clad idols. Branching off into the world of Jazz and Blues, he enriched his grooves playing with Little Tower (formerly the Hoochie Coochie Men), and studying under drum legend Bill Goodwin (Phil Woods Quartet). Shortly after graduating from Lafayette College with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Brian started playing with the NYC-based alternative rock band, Cale and the Gravity Well. The band quickly broke into the touring scene with stops including SXSW and the Singapore Grand Prix. They released an EP in 2017 produced by Jim Fairchild (Modest Mouse, Grandaddy). In late 2016, Brian also began working with guitar virtuoso Roger Filgate, a former member of Wishbone Ash, tracking drums in a studio co-founded by Filgate. In February of 2017, Brian started drumming for country star Jessica Lynn, embarking on extensive tours in the US and overseas and sharing the stage with the likes of ZZ Top, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Keith Urban. In February 2019, Brian took part in the filming of Jessica’s third TV special which was released Summer 2019 in Europe and Fall 2019 in the US on PBS. Additionally, Brian drums in his brother’s band, Kyle Duke and the Brown Bag Boys, which continues to build a following in NYC while breaking into the DIY scenes in D.C. and Ohio. The band has been touring around the Eastern US for the past few years and made their TV debut in April 2019 in support of their latest single.
Brian’s teaching career began at an early age, taking on his first students while still in high school. While attending Lafayette College, Brian continued to give private lessons and worked as a teaching assistant for various world music classes and the college’s Percussion Ensemble. In February of 2017, Brian began teaching at School of Rock in New Canaan, CT. Shortly after, he also began working at the Ridgefield, CT and Bedford, NY School of Rock locations. In June of 2019, Brian joined the team at School of Rock Williamsburg. An integral member of the launch crew, Brian is also show director and drum instructor for the newly formed franchise. As an instructor, Brian brings many elements to his lessons, pulling from a diverse stylistic background and years of practical experience touring and recording with a multitude of artists.
Brielle Liebman Assistant Music Director, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Singing Teacher
Brielle Liebman is a singer-songwriter originally from New Jersey. She graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in music from William Paterson University, where she studied performing, songwriting, music theory and ear training. While in school, she ran ensembles nearly every semester and worked on arrangements and performances with these ensembles. She has been writing melodies and lyrics ever since she can remember, but started taking her craft seriously around age 13. She has been a dedicated singer and guitarist since then and has been playing professionally (with bands and solo) for around eight years. She has held residencies at restaurants and has played at venues such as The Stone Pony in New Jersey and Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. Most recently, her focus has been collaborating with other songwriters. She has also been co-writing as much as possible with other writers and producers to make various kinds of music. As a teacher, she has taught at four School of Rock locations throughout the years, as well as private schools and private lessons. She has worked as an instructor, ran Little Wing, Rock 101 and Rookies programs, and has show directed. Her main teaching focus is working with her students to develop knowledge and skill on their chosen instruments. She also cultivates creativity so that her students may one day become artists as well. She loves finding out what inspires each student and meeting them there to build their musical foundations. She is the assistant music director as well as a guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher, piano teacher, ukulele teacher, songwriting teacher and vocal instructor at School of Rock Williamsburg.
Chris Heinz Drum Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Bass Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
New York native and multi-instrumentalist Christopher Heinz has been a professional touring and session drummer for over 20 years. Proficient in multiple styles, Christopher’s main focuses are Jazz, Rock and R&B. Christopher studied drums and music theory with renown drummer and educator John Riley, author of “The Art Of Bop Drumming” and “Beyond Bop Drumming”. During this time, Christopher learned valuable ways to perform and create in a healthy manner, a skill he passes down to his own students at School of Rock and privately. Among others, Christopher has worked with Katharine McPhee, Miranda Lambert, Walking Shapes, The Wailers, Alabama, Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.
In addition to his performance work, he has scored music for television and film. His credits include MSNBC’s “Locked Up” series; Amnesty International’s documentary Women of Liberia; and MTV’s Sorority Life and Fraternity Life series.
Juliana Parker Piano, Singing Teacher
Juliana was born and raised in Cos Cob, CT on a house blend of classic rock, musical theater, and modern folk music. A keyboard player and vocalist with a flair for the dramatic, she grew up writing songs imitating her favorite artists such as Sara Bareilles and Billy Joel. She got her start teaching in the music department at Buck’s Rock Creative and Performing Arts Camp, where she worked for 3 years with children ages 8-18. At Berklee College of Music she studied songwriting and performance under her mentor Livingston Taylor, and after graduating in 2018, she moved to Brooklyn to be where the music is. Her song “Waiting on the Line” feat. Miss Beltran placed runner-up in the Radio Airplay Love Song 2017 Contest. Another original tune, “Rhode Island Roads,” was awarded Best Performance in the Berklee Perfect Pitch Competition 2018, and in 2019 she was selected to join the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.
Nick Trautmann Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Nick Trautmann is a Connecticut-born bassist who has been living and performing in New York City since 2015. In 2014, he earned a B.A./B.M. in Jazz Studies and Music Theory from the University of Connecticut, where he studied under bassists Chip Jackson, Gregg August, and Stephan Crump. Nick’s studies continued in Paris at IRCAM with the Eastman School of Music’s course, “Theory and Analysis of Contemporary Music". Nick has toured internationally with BMA award-winning artist Vanessa Collier and is currently the musical director and bassist for American Idol alum Drew Angus. Nick’s funk, fusion, and prog-rock inspired playing style can best be heard with his Brooklyn-based progressive soul band Valipala. Nick is currently an instructor at School of Rock Williamsburg, where he gets to pass on his love of music to the next generation.
Sebastián González Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher, Bass Teacher
Sebastián is a guitarist, composer and music teacher born in Bogotá, Colombia. He studied music at the Javeriana University, El Bosque University and the Cristancho Academy in Bogotá. In 2001 Sebastián became part of the Colombian project, Mauricio & Palo de Agua, a group signed exclusively to EMI Music. The project has released 3 albums to date, Canto Caribeño, Contigo and Viernes. The albums yielded a number of radio hits that reached the top of the charts for Latin American music and led to numerous nominations for the Shock and Nuestra Tierra awards in Colombia, winning the Golden Sigla Award at the Latin American Festival in Milan, Italy and two nominations for the Latin Grammy Awards (best new artist, best tropical song). During Sebastián’s time in the band, he collaborated in the composition and production of these albums, and performed over 800 concerts throughout Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, the United States, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Poland and Germany.
Highlights include performing at the White House in celebration of Columbian Independence and participating in official events for the Colombian government on both national and international stages.
Sebastián later moved to Australia where, over the course of 2 years, performed over 1500 shows on the P & O cruise line. Returning to Bogotá, he directed the project Moonetz and released the internationally acclaimed album, “A New Direction”, in 2014.
Sebastian has shared stage with artists such as Juan Luis Guerra, Fito Páez, Marc Anthony, Aterciopelados, Gilberto Santarosa, Juanes, Los Prisioneros, Fonseca, Cabas and others. In addition to his performance, recording and touring experience, Sebastian has been involved in teaching both as a high school music teacher and privately. Currently living in New York City, Sebastián is performing with bands like Outernational, The Ritualists and Axel Music Box in addition to working on projects at Premier Studios in Times Square.
Melody Chibnik Piano and Singing Teacher
Melody is a musician and artist originally from the Jersey Shore. She has had an interest in music ever since she was a child, where she first got involved with School of Rock. Beginning as a student and working her way up to a member of staff, Melody learned to play guitar, bass, piano, and ukulele under the guidance of teachers at School of Rock. Currently, Melody plays in a band based in New York. While she is a talented instrumentalist, Melody was classically trained in vocals and considers her voice to be her best “instrument”.
After high school, Melody won a scholarship to study classical singing, however, having already decided to attend art school, she used the funds to buy a double bass. Learning the instrument sparked her love of jazz music. She is passionate about teaching proper vocal technique and watching students sing in ways that they didn’t know they could. Having grown up through the School of Rock program, she has not only taught private lessons but also has worked as a camp director, taught the Rock 101 program, and helped to assist the Show Directors on various SOR Performance Program shows. She now works and studies in NYC, teaching private lessons and working as a studio assistant to various composers in the city.
Sam Graham Singing Teacher
Sam Graham is a singer with a passion for writing music and exploring the world of music. He received his Master’s Degree in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory and just released his debut EP “Cries for Attention” in May of 2020.
As a Boston transplant, he previously worked at School of Rock Natick, the Franklin School of Performing Arts, as well as Young Singers Academy in New York. He believes in the empathetic connection singers form with their music, each other and its effects on the body as a means of creating stronger singers. He’s inspired by artists like Stevie Wonder, Björk and Amy Winehouse.
Majhon Phillips Singing Teacher, Piano Teacher
Majhon Phillips is a pianist/vocalist/songwriter located in Murray Hill. She earned a Bachelor of Music Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Languages (both Summa Cum Laude) from Southeast Missouri State University. She also holds a Master of Education degree with honors from the University of Illinois. Majhon furthered her studies in music at the Liszt School of Music Weimar in Germany and at the University of Missouri.
Majhon has performed across America and Europe, in such locations as Notre Dame Cathedral, Frauenkirche, St. Mark’s Basilica, Carnegie Hall, Tool Shed Studios, Tabard Theatre, and The Bitter End.
She is also world-renowned for her teaching style using a blend of traditional and rock methods, and has coached more than 300 up-and-coming artists. Majhon’s students have won state and national competitions in music and have toured internationally. Her friends and colleagues at Universal Music Group, Republic Records, The Recording Academy, ASCAP, and NAMM help promote and push her students to achieve all they can in the field of music.
The ultimate goal is finding your voice. There’s always a place for new voices in the world of music.
When not practicing, performing, and coaching, Majhon and her husband, Noah, enjoy traveling, adventuring, and finding local flavor.
Ian Anderson Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher
Ian Anderson is a guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. A native of Massachusetts, Ian studied music at Wesleyan University, where he focused on guitar performance, 20th century musical history, and electroacoustic music. He was also a founding member of the Toneburst laptop ensemble, as well as a house guitarist for the musical theater department. He then got his master’s from NYU, where he studied signal processing, digital audio programming and spatial audio for headphones.
Since moving to New York in 2014, Ian has been an active performer throughout the region, including with his 90s/00s pop-punk cover band, Imitation Crab, and with the Brooklyn-based multimedia collective and YouTube channel Apartment Sessions. His latest project is writing and recording with Delaware-based indie band Comet Lovejoy. Ian has previously performed with rapper/producer Calid B and with the off-broadway musicals “Golem Owned A Tropical Smoothie” and “Me Prometheus,” among others. He is also the operations coordinator of the Clarion Music Society.
Ian has taught students of all ages, primarily the guitar but also the bass, piano, drums, singing and music theory. He has been teaching and performing music since high school, where he led both the a cappella group and classical choir. Ian has worked in schools consistently since then, teaching private lessons, accompanying musical theater, and leading creative workshops for students of all ages. Ian is experienced working with special-needs students, both individually and in groups, as well as with the elderly. His teaching style emphasizes musical confidence and positivity, focusing on fundamental technique through example based learning.
Ben Fitts Guitar Teacher
Ben began gigging as a professional musician at 17 and started teaching lessons soon thereafter. Ben has a B.A. from Hampshire College where he studied music composition, guitar performance, and music production. At Hampshire, Ben explored jazz, avant-garde, and classical music, and spent his free time playing in a variety of metal, rock, and punk bands.
Ben believes that the guitar is a creative tool that each person will learn to use a little differently. Whether it’s helping his students learn their favorite songs, play killer solos, or even create their own music, Ben’s favorite part of teaching is guiding students to reach their own goals. Ben currently plays lead guitar in the indie rock band War Honey, whose songs have received international radio airplay, positive press, and tens of thousands of streams.
Jared Pease Drum Teacher
Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, Jared Pease got his start playing in punk bands throughout the city, playing his first show at age 13. He would study music across all genres from rock and metal to jazz fusion and Indian classical, incorporating these genres into his playing style. Shortly after his first performance he embarked on a US tour. Jared also took on his first drum student during this time, beginning his journey as a music educator. Deciding to pursue music as a career, he was accepted to Berklee College of Music.
Jared studied under a number of instructors at Berklee, including Kenwood Dennard (Maceo Parker/Jaco Pastorious) and Dave Dicenso (John Petrucci/Josh Groban). Continuing his musical exploration far beyond rock, he studied Caribbean, Native American, Afro-Beat, Bikutsi, Jazz, Latin, Fusion, and Indian Classical music. While at Berklee, Jared was able to perform with Paban Das Baul and Prithwiraj Choudhury, touring across the continental U.S. while simultaneously performing on film scores and albums.
Jared eventually moved to New York, where he would continue to tour and record, working with producers such as David Bendeth (Paramore/Breaking Benjamin), John Plenge (Pink Floyd), Godfrey Diamond (Jimi Hendrix/Aretha Franklin), Damon Whittemore (Paul McCartney), and Jeff Tomei (Smashing Pumpkins). Jared also opened a pre-production studio in Brooklyn focused on recording and mixing records. He is currently endorsed by Outlaw Drums and Soultone Cymbals.
As an educator who formerly worked at School of Rock Watertown, MA, Jared’s first priority is to make sure his students are having fun. If their goal is to play at Madison Square Garden, work in recording studios, or just play in their homes, music is meant to be fun. As someone who has had the privilege of attending a college like Berklee, he feels it’s very important to pass down the knowledge and experience gained both from there and in his career as a professional musician.