Director of Operations
Alex Vallejo is best known as the drummer of the award-winning Austin, Texas rock band VALLEJO.
Aside from performing in his band VALLEJO, Alex is also the VP of Austin music production label VMG (Vallejo Music Group), board member and artist consultant at the Austin Music Foundation, operations director for School Of Rock (Southwest Austin/Round Rock, TX), co-founder of the Pachanga Latino Music Festival, sits on the advisory board of EQ Austin and is also a partner and talent buyer for EPS Presents.
Amanda Wisniewski graduated from North Central College in 2020 with a BA in Music Liberal Arts focusing on classical voice and music composition. Through her education and other opportunities, Amanda has performed at Carnegie Hall, Disney World, Navy Pier, and Wentz Concert Hall. Along with voice and composition, Amanda is trained in piano, electronic synthesis, orchestration and theory, and conducting, as well as self-taught on guitar, ukulele, and bass. Aside from her music training, Amanda has been teaching for almost six years, with experience in early childhood and special education. Amanda is so happy to be a part of the School of Rock family where she can share her love and knowledge of music with those around her.
Justin Pratt is a San Marcos, TX based musician who plays Guitar, Bass and Vocals. Justin studied Music performance at Los Angeles Musician’s Institute and is well versed in Rock, Blues, Country and R&B. Justin currently performs with Broken Arrow and Sami and The Engine.
Vinnie Ambrosone was born and raised in Corning, NY. His father was a professional Jazz drummer who encouraged Vinnie to pursue his dream of playing drums professionally. After graduating from high school, Vinnie started earning money for playing and became a professional drummer, which he still is to this day. After honing his skills with cover bands and playing original music throughout the northeast, Vinnie moved to Austin, Texas in 1999 to further pursue his dreams.
As a result of this move, Vinnie began to meet and work with many professional musicians covering genres like Rock, Blues, Americana, Funk, and Country. Vinnie was asked in 2004 to audition for the legendary Bill Hamm of ZZ Top fame. Vinnie worked as a touring country/rock drummer for Bill and performed in arenas and stadiums opening for the likes of Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Big & Rich, Diamond Rio, and many other Texas regional acts. There are many artists he has performed with over the years and continues to perform throughout Texas and the Southwest.
With over 30 years of touring and recording, Vinnie brings a vast knowledge of experience and he is dedicated to helping the students of School of Rock pursue the same dreams he had as a kid. Vinnie is a drum teacher at School of Rock SW Austin.
Drum Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Grady's musical journey started with his family. His grandmother had a piano and his father had a guitar. He started picking out all the drum parts and playing them on the dashboard of the car to the radio. Eventually, Grady’s grandmother bought him a drum set and he started practicing. In 19991, Grady moved to Austin and has been a part of the music scene as a working drummer ever since.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher, Singing Teacher
Coming from a musical family, Ben began his musical journey at the young age of 5 years old when his father began to teach him to play drums. By the time he was 15, Ben was fluidly switching between drums, piano, guitar, bass, trumpet, and trombone, had been selected for his district’s All-District band, and was functioning as both a vocalist and the keyboard player for his church’s worship group. He went on to continue playing wind instruments, adding saxophone and clarinet to the list.
Ben studied music at Louisiana Tech University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. During his collegiate career, he studied music theory and composition, piano, and guitar. Ben received multiple vocal scholarships for concert choir and chamber singers and served as a member of the university’s guitar ensemble and as a piano accompanist. He played various instruments in the pit orchestra for the university’s theater productions and was a baritone soloist for the chamber singers. During this time Ben also tutored peers and private students alike in music theory, piano, and voice.
Ben has performed with numerous bands in Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas in various capacities as a vocalist, keyboardist, drummer, guitarist, and bassist. Being at School of Rock, he is thrilled to be able to pass along his knowledge to aspiring musicians.
Keyboard + Piano Teacher, Singing Teacher
Francis José Nieves is a vivacious composer, conductor, and pedagogue known for his diverse artistic interests and his leadership in the fine arts. Born and raised in Fort Hood, Texas, Francis holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting, studying under world-renowned choral director and Grammy Award winner Dr. Craig Hella Johnson. Additionally, he holds his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Studies from Texas State University, studying under Brigette Bellini and Dr. Richard Novak.
In his graduate scholarship, Francis conducted every major choral ensemble in the university, including the Conspirare Youth Chorus of Austin, Texas. He was the founding producer of the first and only Texas State University School of Music choral podcast “TXST Choirs Today!” where guest composers and artists share their innovations in the choral world. Guests include recent Grammy Award nominees Jake Runestad, Stacy V. Gibbs, Craig Hella Johnson, Ralph Allwood, and many more.
Francis is a Character/Leggero tenor specializing in early, opera, and sacred music. He has performed as a member of the Texas State Men’s Chorus, University Singers, Chorale, Symphonic Chorus, Rock Ensemble, and Opera. His most recent performance was conducting Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb with the Texas State University Singers. His performance credits include Mollicone’s “Lady Bird: The First Lady of the Land” in the role of LBJ's Advisor for the opera’s world premiere, as well as Don Curzio in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro”, Buoso’s dead body in Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi”, and in the chorus of “HMS Pinafore” by Gilbert and Sullivan. Francis was featured as a soloist in the 2018 Texas Music Educators Association Conference with the Texas State Chorale in “Considering Matthew Shepard” under the direction of Dr. Craig Hella Johnson.
Francis has performed with local ensembles including the early music group Les Ancients presenting Aaron Copland’s “In the Beginning” and for the world premiere of Robert Fayrfax's “Missa O Quam Glorifica.” Francis has served as Assistant Director and Choir Scholar for the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Austin, Texas, where he performed in 2016 as a soloist in their tour through Germany and the Czech Republic, performing and recording Russell Schulz's “Requiem.”
Francis has recently collaborated with composer Dr. Steven Sodders and Dr. Joyce Wu for the world premiere of “Waking Up Drunk on a Spring Day” at Austin Community College and Dr. Collin Kemeny and the UT Composition Department for the world premiere of the operetta, “Wet Dirt.”
Over the summer, he keeps up his chops as the frontman and guitarist for his rock band, Cosmic Decay.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Cory Anderson's love of music began with violin in the middle school orchestra. He began to teach himself guitar when he was 13 years old. Cory went on to win Akins High School's 2010 Battle of the Bands with his group, Resonant Requiem. Since 2012, he's been the rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist for the country cover band Broken Arrow.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
Born in the dense suburbs of North Houston, JD started playing guitar six days before his 15th birthday when his parents bought him a guitar and amp for Christmas. Since that fateful day, JD has been involved in several professional projects playing multiple instruments involving sounds and genres including, though not limited to, punk, pop punk, grunge, classic rock, blues rock, prog rock, indie rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock, noise rock, country, bluegrass, cowpunk, soul, gypsy jazz, and traditional jazz.
Since 2014, JD has spent a sizable amount of time touring and playing in front of people and accruing life experience. JD also took lead songwriting roles in most of these projects, and even in vocals in his own project. With guitar being his primary instrument, JD also plays and teaches electric bass, upright bass, drums, and piano. He studied jazz guitar at Lone Star College Tomball in Houston in 2015 and 2016 and again for a semester at ACC here in Austin during the coronavirus pandemic. With an Associate Degree in Art from Lone Star Community College, JD is well-rounded both academically and musically.