Freddy Epstein General Manager
Born in London and raised in Philadelphia, Freddy found his calling in music at a young age studying under Assistant Principal Bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Neil Courtney. Jazz soon became his focus and he began performing professionally at the age of 14. After graduating from Manhattan School of Music for Jazz Performance, Freddy’s love of music grew beyond any single genre. From singing at Showtime at the Apollo, to performing on Warped Tour for 3 years with his band IONIA, to traveling through Europe with Brooklyn-based Americana band, The Defibulators - the art is in the adventure! Freddy has spent the last 20 years in New York City as a musician, producer (Blood + Sand, ANML) and theater artist in NYC’s downtown experimental scene where he performed in numerous critically acclaimed productions including FUTURITY (Ars Nova/Soho Rep), The Infinite Hotel (Prototype Festival) and Animal Wisdom (Bushwick Starr). He believes music is medicine for the soul and is grateful to be at School of Rock Watertown as General Manager (and occasional show director)!
Wilbur Fisher Assistant General Manager
Wilbur has always had a love for guitar-focused music. When he was young, he gravitated towards hard rock from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. In his early teens, he was fascinated with pop punk and metal, and decided to pick up the guitar as a result. Immersed in music theory, he sought out more challenging theoretical and technical music, ultimately leading him to metal songwriting. By the age of 16, he had become a core songwriter for his first Metalcore band, and was playing in various towns across his home state of Alaska. After high school, he pursued higher education at Willamette University, where he studied jazz and classical guitar. He went on to graduate with honors from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor's degree in Composition. Wilbur has led metal bands in the Boston scene and is always working on new music. He believes that music is the purest form of self-expression and that talent can always be taught, as long as you practice!
Paz Docmanov Music Director
For as long as he can remember, music has been an integral part of Paz's life. By age 7 he was playing piano and studying classical voice and by age 14 he was performing all across Romania as a bassist in rock bands and classical ensembles. Music wasn't just a hobby for him, it was a refuge. At 18, he was awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Music Composition, under the tutelage of bassist and Grammy nominated artist Victor Bailey. Paz has toured both nationally and internationally and is actively involved in the Boston local music scene. He also collaborates with multidisciplinary artists across the country as a session musician, multi-instrumentalist and Music Director. Paz specializes in bass, as well as guitar, keyboards, music theory and composition.
Chris Narainen Drum Teacher
Chris Narainen was born and raised in the Republic of Mauritius in East Africa. A self-taught drummer, Chris started playing drums at the age of 11 and has never looked back. After moving to the US in 2004, he attended UMass Boston for Finance before becoming a drum instructor and performance director at the School of Rock Watertown for the last 6 years. Chris plays with multiple bands, touring both nationally and internationally. Current groups he performs with include JazzFirst, Proplydz (EDM), JD-MadMartian (Hip Hop), Lord Almighty (Metal), Vinal (Jam Band). Chris is a true music love who’s passionate about the drums and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Music Business at Berklee School of Music.
Matt Sullivan Guitar Teacher and Bass Guitar Teacher
Matt Sullivan started playing guitar at the age of 12 and quickly made a name for himself by receiving the Louis Armstrong Award for Jazz Improvisation. After high school he attended Musicians Institute, a private college of contemporary music in Los Angeles. He's had the pleasure of studying with instructors like Danny Gill, Scott Henderson and Joe Diorio, and has attended seminars with Joe Diorio, Al DiMeola, Paul Gilbert and Steve Vai. Since graduating, he's taught music in Massachusetts for 25 years. He's done session work, international touring and plenty of local gigs, including the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra. Matt has taught at School of Rock Watertown for the last 5 years and specializes in Rock, Blues, Funk and Jazz.
Gaby Cotter Singing Teacher and Keyboard Teacher
Gaby Cotter is a Panamanian singer, songwriter, and music educator. Her music portrays the greatness of Latin-American sounds with a touch of jazz, pop, and R&B. Fusing powerful messages with her unique attitude, Gaby is currently working on her first studio album "Volver A Empezar", as well as recording with her band The Timba Messengers, a Cuban Salsa band. As an educator, her teaching specialties include voice, early childhood development, and piano, and guitar for beginners. Her approach is based on the maxim "every student can learn if they have a passionate teacher,” with fun, personalized lessons taught in a non-competitive and nurturing environment.
Jordyn Elliott Singing Teacher and Keyboard Teacher
Jordyn is what happens when you mix a passion for music and child-like curiosity. Coming from a musical household and family, she started singing at the tender age of 2 in churches. She began performing when she was 6 years old with vocal training from her mother who is also a singer. She started receiving music lessons at age 8 with the flute and the clarinet at age 11. She would then move to receive formal vocal training from age 13-19. During that time, she started developing her music teaching chops by working with the younger vocal students in high school Appomattox Regional Governors’ School for Arts and Tech. Jordyn then started coming up with techniques to bring formal training from the classical music world into the contemporary world.
She is trained and has performed certain genres such as: Gospel, Blues, Soul, Rock and Alt- Rock. She started teaching students of all ages in a variety of settings and holding vocal workshops focusing on vocal health and techniques effective across genres. Jordyn's motto is “Since music can be infinite, as musicians, so should we”. School of Rock is grateful to have her teaching vocals, composition and our Little Wing program.
Tanya Orlova Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, and Keyboard Teacher
As a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and music manager, Tanya has been a musically invested person since childhood. They started by learning jazz piano and saxophone at an age of 6, and graduated the music after-school program in their country by 14. In 2017, Tanya was awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music. They pursued music management as their major, as well as explored guitar and bass at the college, and graduated in May 2021.
Tanya's musical influences vary from Alternative Rock, Shoegaze, Metal & Hardcore, to Folk and Country. They are also closely involved with the local scene in Boston as a performer and show-booker. Tanya's hope is to show their students the extraordinary ability that bass has to change the context & vibe of any song, as well as teach them how to emotionally share through music.
Justin Schaeffers Guitar Teacher
After watching A Hard Days Night at age ten, Justin Schaefers began his lifelong passion for music. Soon after starting guitar lessons, Justin began writing songs and fronting bands in California’s Bay Area. This is where he learned the value of communication and musicianship through an ensemble setting. This interest in composition and guitar eventually led him to Berklee College of Music where he graduated with a BA in songwriting and emphasis on guitar. Throughout college, he worked as a music director of the Beatles Ensemble while leading his current band, Winkler. Teaching guitar, bass, and songwriting, Justin has developed his musicianship in multiple genres and has guided aspiring musicians as well as directed bands for the past seven years.
Sky Schumacher Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, and Singing Teacher
Sky knew from the moment he was put on this earth that he was here to make music. He wrote his first song at age 5, performed on his first professional stage at age 7, formed the first band of his own at age 9, and has been making music nonstop ever since. Originally from Atlanta, GA, Sky has used music to make sense of life's inherent chaos. He would spend hours on end jamming, playing with local bands, and expanding his repertoire of original and cover music and arsenal of creative vocabulary. Sky currently attends Berklee College of Music on a full-ride scholarship, where he has delved deeper into the world of songwriting, performance, and production. Sky released his first self-produced single and is currently working on a solo album.
Sky believes that as a society, we are embarking on an immense shift in consciousness laying the groundwork for the next great musical revolution. In order to actualize this, we must use theory and repertoire, not as rules or destinations, but as ideas to apply to the creative and emotional spectrums upon which great art is built. He believes that the deeper one can connect with their own vulnerability and authenticity, the more they can allow the audience to access those parts of themselves they may not have even known existed. Through the cultivation of each student's authentic artistry utilizing the framework of the great musicians of the past, Sky hopes to help usher in an era of artistic freedom, independence, intelligence, and connectivity.
Shelby Guffey Singing Teacher
Shelby Guffey is a music maker from the midwest, and a lover of all things melodic. She has an extraordinarily large family, sitting at the second oldest of 32 children. As such she is a natural caretaker. Shelby has been singing since she was a kindergartener, in honors choirs, and contemporary groups. She attended Berklee College of Music, where she studied vocal performance and cultivated her love of teaching. She has a speciality in Folk, Pop, Jazz, and Rock. Shelby believes in empathy and patience above all else, and cherishes creativity and fun.
Michael Couch Guitar Teacher and Bass Guitar Teacher
In attending School of Rock himself, Michael discovered a passion for music and art that helped him find his path in life. Writing and performing around Chicago led him to attending Berklee College of Music in 2017 and graduating magna cum laude with a degree in contemporary writing and production, with guitar as his primary instrument. Though fundamentally a Rock musician, Michael has experience playing, writing, and producing in multiple styles including Punk, Ska, Electronic, Funk, Orchestral, and Progressive Rock. He has a strong understanding of music theory and an exceptional ear for production, and he deeply values experimentation, independence, and the power of art to make a positive impact in the world. He shares these things with his students through a belief in practical application and helping others find themselves through music the way School of Rock helped him.
Dylan Walsh Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Ever since Dylan began playing piano at age five, he's always pushed himself to be the best musician he could be. By the time he was 18, Dylan was proficient playing not just piano, but guitar, bass, and drums as well. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he majored in songwriting and minored in music production. Throughout his schooling, he played with many bands and toured, mostly playing synths and guitar. Comfortable in the Boston and Rhode Island scenes, he occasionally plays in Los Angeles and Seattle. Trained in various genres and a multi-instrumentalist, Dylan is a well-rounded musician who knows that with hard work and practice, the sky's the limit. Dylan specializes in keyboards and guitar, as well as songwriting and music production.
Ian Ridenhour Drum Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Ian Ridenhour fell in love with music in the womb. Starting on drums and percussion at age 4,
Ian gradually added formal music theory and songwriting to his studies, alongside the piano.
Graduating high school early, he spent time building a music career in his hometown, Asheville,
NC, before pursuing his education further. In 2018, Ian received a scholarship to the Berklee
College of Music, studying songwriting and piano. Ian has shared the stage with The Accidentals, BJ Leiderman, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Third Eye Blind and has presented at TEDx twice. While primarily performing on piano, drums remain Ian’s true love, and rhythm guides his every note. Ian's focus is on helping kids find joy through music and their creative pursuits.
Jennings Smith Guitar Teacher
Jennings Smith had a rocky start to his musical journey, finding the guitar clunky and awkward. A few years older and wiser, he picked it back up with the help of a skilled teacher. That changed everything, and a few short years later, he was performing in the local venues of his home state, North Carolina. Jennings went on to attend Berklee College of Music with a major in contemporary songwriting and production. It was during this time that he founded his band Myth of I, an instrumental metal band that has become a staple in the Boston scene. He knows how important a good teacher can be, and hopes to provide that same opportunity to grow and learn that he was given as a kid.
Pedro Paez Drum Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Pedro V. Paez is a Venezuelan musician who started learning piano at the age of 8, but later changed to drums at the age of 11. During high school, he realized that music was the path that he wanted to pursue, as he had been performing as a drummer with several artists in genres like Hip-hop and Latin Rock. After graduating, he moved to the US and earned a bachelor of music degree in music technology. With a never-ending interest in music making, he picked up the piano once again and became proficient at composing. This, coupled with his music production skills, has led him to create original tracks that have been used for podcast intros, fashion shows and promotional videos. Pedro is fascinated by rhythm in all its forms. The rhythmic language found in the Caribbean, as in Salsa, Merengue and Afro-Venezuelan music, has a strong presence in his musical persona. Jazz is also a core part of his musicianship, as he started studying it during high school before coming to the US. Pedro specializes in drumset, latin percussion, piano, music production and composition.
Robby Perkins Drum Teacher
Robby Perkins was raised in a musical family on the North Shore of Boston. At the age of 11, his mother bought him his first drum set and his love of music continued when he started playing the drums along to Rock and Rhythm and Blues records from his mothers Vinyl Collection. When he was in high school, he played overseas in Umbria, Italy at Berklee College of Music’s Umbria Jazz program. When he was 18, he continued on to Berklee College of Music in Boston, learning about music theory and arranging as well as meeting other musicians who shared his passion. Robby’s goal when teaching the drums is to garner excitement and passion for playing, and through the experience of playing, to teach others about how music works. Robby strives to give students all the tools needed for a fun, educational, and successful musical journey.
Alianora Reilly Singing Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Music has been the focal point of Alianora Reilly’s life since childhood. Growing up in a musical family, Alia started playing piano at 4 years old and continued with violin, guitar, and ukulele, finally finding a passion for singing when making it to round two of X Factor in 2013. After winning the Berklee High School Jazz Fest in 2016, Alianora was awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music. In 2020, Alianora won the Outstanding Soloist Award from Downbeat Jazz Magazine. Her influences extend beyond just jazz, including indie rock, folk, and pop.
Alianora has extensive experience in teaching voice, piano, guitar, and ukulele, having worked in music education since she was 16. She currently is the music therapy intern at Massachusetts General Hospital, focusing on pediatrics and psychiatry. Alianora’s hope is to cultivate an enjoyable, successful environment for her students, combining the fun of creating music with the knowledge of the elements behind it.