Melissa is originally from Kansas City, Kansas, and has been a lover of music her entire life. She grew up playing the flute and piccolo in various school programs throughout grade school, high school, and her first year of undergraduate studies in college. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, Melissa decided to try her hand at playing bass guitar and was immediately hooked. She then went on to perform original music with multiple bands throughout the Kansas and Missouri area, but when she moved to Broward County she joined School of Rock to broaden her musical knowledge. Melissa joined School of Rock Fort Lauderdale in 2020 as the Studio Manager and Lessons Coordinator. There, with the help of tiny plastic ducks and toy dinosaurs, Melissa helps to keep the school, the instructors, the parents, and the students organized and sane. Melissa blinks one eye at a time.
Adam has been with the School of Rock since 2012 and has been performing music in South Florida since 1996. He received a Bachelor's degree in Arts and Humanities from Florida Atlantic University and has been teaching music locally since 2002. Adam is proficient in saxophone, piano, guitar, drums, and bass. He has taught and performed various styles of music including classical, jazz, blues, rock, punk, big band, R&B, folk, and alternative. As General Manager of the School of Rock Fort Lauderdale, he is also in charge of any and all day-to-day activities of the school including a very contagious spreading of awesomeness and fun on a regular basis!
Adam sleeps standing up.
Assistant Music Director, Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Show Director
Shane Graham has been a guitar player since 2004. Ever since then, Shane has been playing in original bands, cover bands, and tribute bands throughout South Florida. Being the founder of multiple original extreme heavy metal bands, Shane's current original band has earned him international recognition being signed by the European record label, Iron Oxide. Shane is primarily self-taught and has played multiple niche styles within the genres of Rock and Heavy Metal for two decades. Over the past decade, Shane has also become proficient as a drummer and bass player. Shane’s favorite guitar players are Steve Vai, Jake E. Lee, and George Lynch.
Shane has not sneezed since 2007.
Keyboard + Piano Teacher
John Boiko is a piano and keyboard instructor at School of Rock Fort Lauderdale. He has been performing and teaching piano in the South Florida area since 1988. After receiving a BA in Music Education from Jersey City State College, he relocated to Fort Lauderdale where he continued his music studies and received an MA in Music from Florida Atlantic University. A highlight of John’s musical journey has been sharing his knowledge and passion for music with his students. His diverse experience in classical, jazz, blues, rock, and contemporary styles give him a unique perspective on helping his students of all ages unlock their musical potential. John currently performs regularly in a variety of venues across South Florida.
John's social security number is: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, "B", "A" select start.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher, Show Director
Denver Cooper hails from Detroit, Michigan, and after two minutes with him, you quickly understand that he couldn't have emerged from anywhere else other than the legendary Rock City. Luckily for the School of Rock in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Denver currently calls South Florida home. Denver has played with artists like Lizzy Borden and Saving Abel. He currently divides his time between iconic keyboardist/vocalist Nick Z Marino (Yngwie Malmsteen, Generation Axe, NZM) and as a solo artist under his own name.
Denver is proficient in guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals. For Denver, playing music is a necessity, not a luxury. As a result, you will not find a more passionate, dedicated, and capable musician or instructor. After dedicating years to honing his craft through some European and North American tours, Denver is hungry and more than willing to share his musical knowledge with anyone who wants to learn, regardless of age or skill level.
Please DO NOT feed Denver after midnight!
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher, Show Director
Daniel Vargas is a multi-instrumentalist with over two decades of experience as a performer, a teacher, and a session musician. While Daniel's primary instrument is the guitar, he also has an extensive background in piano, bass, ukulele, voice, ear training, and music theory. In 1999, he began playing piano through his formal training in classical music. This allowed him to start building a solid base in music for years to come. By 2004 Daniel's brother gifted him with his first guitar. From that day forward, Daniel would use that guitar as a vehicle to explore everything from Blues to Classic and Hard Rock, Grunge, Funk, and R&B.
For the following eight years, he was mentored by multiple teachers in South Florida, namely Jazz guitarists Leo Quintero and Danny Hayoun as well as Rock guitarist Michael Jacques. In 2012, Daniel attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Since his graduation from Berklee, Daniel has worked as a session musician, played with several cover bands, and taught countless students all over the tri-county area of Miami-Dade, Broward, and West Palm Beach.
Daniel's blood type is all of them.
School of Rock Fort Lauderdale is happy to have Jay Drake as one of our exceptional drum instructors. Jay is a freelance drummer with over 50 years of playing and teaching experience. He attended the University of North Florida School of Music and has studied privately with numerous high-profile teachers in New York City. Jay has extensive experience in studio engineering and production. Jay has dedicated his life to the pursuit of music; he has an unparalleled passion for sharing his love and knowledge of music with others.
Jay has an irrational fear of empty aluminum cans and the noises that they produce.
Show Director, Drum Teacher
George has been a passionate drum set player since 2001 and grew up playing music in Tampa Bay, Florida. Once he chose to become a professional musician, George began to expand his playing and dug deeper into the pursuit of mastery—which he continues today. George is versed in most styles of Western music such as jazz, blues, funk, and rock, as well as Afro-Cuban, Baltic rhythms, and other world rhythms. His experiences include diverse performances in theaters, churches, clubs, and studios.
George also continues to study under private instructors, which he believes is essential for any level of musician. His personal focus as a drummer is on the fundamentals of timekeeping and the role of a supporting musician in a band setting. George had the opportunity to share his knowledge of drum set methods and mechanics with his first students in 2016. It was then that he found a new passion for teaching drums. Empowering drummers to find their voice of self-expression from his teachings of both theoretical and practical approaches to the drum set has since become a significant aspect of George’s life and career as a musician.
George eats only jelly beans on the 4th and 20th of every month.
Keyboard + Piano Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Yoel DeJesus has been teaching piano since 2000. He teaches all levels of contemporary, classical, jazz, improvisation, music theory, and popular music. Yoel is also an experienced instructor in vocal coaching, music composition, artist development, and music software and production. He has studied at the Hochstein School of Music in Rochester, New York, and is part of the Alumni of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Yoel has worked in the Los Angeles area as a professional musician and as an educator and is now happy to continue his musical journey here at the School of Rock in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
Yoel makes his own catsup.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher, Show Director
Ted O’Connell is a guitarist, bassist, and singer with extensive practical experience in engineering and production. He has been passionate about music for as long as he can remember, with dreams of starting a band when the recorder was the only instrument he could play. Though Ted took guitar lessons for a few months at a young age, it wasn’t until 2011 that he began learning the guitar more seriously. While he was in high school, Ted began writing and recording his own original music, which would eventually grow to become his band: The Supplements.
Ted studied music at Nova Southeastern for a year before leaving to study production at Berklee College of Music. After a few semesters, he left school to pursue his musical endeavors more directly. In late 2017, Ted began teaching private guitar and piano lessons from his home, which he did until March 2020. In 2021, Ted began recording and mixing music for local musicians out of his home studio where he had been engineering his own band’s recordings for a few years prior.
Professionally, Ted has had extensive experience working with South Florida's youth as a summer camp counselor and program coordinator since 2015. Along with the band The Supplements, Ted writes and records with a few other original bands ranging in genres from pop (The Curfew) to electronic (Missing Parts).
Ted currently holds the world speed record for running the 40-yard dash...backwards.
Vocal Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
Emily Barnes began her musical journey as a Rock 101 student at School of Rock West Broward back in 2014! She worked her way up to the House Band and completed two national tours with her group during her time as a student. Emily is a multi-instrumentalist and teaches vocals, keyboard, and bass guitar.
Emily was a long-time student of Deja Monteagudo and Chris Bromley during her time as a School of Rock student. She continues to thrive at the School of Rock Fort Lauderdale as an instructor, willingly sharing her passion and knowledge of music with anyone who walks through our doors.
Emily bowls overhand.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
Anthony Alfano started his musical education in Queens, NY playing the alto saxophone in elementary school. It was fitting that he would then move on to the trumpet while attending Louis Armstrong Middle School. By the time he reached high school, Anthony found his true calling playing the guitar. He learned a few chords and riffs from friends, but then Anthony moved to West Palm Beach, FL at the age of 15, where he found himself isolated for the summer. He spent hours learning his favorite songs by ear. All of these experiences have shaped his belief that musicians should have a strong foundation in not only notation and theory but also ear training in order to be a complete musician.
Anthony is proficient in playing the guitar, bass, mandolin, ukulele, keys, drums, and vocals. He also has experience teaching choir and instrumental ensembles and directing musicals. His tastes are as eclectic as his playing is versatile. He currently plays with the Iron Maiden tribute Maiden Steel, the local multi-era cover band How Original, and the Red Rocket Big Band.
Anthony's middle name is Anthony.
Isaiah joined the School of Rock Fort Lauderdale team in February of 2023 and the school is all the better for it! Isaiah's love of music, his wit, and his sense of humor make him a perfect fit for the school.
Isaiah steers the ship. He manages ALL of the school's scheduling duties and rules the lobby with an iron fist! And, of course, love. (But mostly fist.) Isaiah is a crucial member of the team and his presence ensures that the school runs like the well-oiled machine that it is! Pity all schools that don't have an Isaiah.
Isaiah has had a passion for music since he was young and enjoys participating in the Grad School program at School of Rock. His first-ever live performance was with the school's Grad School program back in February of '23. Since then his passion for music has only grown.
Isaiah’s vision is based on movement and he only sees in infrared.
Drum Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Born in Lima, Peru, Augusto’s music journey started with some bootleg mix tape trading in elementary school. It was a luxury to get music in your hands in that corner of the world at the time, so it wasn’t unusual to get into an Iron Maiden song, after a Phil Collins track, followed by Radiohead, and then Offspring. Extremely eclectic cuts. Looking back, that diversity really molded Augusto’s music taste for years to come.
After much pleading and begging, Augusto's parents finally gave in and got him his first drum set at the age of 11. A year after moving to Miami, he felt a calling to take things to the next level; a short time later Augusto would take up the bass guitar. By the age of 18, Augusto was able to throw himself completely into music, fully focusing on recording and touring. During this time he would also develop a love for music production. It was this newfound love of music production that took Augusto back to Peru to attend the Orson Welles Institute for Audio Engineering. There, he was able to learn the ins and outs of consoles, digital audio workstations, music theory, and much more.
A few years later, Augusto would find himself in California. LA was home for the next 15 years where he would find himself in countless bands, numerous record deals, studio sessions, engineering gigs, and shows. Now, back in South Florida, Augusto continues to carry that undying passion for all music while passing the torch to the next generations to come.