Jason Fein has had every role possible within School of Rock. He was initially hired on as a Vocal instructor/show director. Later he became a music Director and GM before leaving to open his own. Jason also practices what he preaches. His Punk Rock Band, The Run Around, has toured The States many times over. At one point he was on the road 150-200 days per year. They have had multiple Record deals and have shared the stage with some of the most iconic Punk bands in history (Descendents, Rancid, Green Day to name a few). All of this while going to college on a vocal scholarship and finishing his degree in music business. These days The Run Around still tours here and there but he stays busy with owning 3 extremely successful School of Rock locations in the Chicago area (4 with the addition of Knoxville) and a young family at home (Wife: Coleen, Son: Lennon(5), Daughter: Kona(1)). Jason is excited to help take SOR Knoxville to the next level!
Owner, General Manager
Kelsey became a student at School of Rock in Plainfield IL when she was 14 years old studying voice under owner, vocal instructor and show director, Jason Fein. She quickly fell in love with creating, practicing, and performing music. She was a member of the School of Rock Performance Program and House Band for four years until she graduated in 2017. In high school, Kelsey was co-founder of pop-punk group California Killers where she wrote, sang lead vocals, and played guitar. Shortly after graduation, she began working for Jason and alongside Owen at the School of Rock location in Geneva, IL as a studio coordinator, Vocal Instructor and Show Director while attending Waubonsee Community College. During this time, Kelsey and Owen performed many gigs at bars, restaurants, and events in the Chicagoland area as both as a duo. After completing her associates degree, Kelsey said goodbye to her School of Rock Geneva family and moved to Nashville to pursue songwriting and a career in the music business. During her time at Belmont, she found herself back at School of Rock and realized that her real passion was for the families, friends and mission of the School of Rock community. Kelsey is beyond excited to work alongside her music partner Owen and her mentor Jason to embark on this new journey with School of Rock Knoxville.
Owner, Music Director
Owen Szorc graduated from Elmhurst College with a degree in guitar performance in both classical and jazz and a degree in music business. He started as an instructor and show director at the School of Rock location in Geneva, IL, and during his time there, Owen widely contributed to the culture of the students and School of Rock community through strong and organized leadership along with his signature ability to connect with students of all ages and skill levels.
Over time, Owen earned the role of Music Director and seasonally directed up to five performance groups including House Band, adult groups, and performance groups. Outside School of Rock, Owen has performed in many ensembles, including various rock bands, jazz, country, wedding bands, classical guitar, and solo performances over time. Owen has many years of experience in teaching private lessons of all levels and all genres, with many of his students finding success in their own groups and moving on to top collegiate-level programs. Owen is extremely excited to now work at School of Rock Knoxville. He can’t wait to meet you all!
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Charles' love for music first began in 1993 when he started playing bass, which led him to a deeper understanding and love of all things music. He has performed live and recorded with a variety of bands, spanning styles such as classic rock, modern rock, jazz, funk, country, folk, pop, jam band, rockabilly, punk, metal, oldies, R&B, soul and blues. Charles enjoys sharing the knowledge he has gained over the years as a musician and looks forward to helping develop the next generation.
Dustin Hurt is from a small farming community in central Illinois. His love of music began in fourth grade when he began playing trumpet in his school's concert band. Around the time he was 12, he picked up the guitar after hearing the sounds of Green Day and never looked back. Dustin has played in several bands and has experience as a musician, performing and recording jazz, classical, classic rock, heavy metal, punk rock, Christian rock and everything in between. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Knoxville.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Eric Cutshall brings to School of Rock Knoxville nearly 40 years of musical experience, including over 30 years as a teacher. Eric has a certificate from the Musicians Institute of Hollywood, and is the author of several music publications available through Amazon and other outlets. In additional to bass, Eric has studied and is fluent in guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro, and lap steel guitar. He is a guitar teacher, bass guitar teacher and ukelele teacher.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Brian has a solid history as a performing musician in Knoxville starting with Bad Weather Blues in the mid 1990’s which was a solid house band for Baker/Peters and other venues in Knoxville. Brian has also played with The Royal Hounds (local rockabilly band) and is an accredited guitar teacher with 20+ years teaching experience in the Knoxville/Oak Ridge area. He is completely obsessed with everything Jimi Hendrix, and he is an avid Led Zeppelin vinyl collector! The rock/blues band Brian founded, AlienLoveCharm, is active in Knoxville, and he is also lead guitarist of Soul Finger, a funk band which plays throughout East Tennessee.
Keyboard Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Michael Peng is a professional performer and educator who was born in Oakridge and has known the Knoxville area his entire life. Michael started learning piano when he was 9 years old, and started singing when he was 12. Since then, he's joined a variety of professional choirs, musicals, and operas in shows such as Into the Woods, Carmen, and the local Forbidden Knoxville. These opportunities included travel abroad to perform, and Michael has studied and performed in Brazil and Hungary as part of his music career. Most recently, he has returned from China, where he performed and taught music both one on one and at an international school. Michael has a Bachelors in Vocal Performance and a Masters in Music Education from UTK. He has 9 years of experience teaching music lessons both one and one and to groups. Michael currently works as an elementary music teacher as well as a voice and keys instructor at School of Rock Knoxville.
Guitar Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Michael Jones has performed in the Knoxville music scene since he was a kid. He started by teaching himself to play guitar and bass from online video tutorials and song tablature. He then began singing and performing in church, in a cover band, and in his local talent show, which inspired him to pick up marching band and, eventually, a degree in contemporary music from Bryan College. He has since performed alongside musicians such as Abe Partridge, Kirk Fleta, Luke McQueary, and Jordan Foster. He currently performs in and around Knoxville solo and as a guitarist, bassist, and backup vocalist in a variety of contexts. He also writes songs for his current project, Lazarus Lake, as well as for collaborative projects with his friends.
Bass Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher
Josh Rudes specializes in upright and electric bass. Josh graduated cum laude with a Jazz Studies degree from the University of North Texas and has been playing bass for about 12 years, with experience gigging and teaching all across the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Josh has taught for 4 years now and is able to teach technique, theory and any genre his students want to learn! His main experience is in rock, jazz and pop, but he plays all styles from Latin and classical to country. Favorite musicians include Charlie Puth, Christian McBride, WatchHouse, Julian Lage and Madison Cunningham.
Singing Teacher, Piano Teacher
Lydia Barbour discovered her love of all things music at the age of fifteen when she started busking in downtown Knoxville with her clarinet and keyboard. This quickly developed into a passion for performance; catapulting her into a rush of open mic nights, jam sessions, and four years of music classes at the University of the Cumberlands. Growing just as emphatically as her musical knowledge, was a deep enthusiasm for teaching private piano and vocal lessons, conducting her church choir, and most importantly helping her music community thrive. Lydia has performed and recorded keys and vocals in multiple genres; rock, jazz, pop, and folk being her personal favorites. Lydia is excited and honored to teach piano and singing at School of Rock Knoxville.
Aspen's love for the drums has been with them for as long as they can remember.. They got their start drumming along to Aerosmith and Queen on the back of the front seat of their parents' station wagon. At age 11 they began to play at church, and soon after started middle school concert band and high school marching band as a percussionist. They stayed involved with school and church band throughout their grade school career. In the following decade they went on to play drums and other instruments in a variety of projects and genres, including but not limited to: hardcore punk, pop punk, folk punk, psychedelic rock and indie rock projects. During the year 2020 they continued their education at Roane State Community College, earning their Associate's of Fine Arts with a focus on Music, with the intention to continue to work towards a Bachelor's of Science in Music Education. Aspen hopes to become a band director at the middle school or high school level some day, and for now enjoys teaching drums and coaching Rock 101 as an invaluable and rewarding experience.
After spending the last decade professionally drumming deep in central Texas, Dakota brings many avenues of expertise to the teaching staff. He draws upon various styles such as jazz, blues, country, and funk all the way to heavy metal, hip hop, and soul. Dakota has played just about every role in the musical process from bandmate, bandleader, songwriter, and engineer to producer and more recently, teacher. Hoping to change the world one student at a time, he aspires to show each student to tap into the infinite source of inspiration and creative energy that lies within them to learn and grow. Always looking ahead, he can’t wait to see what each student, each group, and the school at large is capable of achieving!
Braden Jones is a Tennessee-based musician with a passion for drums and the fire to share his songs with the world. Originating from Memphis, Tennessee, Braden is currently studying Studio Music and Jazz along with Music Composition at the University of Tennessee, where he was awarded a wide variety of musical scholarships. Furthermore, he has continued his personal private instruction since he was 17 years old and has acquired students of all backgrounds throughout his teaching career. He has been able to play with a myriad of talented artists and an assortment of genres ranging from jazz, indie, and classic rock and roll, contemporary avant-garde music, funk, Afro-Cuban, and electronic music.
Most recently, Braden has been hard at work honing his sound as a live performer, manning the rhythm section of his Indie-Rock group Okay Karma, and playing Jazz with The Harbingers. Performing through the Jazz music program at the University of Tennessee, Braden has played with artists like Gregory Tardy, Jon Hamar, Jack Roben, Eric Reed, Taber Gable, Sam Adams, Rob Linton, Bernell Jones, and Margherita Fava. He has also performed with the classic blues-rock band Vagabond Brew and country star Jason Lee Wilson.
Braden is also a member of the University of Tennessee Jazz Orchestra. His influences shine in his work, including drummers like Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones, Taylor Hawkins, Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, and many others. He is influenced by bands including the Foo Fighters, the Eagles, James Brown and the JBs, Sly and the Family Stone, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Miles Davis Quintet, and the Jazz Messengers. Braden has also been an instructor at the Memphis Jazz Workshop and the Knoxville Jazz Workshop.
Natalie Jones grew up in Knoxville, TN, and is one of 11 children. She has a background in administration and some technical background as well as a test technician on desktop and laptop computers and helped with the IT department at a previous company. A mentor to middle school children for three years through YOKE (Youth Of Knoxville Evangelism) ministries, Natalie has a passion to help young people develop their dreams and encouraging them to pursue those goals. Growing up in an artistically inclined family, she sang in the church choir and was a dancer for fifteen years. Her love of music has always helped her through hard times in her life. Natalie is a wife to a loving husband, and a mother to a rambunctious five-year-old boy, with another on the way.
Singing Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Sophie McCosh is a recent graduate of Lee University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music. Growing up in a musical family, her love of music began when she started piano lessons at seven years old. From there, Sophie taught herself how to play several different instruments, but especially focused on the piano, guitar, and voice. In middle and high school, she was in choir and band, participated in several musicals, and took dance lessons. Sophie began giving piano and guitar lessons at age 15, and has been an active member of the worship team at The Fellowship Church in Sweetwater, TN singing, playing the piano, acoustic and bass guitar since 2013.
During her time at Lee, Sophie was a member of the Lee University Singers where she was given the opportunity to be able to sing in a recording and music video with Jordan Smith, season 9 winner of The Voice, and participate in the REVERE Project by Integrity Music, which featured renowned Contemporary Christian artists like Darlene Zscech and Leeland. She is currently on staff at E.K. Baker Elementary School where she teaches art and music. Although she has lived in many different places, Sophie calls Sweetwater, TN her home where she resides with her son, River. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, baking, binge-watching Netflix, shopping, and listening to Taylor Swift.
Michael is originally from Key Biscayne, Florida, where he started teaching private drum lessons as a side job while in college. He earned a bachelor's degree in Audio Production in 2016 from Miami International University of Art & Design. After moving to Tennessee in 2020, Michael began collaborating with music schools in Knox County to broaden his horizons and reach more students wanting to learn how to play music. He has taught music lessons, played live shows, recorded music, and interned as an audio engineer for post-production for film and television.
Michael's number one influence will always be My Chemical Romance (he has seen them perform live at nine different shows between 2005 to 2022). Other music artists that he loves are Pink Floyd, Circa Survive, Misfits, Muse, The Devil Wears Prada, The Doors, Smashing Pumpkins, and Led Zeppelin. Michael is a believer that music is something that human beings have created, shared, and enjoyed since ancient times and is excited to share his love for drumming with his students at School of Rock!