Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Ryan began playing guitar at age 13 after seeing the movie "La Bamba" about rock legend Ritchie Valens. He studied with Grammy-nominated guitarist Steve Briody for several years before starting his own projects and soon became an instructor himself. While still in New York, his band Code Anchor independently released several EPs and one full-length album, "Rosada," while touring extensively nationwide from 2005-2009. A co-writer in the band, Ryan also played lead and rhythm guitar while singing lead and backup vocals. Memorable stages include the Vans Warped Tour at Nassau Coliseum and headlining bills at some of New York City's greatest venues like CBGBs and The Knitting Factory. It was during this time that Ryan began teaching at School of Rock in Melville, NY. Hungry to pursue new musical ventures, Ryan departed from Code Anchor and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. Since then, he's been busy writing, producing and performing with his newest project, Lou Pine. As a Sony/ATV artist, Lou Pine’s music has been featured on television shows like “Chicago Fire,” “Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word,” and “Food Paradise." Ryan enjoys playing every genre including jazz, funk, country and folk, but credits the blues and rock n' roll as his main influences.
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, but raised in Dallas, Texas, Justin has been a music enthusiast since elementary school. Inspired by his cousin's ability to riff on a Les Paul as a kid, Justin finally picked up the guitar at 13. Initially a rocker, his thirst for a deeper understanding of the inner workings of guitar and music led him to a more diverse repertoire and a greater knowledge of music theory.
Justin took advantage of the immense blues, jazz, country, and R&B culture that Texas had to offer and broadened his influences and musical understanding, quickly becoming an old soul in a young body. This led to performing and recording with artists such as Nokie Edwards of the Ventures, Dave Bartholomew (songwriter for Fats Domino), hip-hop legend the D.O.C., and Texas country legends The Light Crust Doughboys, which eventually led to a Grammy nomination in Southern Gospel.
After graduating from the University of North Texas in 2007 and feeling the limitations of Texas, Justin relocated to Los Angeles in 2010. Justin began teaching at School of Rock West LA in 2011. He was promoted to Music Director in 2014 and then promoted again to General Manager in 2018. Justin is dedicated to enriching lives through performance-based music education.
Music Director, Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Travis Simpson started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old and never looked back. What started out as an interest in music quickly grew into an obsession for all things sound. After graduating high school, he studied Audio Engineering at the Musicians Institute. Starting out doing stage and audio work for venues around LA like The Saban and Canyon Club, he then found himself working in audio post-production. However, it didn’t take long to find himself returning to his first love, music, when he started as a guitar teacher and bass guitar teacher at School of Rock South Bay. Now Travis, whose life has been shaped so much by music, is focused on giving back by helping develop the next wave of young musicians.
Assistant General Manager
Drew Dvorsky is a composer, producer, multi-disciplinary instrumentalist, session musician, and songwriter. He was born and raised on the westside of Los Angeles. Drew's obsession with music started with regular guitar lessons when he was 8 years old and has grown into learning every part of the recording process from engineering to writing all the way to mixing and mastering. Drew has gotten his music on dozens of major TV shows, and he has worked with industry giants in the studio and on the stage.
Music has been a gift for Drew, going beyond a career—it is the way he deals with his emotions, how he connects with the world around him, how he makes friends, and how he navigates through life. And his spark only continues to grow. Drew is a lifelong student of the craft, continuing to collaborate with amazing artists, learn, perform, and teach as much as he can. Spreading love through music is his mission, and he is honored and proud to be part of the School of Rock team.
Patrick Salmon is originally from Brick, New Jersey, where he started playing the drums at age 12 and by 15 was playing at music venues and nightclubs on the Jersey shore. Shortly after, he moved to Hollywood, California to attend Musicians Institute. During his time at MI he studied under multiple world-class drummers and many other musicians. During his time with Tomorrow's Bad Seeds he completed many national and international tours, sharing the stage with multiple bands such as The Wailers, 311, Pepper, Slightly Stoopid, Pennywise, Rise Against, The Smashing Pumpkins and The Dirty Heads just to name a few. When the band was not touring they also achieved some notable feats, like making their national television debut on the late night show “The Craig Ferguson Show.” On the studio end of things, while with Bads Seeds, Patrick worked with Grammy award-winning producer Damon Elliot (Pink) and engineer/producer Josh “Igloo” Montgomery, who is known for making all of Ludacris’s tracks.
During a short hiatus from Bad Seeds he got the chance to perform and record with the band Four Minutes Till Midnight. After recording with world-renowned producer Hiroto Kobayashi (Earth, Wind and Fire) and legendary percussionist Lenny Castro, he completed a four-week full national tour of Japan. Patrick manages a busy schedule teaching as a drum teacher at School of Rock South Bay LA, and performing and recording still with Tomorrow's Bad Seeds. He also works with Bret Bollinger, the front man of Pepper, which has given him a great network of studio musician to work with.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
For Chad, music has been a lifelong journey. Since Chad was 12 years old, he has been playing in bands and writing music that runs the gamut from hardcore punk to progressive rock. In 2016, Chad completed his Bachelor of Arts in Music Composition and Performance at The Evergreen State College. Upon returning home to Southern California, he joined the alternative rock band, Modern Color. Over the past four years Modern Color has released 2 LPs via Other People Records and completed numerous tours in North America, Europe and Japan. Alongside his music career, Chad has pursued his passion for teaching by conducting virtual guitar lessons and tutoring high school and middle school students in various disciplines including math and science. Chad's goal as a teacher is to nurture creativity and inspire young musicians to play the type of music that they want to hear
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Darvin Aguilar was born and raised in Hollywood, CA. He began playing bass guitar at sixteen. After graduating high school, he played in a variety of bands ranging from Death Metal to Progressive Metal. He played dozens of shows throughout that time including stints at The Whisky A Go-Go, and The Cobalt Café. He then decided to pursue a music degree at El Camino College in Torrance, CA. There, he began his musical journey into the jazz and classical world picking up the double bass as his main instrument. This led him to expand his horizons, playing in Jazz combos, Jazz Big Bands, Latin and Salsa groups, String Quartets, and even performing as a Principal Bassist in an Orchestra. He has performed at many other venues in Los Angeles including, The Lighthouse Café, The Study, The World Stage, The Grand Annex, Lido’s and many more. He is now completing his Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance with an emphasis on Jazz Bass at CSUN.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
With over 18 years of experience, Stephen has spent much of his time playing guitar with local musicians and has studied under many experienced instructors. From Rock and Metal to Jazz and Classical, Stephen has an extensive knowledge of music theory and knows how to apply it to each genre to achieve the sound you may be looking for. Stephen teaches primarily electric guitar/bass, is great with beginners, and is ready to take anyone’s playing to the next level.
Keyboard Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Music producer, songwriter, and vocal coach, Zulheyk was born and raised in LA. She was first introduced to music by her parents whose occupations were both in the entertainment industry. Zulheyk had her studio debut at the age of 5, covering background vocals for one of her dad's album tracks. Eventually, she began performing in musical theater where she developed her talent for singing, dancing, and acting. Before releasing her first single, Zulheyk received her degree in music production from the Los Angeles Film School in 2020.
Her main influences are female vocalists with powerful voices like Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and Amy Winehouse. After graduating, she worked as an afterschool program director where she provided music and sound effects for all the special events that she planned for her students. When working in education, Zulheyk discovered a need to be more of a mentor and decided to begin teaching youth about music. She became a music instructor and began teaching at a small studio in Long Beach and helped set up student showcases after months of private lesson rehearsals. There she was able to work alongside other musicians which allowed her to expand her knowledge of music theory into multiple genres. Her favorite genre is a mix of R&B and soul with a hint of modern jazz. Zulheyk is also inspired by French producer FKJ, and plays piano and guitar, and sings in different languages.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
Nash Montano started playing guitar in high school after listening to “B.B. King Live at Cook County Jail.” After joining his high school jazz band, Nash quickly decided that playing music was what he wanted to do forever. A year after playing guitar he began playing in one of the top 5 musicals in Los Angeles in collaboration with the famed improv sketch comedy group, Second City. Nash then received scholarships to attend El Camino College where he studied Jazz Performance and received lessons from Matthew Greif of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Nash now plays all over Southern California in original bands and as a hired musician at venues like the Whisky A GoGo, House of Blues, and Chain Reaction.
Adam Halitzka has 30 years of experience on the drum kit. His musical journey began when he started lessons at the age of 15 in the 90s rock scene of Cleveland, Ohio. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2007 to pursue his degree in Music, Adam attended the Musicians Institute (M.I.), and he graduated with an Associate of Arts in Music Performance. During his time at M.I., Adam studied with Sammy J. Watson, Chuck Silverman, and other legendary drummers.
Adam began playing in Musical Theater in the LA area after attending M.I. where he played onstage in Altar Boyz, The Next Fairy Tale, and I Love Lucy Live on Stage for their Los Angeles runs. Adam also launched the national tour of Lucy Live.
As a seasoned artist, Adam has experience in rock, metal, and funk bands, as well as record producing, drum programming, recording, musical theater, and touring. Adam keeps busy between working, teaching at School of Rock Southbay LA, and recording and producing in his home studio.
Ed Yeo has been playing guitar since he was a teenager when he first heard Clapton, Page, and Beck. Ed spent his early years figuring out classic rock guitar lines from listening to LP records. About 10 years later, his former father-in-law taught him music theory and set him up with lessons with his friend, swing jazz guitarist George Allen. Ed later took bebop jazz and classical guitar lessons with Rob Curtis, which is when he decided he needed a more modern jazz guitar approach. Since then he has been building his repertoire, working on left and right hand techniques and integrating said jazz and classical techniques into rock music to aid his guitar students. Ed started teaching about 15 years ago at two local music stores and has previously taught guitar and directed shows at School of Rock Chicago. He now teaches at School of Rock Venice and School of Rock West LA and is a guitar teacher.
Guitar Instructor, Bass Instructor, Vocal Instructor
Matthew Rivas is a singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and freelance/session bassist. Matthew is all music and has always played music. He has studied both classical and jazz-level music theory for over a decade. His earliest memories are of him playing guitar and singing. Matthew started playing guitar when he was 5 years old but at age 10 he found that the bass was his most beloved instrument and spent the majority of his musical education studying bass.
Throughout middle and high school, Matthew joined every orchestra, jazz band/combo, musical, and choir. During his time in high school, Matthew formed and created multiple bands ranging from jazz to pop to heavy metal. Matthew’s main project in high school was a classic heavy metal band called Devil’s Knights who got the opportunity to perform at many venues and concerts including the charity event, Strange 80’s 3D.
As well as creating and performing with multiple bands in high school, Matthew also attended the Musicians Institute for a 5-Week express program to further his education in music performance. After high school, he went on to attend LBCC and Cypress College for his Music AA and worked as both a freelance musician and an audio-visual technician.
When Matthew isn’t teaching you can find him performing in various bands still as a freelance bassist or with his multiple bands Matt Rivas, Kovalent, and The Sence.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
A.J. Bartholomew was born and raised in Manhattan Beach, CA. He began playing guitar at 11 years old. After studying at the Musicians Institute for a year, he began touring in 2007 on the Vans Warped Tour and has been touring nationally and internationally ever since.
In between touring and gigging full-time A.J. has been teaching guitar privately for over two decades. He briefly taught as a sub at School of Rock back in 2014 and is excited to be back!
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher, Drum Teacher
Andrew is a multi-instrumentalist born and raised in Los Angeles. Primarily a guitarist, Andrew graduated from Princeton’s music department in 2020 and has been rocking in LA since as a session player and gun for hire.
Andrew has played all across Southern California and Las Vegas and he has toured the East Coast. With extensive experience teaching students of all ages, Andrew is excited to work with you at School of Rock South Bay LA!
Drummer Mckenna Reeve (she/her) is a versatile performer in many styles of instruments including drumset, vibraphone, and world percussion hailing from Fresno, California. She received her bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies in 2020 and her master's degree in Jazz Composition in 2022, both from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
Mckenna's debut album (Lavender Skies and Golden Plains) was released in May of 2022 and can be found on Bandcamp, Spotify, and wherever else you find music. The album features original jazz compositions. Mckenna can be heard on Benjamin Boone’s Caught in the Rhythm (2023), No Hands Brass Band’s EP Off the Curb (2021), Julie Koenig’s Renaissance Woman (2021), Chloe Resler’s Amazilia (2019), and live with a variety of projects. Mckenna can be found teaching, writing, and performing in the Southern California area, where she currently resides.
Vocal Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
Amanda grew up in Los Angeles, California. She has been singing since the young age of 3 and started playing piano at age 10 to accompany herself and her songwriting.
Throughout her life, she has been a part of a multitude of different music groups spanning many genres. In addition to having experience in multiple bands and choirs, Amanda has years of performing experience in both group and solo acts.
Amanda graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2022 with degrees in both Psychology and Music. Since graduating, she has been focusing on recording and producing her first album.