Ryan Schiff District Manager
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.
Evan Kolesar General Manager
Evan Kolesar is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer from Torrance, CA who has worked at School of Rock West LA and School of Rock Venice since August 2016 as a beloved instructor, show director and administrator. Picking up the guitar at age seven and touring by age 15, he quickly learned music was his true passion in life. After graduating at the top of his class at the Musicians Institute, where he earned his degree in Guitar Performance and was awarded Outstanding Player of the Year, Evan has become a true player in the industry. Evan is currently playing lead guitar for LA indie folk artist Sam Valdez, and can’t wait to share his love of music with the next generation of musicians at School of Rock South Bay as our General Manager.
Travis Simpson 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.
Melissa Jane Dichiera Vocal Instructor
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Melissa Dichiera made her first TV appearance at the age of seven and hasn't stopped performing since. A skilled triple threat, she has performed in numerous bands and shows throughout Australia. Her most recognized international success is fronting the pop R&B group Les BiJioux in Japan, hosting the TV show "X-Beyond Surf" on ESPN International and starring on VH1's "Rock N' Roll Fantasy Camp" during the second season. Trained in opera, contemporary, blues, gospel, pop and rock, Melissa combines her powerful voice with a captivating stage presence to create a unique front-woman unlike anyone else on the scene today. She is currently the lead singer of the bands Lady Zep, an all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band, Final Gravity, an original progressive rock band, and SYNN, an original metal band. She is a vocal instructor at School of Rock South Bay LA.
Patrick Salmon Drum Teacher
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.
Connor Rogers Guitar Teacher
Connor has played guitar since 2007. He was born and raised in the LA South Bay before getting his Bachelor’s degree in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. There, he played in countless Rock and Metal bands, performing in shows all over the area, ranging from Plymouth to The Back Bay. While attaining his degree, he formerly tutored other students in music theory, composition, and ear training. Connor can play and teach all genres and skill levels, with a strong emphasis in technical Rock and Metal. He believes extensive training and discipline on your instrument are what make you great, while not forgetting to have fun and stay passionate and musical. Some of his favorite artists are Dream Theatre, Led Zeppelin, Dragonforce, Guns N’ Roses, and Tchaikovsky.
Chad Leaf 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
Darvin Aguilar 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.
Quentin Jones Drum Teacher
From Indianapolis, Indiana, Quentin Jones first entered music performance through his middle school band. After joining the drum line at Pike High School, Quentin worked regularly with several of the ensembles on campus (jazz bands, show choir band, pep band, concert band). At age eighteen he was awarded a full scholarship to Pomona College in Claremont, CA where he would complete his B.A. in Music.
Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2014, Quentin began drumming for Tamborazo Pancho Villa, a company of bands specializing in traditional Mexican music based out of East Los Angeles. There he plays tambora (bass drum) and tarola (snare drum) to accompany brass and woodwind players (saxophone, trumpet, tuba, trombone). Around the same time, Quentin became the drummer at a Nigerian church in Chatsworth called Trinity International Christian Center where he works playing African Praise and Worship music on drum set to this day. In 2016 Quentin completed his Master of Music degree in Drums/Percussion Performance from Shepherd University in Los Angeles.
Nowadays, Quentin maintains a full schedule of teaching and performing at local music schools, venues, and private events throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
Benjamin Guajardo Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Drum Teacher, Singing Teacher
As a classically trained multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Ben began performing at a young age and spent years as the frontman for Funk/Rock trio Blackeyed Blonde, as well as a touring and session guitarist, bassist and vocalist for local and regional acts like Bad Funky Bones and The Junior Gordon Band in his native South Texas. As a music educator, he strives to combine his classical training and understanding of music theory with the collaborative spirit and practical knowledge he learned through more than a decade as a working musician.
Secily Anderson Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Singing Teacher
Secily is thrilled to be back at School of Rock! Her first show was Pink Floyd's "The Wall" in 2005 in Salt Lake City, UT. As the music director in Utah, she helped direct a myriad of shows until she moved to Los Angeles. As a teacher, she's worked in the public school system, Montessori, private lessons and a few different music schools. As a performing musician, she's played gigs with the likes of Grimes, Raining Jane (Jason Mraz), Alex Boye and now she plays with her wife in their band Winter Grain. Winter Grain just released their third EP which was produced by Ryan Hadlock (Allen Stone, Vance Joy, Foo Fighters) in Seattle at his family studio, Bear Creek. They were lucky enough to get to record with Adam Neely which was a dream come true for Secily as he is a pedagogical inspiration to music educators everywhere. Her background includes piano lessons at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music and a wide variety of music experiences while at Brigham Young University. Her production work with Salt Lake Underground podcast Soundwaves garnered her a Utah Journalism Award. She's worked with Rock 'n Roll Camp for Girls for many years and in fact was the co-founder of the SLC camp a few years ago. She is incredibly excited to work at School of Rock again as the program has grown exponentially in so many stunning ways, most importantly in ways that facilitate the best experience for students. If she wasn't busy loving everything music she would be writing puns for Laffy Taffy.
Stephen Cunningham 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.