Joe A. Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Joe Alfano has been playing guitar for over two decades in various Westchester-based metal/rock/blues and cover bands. Joe also has been a music educator in NYC schools for 17+ years, where he shows his passion for all music to the next generation of musicians. Joe loves to play, write, produce and record all types of music. His favorite guitarists are Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Slash, Page Hamilton, Diamond Darrell and Jimi Hendrix.
Sean L. Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Singing Teacher, Keyboards Teacher
Since the Fall of 2015, multi-instrumentalist Sean Lippin has been teaching students at School of Rock everything from guitar melodies and syncopated drum beats to how to passionately belt out their favorite songs and show tunes. At age 13, Sean was inspired to learn every rock instrument and write songs after taking lessons and listening to bands like Green Day and Blink-182. He then channeled his inspiration by pursuing his craft in various lessons and bands throughout high school and college.
A graduate of SUNY Oneonta’s Music Industry program, Sean has led several seasonal shows and summer camps at School of Rock, with a teaching prowess and insurmountable leadership skill set. He is capable of conquering the most difficult of challenges that may stand in a student’s way when it comes to show time.
Sean currently writes songs and performs with his band Nerd Salad, which has recently released their debut EP, “Your Father and I Aren’t Angry, We’re Just Disappointed.” You can catch Nerd Salad all over the NYC metro area, Rockland County and here in Westchester.
Jim H. Music Director, Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
The new Music Director for School of Rock White Plains, Jim Heffernan, has had a long career in music and music education. He began playing guitar and cello at the age of eight. Since then, his life has been split between writing music, recording, touring, producing and teaching. Starting in Syracuse, NY in the late 90s, Jim began his touring career with Spark Lights the Friction. Jim moved to New York City in 2003 and began working at the post-production house Face the Music while starting his own record label and studio in Brooklyn. Between touring with several bands, playing drums, guitar and bass for other projects in the city and on the road, Jim began pursuing licensing work for television and film and has licensed music to such clients as Clarins, Garden and Gun, Walmart, Popular Mechanics and most recently Marvel Studios. He started the audio production company Time to Operate Productions, and composed the music for the off-Broadway musical "Dorian." He also wrote the songs and sound design for the Madonna bio pic "Physical Attraction." While working as a freelance musician, Jim has always valued the importance of music education. He started the Music Matters Program in the Lower East Side of Manhattan teaching young people guitar, vocals, recording and song arrangement. He spent the last two years as the Program Director for the Noel Pointer Foundation, managing music classes in over 30 schools around New York City. Jim excels at individual lessons for guitar, bass and drums, and has a passion for directing, producing and arranging new music ensembles of all ages.
Brian C. Drum Teacher
Brian Carter is a jazz/comp/theory music major from both SUNY New Paltz College and SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Fine Arts respectively. Carter has performed with Bernie Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Wallace Roney, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Danny and Wilfredo Reyes, and Westchester luminaries Tony Cimerossi and Gil Parris. Brian is a dedicated educator and believes in the Thomas Edison adage, "Talent is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” His commitment to education can be summed up in his own philosophy: cultivate the talents in every child and they will shine. Carter has created the Kids for Drums after school program, which allows young drummers to learn technical rudimental techniques at a young age. This successful program has been run in Westchester elementary schools like Central School in Larchmont, Mamaroneck Ave. School, Chatsworth Ave. School, Ward School, Trinity School and The Groove Academy. Through all these endeavors, businesses and community activities, Brian has become a fixture in lower Westchester.
Michael O. Drum Teacher
Michael O'Rourke started playing the drums in the fourth grade. He joined the school band and orchestra, and then soon started taking private lessons. He played the drums throughout the rest of elementary, middle and high school, participating in NYSSMA and marching band as well. Michael has 10 years of experience with teaching and instructing drums, and even a little on bass and guitar. He's taught in various music stores and participated in many workshops that instruct in an interactive way. He often tries to bring his guitar or bass playing into the lessons so as to give a full musical experience to his students.
Currently Mike is playing with two original bands. The first is called Soundswell. They are a jam-band based in Long Island and NYC. The other is called Darlene Graham and the Shades of Green Band. They are a music for children group that plays in the same area. The shows are interactive and fun for the whole family and often take on a theatrical component.
Elizabeth S. Bass, Guitar, Keyboard, Singing and Drum Teacher
Elizabeth is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist musician playing and teaching vocals, guitar, piano, drums, and bass. She spent her childhood in upstate New York and studied vocal performance at Ithaca College and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Music from CUNY Hunter College. Her two greatest passions are music and sharing that music through teaching others to become the best musicians they can be. She is able to see each child’s unique musical gifts and nurture those qualities for them grow towards positive life changing ways.
Elizabeth moved to New York City to pursue her career as a musician and has performed at many New York City music venues including, The Bitter End, Tammany Hall, Sullivan Hall and Rockwood Music Hall. Elizabeth has experience in teaching students of all ages and running groups.
Kris W. Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
Kris Wong has been playing music since he was 8 years old. He quickly became one of Westchester’s best youth violinists, and participated in the Westchester All-County orchestra and NYSSMA festival. At the age of 11, Kris was fascinated by the band Queen and decided to drop the violin in favor of guitar and bass so he could write songs. Throughout high school, Kris and his band Bloodline played stages such as the Chance Theater, Webster Hall, The Knitting Factory, and recorded a full length record. He then went to study at and graduate from the Berklee College of Music, where he performed for Megadeth, Victor Wooten, David Davidson and studied with professors such as Tim Miller, John Kellogg, Colin Sapp, and Joe Stump. Kris has been teaching since he was 14, and has taught in the suburbs of New York and Massachusetts. He has a passion for teaching music, and genuinely wants to see his students succeed.
Tony B. Guitar Teacher
A bonafide guitar lunatic, Tony Bellantoni has been playing professionally for over 25 years. As an artist, he has written and released three self produced albums, all 'glorifying' his love for Blues-Rock and Funk traditions. He has shared the bill with acts like Government Mule, (Allman Brother) Oteil Burbridge, Sonny Landreth, Marc Cohn and Scott Stapp of Creed. As a BMI composer, his music productions have been used in TV/Film placements including MTV, VH1, NBC (as well as commercial and jingle use). With a degree in music and production technology from NYU, Tony is determined to make sure his students are inspired to create and develop their own 'voice' on guitar! It's all about 6 strings and smiles!
Gandhi G. Drum Teacher
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Gandhi was introduced at a young age to the world of music by his father, first taking piano and music theory lessons. By the age of 14, he started his journey in playing the drums.
Gandhi holds a bachelor’s degree in music with a dual major in contemporary writing and production and drums performance. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA (2009-2012). Since moving to New York, Gandhi has established his career both teaching and performing music. He has a great deal of experience teaching students of all ages and levels in private settings and music schools that include The Piano School of NYC, Bach To Rock, Rock Island Sound, and now School of Rock of White Plains.
Gandhi has worked on many different projects with a variety of bands and artists in a broad palette of musical styles/genres. Highlights include: Victor Maldo, Irka Mateo, Manny Cruz (currently nominated in the Latin Grammys 2021 for Best Merengue and Bachata album), Fausto Rey, Association of Dominican Classical Artists Orquestra (NYC), The Redeemed Christian Church of God (The Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn), The Journey Church, and Music Pros (Wedding/corporate band).
Chris K. Drum Teacher
A native of White Plains, Christopher Keeler has been studying, performing and teaching music for the past 15+ years. After numerous years playing in public school bands, Chris began privately studying drum set at the age of 13. He went on to study music in college, completing a bachelor’s degree and performance certificate program from SUNY Fredonia, and a master’s degree in music performance from University of Massachusetts Amherst on a full tuition waiver. While at UMass, Chris taught undergraduate courses on percussion pedagogy and music history. Well versed in many styles of music, Chris specializes in Metal, Rock, Funk and Progressive Music. He also has extensive experience performing in Classical/Contemporary settings and knows his way around the orchestra. Chris has worked with students of all ages/ability levels, and has been invited to perform with Grammy nominated and award-winning artists such as Arturo Sandoval and Sō Percussion.
Eric E. Singing Teacher
Eric is a professional musician and actor who has worked with projects ranging from musical theatre to heavy metal bands. As well as a graduate of Wagner College on Staten Island, Eric has studied voice internationally with the Orfeo Vocal Arts Academy in Dresden, Germany. With his thrash metal band, Bloodline, Eric played with legendary metal acts and performers such as D.R.I., Whiplash, Chrish Broderick and Shawn Drover of Megadeth and thrash metal group Holy Grail. Some theatre credits include ONCE with the Seacoast Repertory theatre in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and HAIR with the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in New Jersey alongside American Idol star Constantine Maroulis.
Dakota S. Singer Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Dakota is a pop artist, songwriter, producer and multi-instrument music instructor. She spent her childhood splitting time between musical theatre and performing live with area pop groups. In 2019, she graduated from Belmont University in music business and songwriting, as a part of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business. Her passion lies in music performance. That coupled with her experience in teaching young people of all abilities and ages, she is able to seek out each child’s individual strengths and put them to work.
Dakota moved recently from Nashville back to New York City to continue to pursue her music career. Since releasing her own music in 2020, she has gained the attention of Rolling Stone, as well as playing 20+ shows in the Nashville area.
Jonathan B. Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Bass Teacher
Jonathan Bedard started out playing guitar at the of age 14 and started his first garage band within the year. Since then, he has become a self taught bass player and drummer. Jonathan has played in multiple original live music groups for the last decade and has played drums and bass for rising R&B/Pop star Marissa Detlor. He has played at venues such as Webster Hall in Manhattan and The Chance Theatre in Poughkeepsie. Jonathan graduated from The Art Institute of NYC and has used his skills to collaborate with other artists across all audio and visual mediums. Jonathan has a love for working with young people one on one and in a group environment. Jonathan loves to share his knowledge of music with others and is always excited to collaborate with new artists!
Ryan P. Keyboard Teacher, Singing Teacher
A native of the NYC/Westchester area, Ryan Polakoff has been teaching and performing music for over 10 years. After completing a bnachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Ryan has performed all over the world including Italy, Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, and more! Performing in bands of various genres such as rock, musical theatre, jazz and classical along the way. Teaching experience includes leading groups and private lessons at the SOR since 2021, NYC music academies since 2019, and a private studio since 2010! Ryan's love for music came at age 6 from a fun and engaging piano teacher. Ryan is determined to provide that same fun and engagement to all his students and inspire the next generation of musicians!