Chicago West
School of Rock

Explore School of Rock

Chicago West

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School of Rock Chicago West
1913 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 526-3978

Location Specifics

East of Damen Ave. and across the street from West Town Bakery.

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Hours
  • Monday: 2 PM - 8 PM
  • Tuesday: 2 PM - 8 PM
  • Wednesday: 2 PM - 8 PM
  • Thursday: 2 PM - 8 PM
  • Friday: 3 PM - 8 PM
  • Saturday: 9 AM - 5 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Music programs at School of Rock Chicago West combine one-on-one lessons with group band practices

School of Rock in Chicago West is proud to offer quality music classes to Chicago and surrounding areas. Students can learn how to play instruments with skill and confidence - we offer everything from drums, guitar, keyboard, vocals, and even ukulele in a supportive and encouraging environment. With our revolutionary program, students can develop their skills in popular local genres such as hiphop, classic rock, LatinX rock, and top 40 hits and then go on to perform at notable venues in the area such as Empty Bottle, the Cobra Lounge and Reggie's Rock Club.

Programs we offer

Rock 101 music program in Chicago for kids and beginners
Rock 101
Ages 8-13

Rock 101 is one of School of Rock Chicago West's top programs for kids and beginners. Students have one weekly group rehearsal where they learn to play classic rock songs that have been simplified for beginner musicians. Additionally, Rock 101 students in Chicago West have a weekly private music lesson with an instructor who helps them learn the concepts and skills behind their performance songs.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY PRIVATE LESSON
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP REHEARSAL

The Path to Take the Stage

Our music programs for kids in Chicago are designed to get students on stage performing, with the goal of building strong musical proficiency. Younger students at School of Rock Chicago West who have participated in the Rookies program can move to our Rock 101 music program once they’re ready. Additionally, students (typically ages 8 to 13-years-old) can begin Rock 101 without any prior experience. The goal of this rock program is to quickly develop a basic competence on students’ chosen instruments before moving on to our famous Performance Program.

Performance music program for teens in Chicago
Performance
Ages 8-18

The Performance Program at School of Rock Chicago West is our hallmark music program, where tens of thousands of students enroll each year. It consists of a weekly group rehearsal where kids and teens learn by playing rock music's most iconic songs with a band composed of their peers. Students are assigned songs and parts that are tailored to them based on their age, experience and ability to learn new skills and concepts. Students then work through their parts in weekly private music lessons, refining the skills and concepts that those songs introduce. The goal of this curriculum is to prepare kids and teens for live performances. Every few months, School of Rock Chicago West Performance Program students take the stage and play at local Chicago music venues in front of a live audience.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY PRIVATE LESSON
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP REHEARSAL

The Path to Take the Stage

School of Rock Chicago West's music programs for kids and teens are designed to inspire by getting students on stage and performing. All of our other music education programs focus on readying students for our famous Performance Program. This is where students develop incredible musical skills. Performance Program students have often gone through our Rock 101 program first or have some previous basic music experience. These young musicians will have custom development plans outlined by their instructors with key concepts reinforced during private lessons and group rehearsals, all with the goal of performing live at a Chicago music venue.

Rookies music program for children in Chicago
Rookies
Ages 6-7

At School of Rock Chicago West, our music program for children with no previous musical experience (typically ages 6 to 7-years-old) is called Rookies. Rookies students have one weekly group music lesson where they learn fundamentals like chords, rhythm and song structure. Kids get to learn and experiment with multiple instruments so they can later decide which one they ultimately want to continue pursuing in Rock 101.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP LESSON
  • USE OF SIMPLIFIED ROCK INSTRUMENTS TO TEACH KIDS TO PLAY MUSIC

The Path to Take the Stage

All of our music programs are designed to inspire students to learn and develop a strong musical proficiency. At School of Rock Chicago West, younger students who are not ready for a more comprehensive program like Rock 101 can start in Rookies. Additionally, students who have completed the Little Wing program will progress into the Rookies music program. No prior musical experience is needed for Rookies. Once your child is ready for private music lessons (typically older than first or second graders), they will graduate into our Rock 101 program.

Little Wing music program for toddlers and preschoolers in Chicago
Little Wing
Ages 4-5

At School of Rock Chicago West our Little Wing music program for preschoolers and toddlers teaches students foundational music skills by playing games and participating in other interactive musical activities. Little Wing students have one weekly group music lesson in which they use classic rock songs to learn about rhythm, song structure, melody and dynamics through play.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP LESSON
  • USE HAND PERCUSSION & OTHER TOOLS TO LEARN RHYTHM PATTERNS & MUSIC SYNTAX

The Path to Take the Stage

The Little Wing music program is the first step in a young musician's journey. At School of Rock Chicago West, toddlers and preschoolers who show an interest in music should start with Little Wing. As they get older, they will progress into the Rookies program, followed by Rock 101 and the Performance Program.

Songwriting
Age 12 and over

Our Songwriting program for kids and teens teaches the fundamentals of songwriting, arrangement and music theory, and helps students compose original works.  At School of Rock Chicago West, songwriting students receive one weekly private lesson where they learn concepts, technique and theory on an instrument of their choice. These principles are then applied in a weekly group lesson where students work together on songwriting exercises and lyrical workshops.  Every few months, Songwriting students take the stage to perform or band together to record their original songs.

What to Expect
  • 1 weekly private lesson
  • 1 weekly group lesson

The Path to Take the Stage

Our Songwriting program for kids and teens in Chicago is designed to create musical proficiency through the creation of original music. Students at School of Rock Chicago West who have completed our Rock 101 program can move to our Songwriting program once they’re ready. Additionally, new students who have prior experience with and basic knowledge of an instrument can also begin Songwriting. The program culminates with a live showcase where students perform their original compositions in bands at a local music venue. Students taking the Songwriting Program online will remotely record their original songs to produce a demo of the class's music.

Remote student playing guitar
Online
All Ages

At School of Rock Chicago West, our students can take online, one-on-one music instruction from the comfort of their homes. We call this program School of Rock Remote. This online music program contains weekly one-on-one instruction conducted by our expert School of Rock instructors in a safe virtual lesson room.
 
Students will receive their training using our proprietary education program, The School of Rock Method™, which couples live video lessons with our proprietary Method App™, SongFirst Approach™ and Method Books™. 

What To Expect
  • ONE WEEKLY 1-ON-1 LESSON
  • LESSONS CONDUCTED USING SECURE VIDEO TECHNOLOGY

THE PATH TO TAKE THE STAGE

All of our music programs for kids, teens, and adults are designed to help students gain amazing musical proficiency. School of Rock’s online music lesson program is no exception. Online guitar lessons, online piano lessons, online drum lessons, online singing lessons and online bass guitar lessons are all offered through the School of Rock Remote online program.

Adult music program in Chicago for students over 18
Adult Program
Ages 18+

School of Rock Chicago West's Adult Program is for students over 18 years old who are looking to either improve their musical proficiency or pick up an instrument with no prior musical experience. As with most School of Rock music programs, the Adult Program uses a performance-based music education approach. This means the curriculum focuses on learning music concepts and applying them in a live performance setting. Our Adult Music Program includes one weekly private music lesson and a weekly group rehearsal. Every student at School of Rock Chicago West is placed in a band of fellow adults and then assigned specific songs as a way of learning key music concepts and skills. Adult students then take the stage to play at a live show in Chicago.

What To Expect
  • 1 WEEKLY PRIVATE LESSON
  • 1 WEEKLY GROUP REHEARSAL

The Path to Take the Stage

All of our music programs are designed to inspire by getting students on stage and performing, with the goal of building strong musical proficiency along the way. The School of Rock Chicago West Adult Program is open to all experience levels and each student will follow a customized learning plan developed by their instructor. Adult students will work together during rehearsal to prepare for a live performance at a real rock venue in Chicago.

House Band program for gigging at local venues in Chicago
House Band
Age 17 and Under

The School of Rock Chicago West House Band music program gives students under 18 the opportunity to join a gigging band composed of fellow musicians from their school. These students perform additional live shows throughout the year. All students in the Performance Program have the opportunity to audition for a spot in School of Rock Chicago West's House Band. Once selected, House Band members become leaders in their School of Rock community and perform live shows at IL rock venues throughout the year.

What To Expect
  • A GIGGING MUSICIAN'S EXPERIENCE
  • FREQUENT LIVE PERFORMANCES IN COMMUNITY

The Path to Take the Stage

Performance is the core of School of Rock's educational approach. Therefore, we create additional opportunities for students to perform on stages throughout Chicago and the rest of IL. The House Band music program allows each school's most talented students the opportunity to join a band and play routinely in front of live audiences. Once a member, students will gain real music experience associated with gigging musicians and will become leaders and mentors inside the School of Rock community.

The AllStars national tour features the best child and teen musicians
AllStars
Age 17 and Under

The School of Rock AllStars Tour takes the very best students from around the world and sends them on a nationwide summer tour across the United States. Less than 1% of School of Rock students are selected each year to represent School of Rock as an AllStar. All Performance Program students are eligible to audition for this prestigious program. The intensive audition process starts off with video submissions followed by live auditions. Once selected, AllStar students will have an authentic touring experience including traveling on a tour bus, doing tour publicity and starring in nightly performances at famous venues and festivals during a two-week tour.

What To Expect
  • A MULTI-CITY, COUNTRY-WIDE MUSIC TOUR EXPERIENCE
  • PERFORMING ON SOME OF THE BIGGEST AND MOST FAMOUS STAGES IN THE WORLD

The Path to Take the Stage

Becoming an AllStar is the highest level of achievement for a School of Rock student. They play on legendary stages large and small, including The Knitting Factory, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Troubadour and Lollapalooza. AllStar students often go on to have accomplished careers in the music industry. Former AllStars have gone on to become touring artists, star in Broadway musicals, get signed to record deals, become finalists on talent competitions like "The Voice" and "American Idol" and have other notable roles in the music industry.

Music Lessons in Chicago West

Kid learns to play guitar at School of Rock Chicago

Guitar Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Guitar Lessons for Kids

At School of Rock Chicago West, we offer beginner guitar lessons for kids. Our expert guitar instructors guide your child from start to finish with private instruction and weekly group band rehearsals. Every instructor at School of Rock Chicago West is an experienced musician, and they emphasize foundational music theory and technique when teaching guitar lessons to kids. Unlike other Chicago guitar lessons and programs, School of Rock is designed to get students performing in a band.

Beginner Guitar Lessons for Adults

It’s never too late to learn to play the guitar. Similar to our kids guitar lessons, School of Rock Chicago West's beginner guitar lessons for adults utilizes a performance-based curriculum. Our experienced instructors teach adult students through popular rock songs, and teach students to play guitar in a way that’s challenging and fun. We believe the best way to learn is by doing, which is why we combine weekly private guitar lessons with group band rehearsals. At School of Rock Chicago West, we teach beginner guitar lessons for adults in our Adult Program. This program gets students performing onstage at a local Chicago venue.

Key Concepts
  • Technique
  • Solos
  • Chords
  • Theory

Intermediate to Advanced Guitar Lessons

As students gain skills and experience, we move them along to more challenging programs at higher skill levels. Intermediate and advanced students take the skills they learned in beginner guitar lessons, and layer on more difficult techniques and concepts. School of Rock Chicago West offers advanced guitar lessons for kids and adults that teach by playing challenging classic rock songs and emphasize playing the guitar in a real music venue. Our Chicago guitar teachers will work with each student to develop a custom learning plan.

Kids learn to drum at School of Rock Chicago

Drum Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Drum Lessons for Kids

School of Rock Chicago West is the best option for anyone looking to learn the drums. Our beginner drum lessons get kids behind the drum kit and on their way to taking the stage. That’s why at School of Rock Chicago West we combine private drum lessons for beginners with weekly band rehearsals—it prepares students to perform live. With years of experience teaching drums in Chicago, our drum instructors teach beginner drum students core techniques, including how to groove, play rudiments and more.

Beginner Drum Lessons for Adults

Our drum lessons for adults are designed to accommodate all skill levels. At School of Rock Chicago West, our beginner drum lessons for adults are built for musicians with little to no experience. We teach adults using the same core performance-based education philosophy as our drum lessons for kids—performing with a band accelerates the learning process. Adult students will perform live at a venue in Chicago. Unlike other Chicago drum lessons for beginners, School of Rock combines private drum lessons with weekly band rehearsals so students are ready to play in front of real, live audiences.

Key Concepts
  • RUDIMENTS
  • TIME SIGNATURES
  • TECHNIQUE
  • GROOVE

Intermediate to Advanced Drum Lessons

More experienced to advanced drum students need a drum lesson curriculum that builds upon foundational skills and continues to grow musical proficiency. That’s why at School of Rock Chicago West, our drum lessons are customized for each student and his or her goals. Our Chicago drum instructors integrate more complex techniques and concepts—intermediary grooves, shifts, meters and more—into a student's individual lessons and group band rehearsal, and will also select more difficult songs for his or her live performances.

 

Kid learns to sing at School of Rock Chicago

Singing Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Singing Lessons for Kids

School of Rock Chicago West offers beginner singing lessons for kids. Our unique, performance-based approach develops students' musical proficiency by preparing them to perform live. At School of Rock Chicago West, our vocal coaches are practicing musicians who integrate key music fundamentals—breathing, posture and more—into a curriculum based on performing with a band. Each week, beginner singing students participate in a private singing lesson and a band rehearsal.

Beginner Singing Lessons for Adults

School of Rock Chicago West teaches adults how to sing in our innovative Adult Program. Students develop vocal skills at a challenging pace designed to help you see results with every singing lesson. Adult vocalists learn how to keep tempo, stay on-key and master advanced vocal techniques for a powerful and healthy voice. Our curriculum teaches students how to sing by using popular rock songs that emphasize key concepts. Each week, Adult Program students have a private singing lesson for beginners and group band rehearsal.

Key Concepts
  • TECHNIQUE
  • HARMONY
  • POWER
  • READING

Intermediate to Advanced Singing Lessons

At School of Rock Chicago West, our singing lessons for kids and adults are designed to help our students reach a high degree of musical proficiency. Intermediate and advanced singers take skills learned from previous singing lessons and layer on more difficult techniques and concepts. Our advanced singing lessons teach students to sing by performing popular rock songs that illustrate a specific vocal concept or technique. We pair weekly private singing lessons with weekly band rehearsals with the goal of getting musicians to perform live in Chicago.

Kid learns to play bass at School of Rock Chicago

Bass Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Bass Lessons for Kids

School of Rock Chicago West offers beginner bass guitar lessons for kids that blend weekly private instruction with weekly band rehearsals. This performance-based approach results in a high level of musical proficiency because it engages and inspires students. Every School of Rock bass instructor is a practicing musician in Chicago and teaches bass lessons for kids that get great results. Beginners learn to play bass guitar by using popular rock songs that illustrate key concepts and techniques.

Beginner Bass Lessons for Adults

Adults looking to learn bass guitar can enroll in School of Rock’s Adult Program. No experience is necessary in our beginner bass guitar lessons for adults. At School of Rock Chicago West, our experienced, local bass guitar instructors have the patience and skills to help adult students gain musical proficiency. As with all School of Rock music programs, our bass guitar lessons for adults ciriculum is performance-based, and include both weekly private instruction and weekly band rehearsals.

Key Concepts
  • GROOVE
  • TECHNIQUE
  • THEORY
  • TONE

Intermediate to Advanced Bass Lessons

Our intermediate to advanced bass guitar lessons teach Chicago students the skills they need to become the backbone of a band. Students take skills from previous bass lessons and layer on more difficult techniques and concepts. At School of Rock Chicago West, our bass instructors use popular rock songs as a way of teaching students advanced concepts and techniques. We pair weekly private bass lessons with weekly band rehearsals to inspire and engage students throughout the learning process.

Kid learns to play piano at School of Rock Chicago

Keyboard Lessons for All Skill Levels

Beginner Keyboard Lessons for Kids

At School of Rock we teach differently than other music schools in Chicago. Our curriculum is performance-based, meaning that we prepare students to perform. Our piano lessons for beginners combine weekly private instruction with weekly band rehearsals. At School of Rock Chicago West, our beginner keyboard lessons for kids take key concepts and music fundamentals—finger placement, scales, key differentiation and more—and teach them through popular rock songs. This approach inspires and engages students, which results in attaining a high level of musical proficiency. Our piano teachers have years of experience teaching music in the Chicago area, and know how to coach and motivate students of any skill level to play the keyboard.

Beginner Keyboard Lessons for Adults

The School of Rock Chicago West Adult Program puts beginner keyboard students in a band. Adult Program students in the Chicago area learn to play piano through a combination of weekly private beginner piano lessons and weekly band rehearsals. At School of Rock, our piano lessons give adult students the chance to perform in a band at local Chicago music venues, taking them out of the classroom and onto the stage.

Key Concepts
  • TECHNIQUE
  • TONE
  • THEORY
  • READING

Intermediate to Advanced Keyboard Lessons

At School of Rock Chicago West, our keyboard lessons for kids and adults are designed to help students get results. Intermediate and advanced students take skills learned from beginner keyboard lessons and layer on more advanced piano techniques with concepts. Our local keyboard instructors are all practicing musicians in Chicago, and use popular rock songs as a way of teaching complex skills. We pair weekly private piano lessons with weekly band rehearsals to inspire and engage students throughout the learning process.

Our Experienced Music Teachers

All of School of Rock Chicago West’s music teachers are experienced musicians devoted to helping students attain musical proficiency. Our instructors guide students one-on-one to personalize learning, inspire confidence and build social skills.

Singing Teacher, piano Teacher
Maxx McGathey
Co-Music Director - Keyboards and Piano Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Maxx started piano lessons at the age of four (thanks to his mom), studying classical music until his teen years when he discovered rock n' roll. Rock led to blues, blues led to jazz, jazz led to funk and so on, giving Maxx a fascination with a wide array of musical traditions. As the leader, main composer and keyboardist for the band Gramps The Vamp, Maxx brings his eclectic interests together into a project which has headlined Chicago venues like Lincoln Hall and Metro, has toured the country from coast to coast, and has gained Best New Band recognitions from "The Chicago Reader" and "Deli-Mag Chicago." Maxx has also performed or recorded with the Chicago groups Secret Colours, Divino Niño and Maxx’s own Pip Pip. His festival appearances include SXSW, Austin Psych Fest and Ruido Fest, and his film composer credits include Demonoid (1971), a short horror film released in 2016. Maxx believes music is an adventure and wants to pass that excitement along to his students!
Joe Suikhonen
Co-Music Director - Guitar Teacher, Bass Teacher
Joe is a graduate of Oberlin College's Conservatory of Music and has taught private lessons in bass, guitar, drums and piano for students ages 9-25 for over three years. Joe has been writing, playing and performing his original rock music (and now jazz) for over two decades. He has played with Junior Ranger and more recently with Sarsaparilla on the east coast.
General Manager Abby Chafe
Abby Chafe
General Manager
Abby is psyched to be the General Manager of School of Rock Chicago West! She is an experienced manager of multi-unit fitness facilities offering classes and coaching with a strong record of growth. Abby holds a BA in Musical Theatre and Education and Coaching from Miami University of Ohio and has a background in theatre, music, and comedy performance. She is a two-time Kennedy Center American College Theatre Award nominee and has performance experience in all areas, on and off the stage. While managing a music school is a full-time gig, Abby is also a full-time professional actor and vocal artist and loves spending her time on stage whenever she can. Her door is ALWAYS open and she cannot wait to help more young musicians find their passion at School of Rock!
Singing Teacher Jennifer Malone
Jennifer Malone
Vocal Teacher
Jennifer joins School of Rock Chicago West as a veteran SoR Music Director, Instructor and Leader in Curriculum and Equity Initiatives. She is a 5-time SoR National AllStar Director and has served on content and innovation boards at the corporate level over her many years with the company. She is currently a part of the School of Rock REDI Initiative, working towards better accountability and curriculum design through the lens of Representation. Jennifer is a voice teacher who loves coaching students of all levels to perform at their personal best; through personalized training, biodynamics, and stagecraft. As a Director, Jennifer challenges players to step out of their comfort zones and develop the skills needed to be free and authentic on stage. Jennifer served as Oak Park’s Music Director and developed programming, show seasons, touring groups, and oversaw the artistic direction of the school. She also designed the SoR Corporate Team-Building program. She began her SoR career at School of Rock - Chicago, alongside Chicago-West MD, Anthony Rubino.

Jennifer is thrilled to be teaching and directing shows at Chi-West and Oak Park! She is the lead vocalist for 1976 and The Hedgehog and the Fox. Jennifer holds an M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin and a BFA in Acting from Kent State University. She lives in Oak Park with her husband, Aaron, and kids (Desmond, 10, and Callen Mary, 7). She is also active as Writer, Artist, and Theater Director.
Sheldon Kessel
Technical Director - Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboard and Drum Teacher
Sheldon began his musical life growing up in North Dakota with two piano-playing sisters who gave him his first lessons. He entered his school ‘s music program playing trombone, percussion, and singing in the choir. Later in high school he joined his first rock bands playing drums and singing. In college he majored in music where he studied classical and jazz guitar and piano while playing in far-too-many bands to count. After college he moved with his funk-rock band to Minneapolis where he began teaching at McNallySmith College of Music. He taught audio engineering, production, and composition there from 2004 until 2012 when he began teaching at Art Institutes –Chicago. He taught at Art Institutes - Chicago until the school closed in 2018. He has a Bachelor’s in Music Composition and a Master’s in Arts Research. He plays guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, electronics/computers, and blues harmonica. He was also a professional DJ for 20 years and owned a mobile DJ company. Outside of music, he is a personal trainer, health coach, and yoga instructor. He lives in Chicago with his wife and son.
Keyboard Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher, Drum Teacher Colin Kolasny
Colin Kolasny
Keyboard Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Vocal Teacher, Drum Teacher
Colin Kolasny is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter. While in high school at Jones College Prep in Chicago, he formed his band Corn on My Dinner Plate which has remained active until now and continues to make records and play gigs. The band has accrued over a million streams on streaming platforms like Spotify and played to sold out audiences at clubs in Chicago like Lincoln Hall. While in undergrad at St Olaf College in Minnesota, he spent six months studying Chinese language and ethnomusicology in Taipei, Taiwan. Colin loves working with students to realize their full potential as musicians and maximize their enjoyment of music.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher, Rookies Teacher Hadley Lange
Hadley Lange
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Vocal Teacher, Rookies Teacher
Hadley is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. They are a former School of Rock student and passionate about teaching and performing. Hadley teaches guitar, bass, and vocal lessons. They enjoy all genres of music and love to learn about music from around the world.
Andrew Baranowski
Drums Teacher
Andrew Baranowski’s life-long love affair with the big beat began over 30 years ago when his Uncle Tommy asked the magical question, “You wanna see my drums?” After that, everything else became secondary. His formative years followed the traditional path of the school music program while taking private drum lessons with local pros. This naturally grew to greater ambitions. For over 20 years, Andrew has applied that early training to perform and record non-stop with Chicago’s stalwarts of rock, I Love Rich. He also managed to find time to periodically gig with the London-based act Das Haus, and has recently been recruited by Hozac recording artist MAMA. Despite years of 2 am load-outs and carrying gear up endless flights of stairs, his passion for drumming only continues to grow. He finds great joy in helping the next generation realize their musical goals. His teaching philosophy encompasses three main points: building a strong technical foundation in which to draw from, playing a song versus playing the drums and understanding the drummer’s role in the greater context of any ensemble.
Drum Teacher Dylan Ryan
Dylan Ryan
Drum Teacher
Chicago-born drummer and composer Dylan Ryan began taking guitar lessons in 1985, but he lacked focus and soon switched to piano, and eventually the drums. Dylan's initial courtship of the instrument revolved largely around hours spent figuring out the drum parts of Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. After some lessons at nearby Northwestern University, Dylan started studying with some infamous figures from the Chicago jazz community, among them Paul Wertico, Gerry Coleman, and David Bloom. Balancing the assorted influence of British Heavy Metal, Avant-garde jazz, and 20th Century Classical have since come to define Dylan's style.

While studying literature and film at DePaul University, Dylan played in jazz combos everywhere from tiki bar cocktail parties to beer-soaked dives. It was during these years that he met the musicians who would eventually form Herculaneum, his longest-running project. Dylan soon began recording and touring with bands Orso, Icy Demons, and Michael Columbia, playing drums, vibraphone, and makeshift kits of his own design based on a combination of John “Drumbo” French’s Magic Band kit and traditional homemade instruments of 1930s jug bands. During this same period, Dylan became known in the vibrant, decades-old Free-Jazz communities, playing with New-Music luminaries Jason Stein, Josh Berman, Dave Rempis, and Fred Lonberg-Holm.

Dyland toured substantially after moving to Los Angeles in 2011, drumming throughout the next several years for Cursive and Rainbow Arabia. In 2012 he started an instrumental trio featuring Tim Young and Devin Hoff called Dylan Ryan SAND, and the group released two albums for Cuneiform Records. During the writing of the third album, Dylan added vocals to the increasingly heavy direction the songs were heading and changed the name to Ether Feather.

Dylan now resides in Chicago where, in addition to recording for TV and film, he performs and records with Man Man, Ether Feather, Marjorie Fair, Bronze, and Fatal Jamz.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher Colleen Kanowsky
Colleen Kanowsky
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Colleen Kanowsky first picked up a guitar at age 11 and graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2017 with a BA in music. Originally from California, she has performed with several bands in various venues throughout the Bay Area as well as Chicago. Colleen specializes in rock, metal, ambient and jazz, and likes to tell stories through dynamic instrumental music. She enjoys helping students discover their unique abilities so they can achieve their greatest potential as musicians.
Drum Teacher Jeff Fortin
Jeff Fortin
Drum Teacher
Jeff has been working as a freelance musician and private instructor in Chicago for twenty years. During this time, he has been hired to perform Jazz, Rock, R/B, and world music. As an instructor, he has maintained a studio of five to twenty students on a weekly basis. Jeff holds a bachelor of music degree from the University of Northern Colorado in percussion performance, and a master of music degree from DePaul University in Jazz studies.
Ukulele Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher Steven Gilpin
Steven Gilpin
Ukulele Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Steven Gilpin is thrilled to be part of the School of Rock Chicago West team and specializes in teaching guitar, ukulele, and vocals. He has been playing and performing from a young age and today performs around Chicago and the Midwest regularly. He also recently released two albums, "Syndrom" and "Torso - Hair of the Dog."

Steven is a native of Chicago and a graduate of Bard College. In his spare time, he enjoys walking dogs and is an avid music lover and movie buff. He is a guitar teacher and vocal instructor at School of Rock Chicago West.
Bass Guitar Teacher
Jeff Smith
Bass Guitar Teacher
As a third generation musician, Jeff Smith began his love for music at a very young age, starting drums in fourth grade. As a teenager he picked up the bass and spent all of his free time in his room learning to play songs from his favorite bands. Since then he has played in countless rock bands. He has since studied formally at Northeastern Illinois University and under Greg Sarchet of the Chicago Lyric Opera, deepening his musical understanding theoretically and practically. Although always a primal rocker at heart, as a bass player Jeff is fluent in many styles of music including rock, metal, funk, soul/r&b, jazz, classical and the sub-genres related to these styles. Jeff loves to teach students not only fundamental theories and concepts, but also how to really have fun playing! Jeff continues to perform all over Chicago in settings ranging from live rock performances, musical theatre, or his college jazz band and orchestra.
Drum Teacher Alex Klausner
Alex Klausner
Drum Teacher
Alex Klausner is a drummer from Gainesville, Florida, and best known for collaborating with Roger Lima from Less Than Jake in the punk band Rehasher.

From his beginnings playing in a touring classic rock cover band in Florida with his middle school classmates to performing at SXSW, sold-out shows at House of Blues Anaheim, and tours across Europe, Alex has gone coast-to-coast and then some as a performer. Alex has performance experience and expertise in pop, indie rock, classic rock, punk, metal, ska, electronic, reggae, blues, country, funk, hip-hop, and soul. He additionally spent a decade as the bandleader of The Savants of Soul, a theatrical 1960s-inspired retro soul collective he founded while studying print journalism at the University of Florida.

In 2022, Alex graduated with merit from Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom with a master's degree in Popular Music & Culture. He is also the founder and current director of Upbeat GNV, a nonprofit organization that helps musicians find affordable mental health treatment in his hometown of Gainesville.
Little Wing and Rookies Teacher Eli Huggins
Eli Huggins
Little Wing Teacher, Rookies Teacher
As an audio engineer and musician, Eli is passionate about all things sound. Starting at the age of 14 they spent five years playing guitar and bass at School of Rock St. Louis, and continued playing through college and on.

Eli moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College Chicago and graduated in 2021 with a BA in Audio Engineering. They now work at Columbia as the Audio Engineer for the Music Department.

After many years Eli has returned to the School of Rock family and teaches Little Wing and Rookies classes. They are passionate about creating a welcoming environment for everyone and hope to help kids have as wonderful an experience at School of Rock as they did.
Singing Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher Kyra Leigh
Kyra Leigh
Vocal Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
Kyra Leigh (she/her/hers) is active as a musician and performer in the Chicagoland area. Originally from Louisiana, she is passionate about trans visibility and inclusion in music and theatre. Kyra has music directed and/or composed and arranged for Kokandy Productions, Jedlicka PAC, Theatre of Western Springs, Prop Thtr, Chi Arts, and Music Theater Works (for their production of La Cage Aux Folles starring Ginger Minj).

Kyra taught and directed at the School of Rock in Lakeview, IL, for eight years. Her cabaret experience includes shows at Davenport’s, Trans Voices Cabaret - Chicago, Rhinofest, and Labyrinth Arts. She is an active church musician as a composer, section leader, and as-needed pianist/conductor at North Shore Baptist Church.

Kyra's past compositions include commissioned choral pieces for the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, and La Caccina (a professional women’s vocal ensemble); music for Chicago Fringe Opera’s Sounds of Pride Series; a series of art songs for acclaimed baritone, Ryan de Ryke; and most recently she was the Composer/Artist-in-Residence with Windy City Performing Arts. As an actor, recent credits include Miss Lynch in Grease at Drury Lane and Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense at Porchlight Theatre.
Charles Stevenson
Owner
Charles Stevenson first became obsessed with School of Rock when he was the parent of a guitar and vocals student at his local school. In his previous life he enjoyed many careers, from academics to digital design and advertising. He has been living in Chicago with his wife, Peggy, and their two (now grown) children since 1993. Today, he owns and operates School of Rock Chicago West with his long-time business partner, Ted Billups, plays rhythm guitar and vocals in the Adult Program, and keeps the Gig Rig running.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher Andrew Patinkin
Andrew Patinkin
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Andrew Patinkin is a guitarist, songwriter, and bandleader born and raised in Chicago. He first picked up the guitar at age 10 and has not stopped playing since. Andrew is a former School of Rock student and participated in the House Band while in high school. He embraced the opportunity to collaborate with fellow musicians and explore playing a wide range of music. In 2022, he joined the teaching staff at School of Rock Chicago West.

As a guitar instructor, Andrew shares his extensive knowledge and expertise with young musicians, inspiring them to reach new heights in their musical journey. His unwavering passion for music and the guitar sets him apart—and he imparts his love of learning on to his students. Beyond his teaching commitments, Andrew continues to push the boundaries of his own musical capabilities. He eagerly explores new techniques and genres, always seeking to expand his horizons and refine his craft. Andrew's musical influences span a wide range of genres, from classic rock to funk, blues, jazz fusion, and more.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Vocal Teacher Franky Reyes
Franky Reyes
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Franky Reyes is a multi-instrumentalist from Miami, FL. He has been playing the guitar as his main instrument for over 12 years, including a few years in the jazz guitar program at Florida International University. He lives and breathes everything music and loves playing everything from screamo with his bands Bloom Dream and Gravess to jazz and classical music.

Franky has toured the country from coast to coast, New York to Los Angeles, and everywhere in between. He relocated to Chicago for the next phase in his journey as a musician. He has a huge passion for learning and teaching and has taught guitar, bass, and vocals previously at a School of Rock in his hometown of Miami. Franky believes music is a profound form of self-expression unlike any other medium and that everyone deserves to share in the sense of community, expression, and happiness that learning music can bring about!
Vocal Teacher Hannah Rose Kramer
Hannah Rose Kramer
Vocal Teacher
Hannah Rose Kramer is a vocal teacher at School of Rock Chicago West. Originally from Central Florida, Hannah has traveled across the nation as a musical theatre and cabaret performer before moving to the Chicagoland area. She has been vocally instructing students with a wide array of ages and backgrounds since she was 18 years old.
School of Rock is where music and learning come together

For over twenty years, our amazing instructors have transformed hundreds of thousands of students across the world into skilled musicians. Become a musician at School of Rock.

Reviews

Kids learn safely here.

They are open, informative and action-oriented. We were able to get my son in and rolling right away. The email reminders are fantastic. It's a clean, well-organized space.

We love School of Rock!

The instructors are fantastic and the staff are one of a kind. I HIGHLY recommend your rock star kids join. Mine are in a summer camp and they're well-run and there is a show at the end of the week!

Where kids become skilled.

We love the range of instrument skills our children are learning. We also love the experience they gain playing with other musicians!

The staff are professional, fun, and genuinely great with the kids.

I love the staff and owner at Chicago West. They are professional, fun, and genuinely great with the kids. The teachers are knowledgeable. My daughter's self esteem and confidence around music has boosted through the peer band model and being around talented young people.

School of Rock has managed to create a beautiful community.

School of Rock Chicago West is a wonderfully creative, fun and safe place to send your teen. The staff is incredibly professional and kind. Not only do they know how to teach kids music but it’s apparent that they really like kids. They've managed to create a beautiful community.

Everyone feels at home here - free to be themselves and comfortable.

I love how warm and welcoming they are. Everyone feels at home, free to be themselves and comfortable. Programs are tailored for each person and everybody is happy to be there, invested in learning and teaching. If you have a child interested in music, rush there and get started!

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