EXPERIENCE THE MUSIC!
Imagine yourself on stage. The glowing lights. The gentle hum of the amplifiers. The growing anticipation and roar from the crowd… It’s time to rock!
The Rock Box Music School & Stage is based on the idea that while people want to learn to play an instrument, sing, compose or arrange music, they may not know where to go or what to do once these skills are learned…Until now.
“The concept is simple” says co-owner and creator, Angel Bartolotta. “We are helping provide pieces of a puzzle that most musicians inevitably want to expand upon”.
The award-winning Rock Box Music School & Stage is North Port’s answer to music education in the local community; offering lessons in voice, piano, guitar, bass, drums, as well as many other instruments including violin, viola, fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, cello, banjo, and world percussion, with an emphasis on multiple genres that complement the theory of music as a whole.
While its foundation is to create a place for people to learn and hone their musical skills, The Rock Box also provides a venue for musicians to meet, collaborate, rehearse, and perform with others in a safe and controlled environment. From learning how to play an instrument, and performing live on stage, to recording and producing an album, and much more, The Rock Box is offering the full music experience, all while encouraging fellow musicians to maintain a healthy and responsible lifestyle.
“There is often a stigma associated with musicians and their so called lifestyles, and we hope to break through that and share the real deal with students and the community alike”, says co-owner and musician, Sally Bartolotta. “It’s a lot of hard work, and requires discipline, focus and a strong work ethic. If you want to keep up in the long run, you need to take care of yourself, starting now. And that’s just one of many things we hope to offer through our collective experiences”.
Aside from the four spacious lesson rooms, a comfortable lounge, and the repair workshop, the main attraction at The Rock Box is undeniably the venue. A 1,000 square foot room with a stage and PA system, and a full lighting rig that illuminates a pro-quality backline of drums and amps. The Rock Box venue hosts many special events such as student recitals, clinics, workshops, intimate performances, and open jam sessions. It’s also available for band rehearsals, birthday parties, meetings, and private functions (call for availabilities).
Upcoming events feature student concerts, guest speakers and teachers offering an array of clinics and workshops on a multitude of topics spanning from music theory, to stage performance, touring etiquette, yoga for musicians and much, much more. An upcoming highlight being a music therapy camp hosted by Dr. Cali Estes and The Addictions Academy. “The reward pleasure center in the brain is usually stimulated through drugs and alcohol” says Dr. Estes, “but studies have found that music stimulates the reward pleasure center even more. This camp will focus on keeping people sober through the art of music.”
The Rock Box is currently scheduling field trips so students can get even more hands-on experience. A tour of the Dean Guitars factory in Tampa, FL and a recording session at RLS Studio in Osprey, FL are being planned now. All minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Updates and events will be posted regularly on The Rock Box website, or feel free to pop in and take a look at our upcoming schedule of events.
While you’re there, stock up on a wide variety of musical essentials like guitar strings and picks, drumsticks, cables, instrument accessories, limited orchestral and woodwind products, and a selection of lesson books. Special orders can be made from brands including Dean, Luna, Peavey, D’Addario, DW, PDP, Zildjian, Evans, ProMark, PureSound, Pintech, and Planet Waves. Whether it’s a single guitar pick or a full set of drums, anything a musician may need is available at The Rock Box.
Angel Bartolotta is no stranger to the local (and international) music scene. Growing up in North Port, he started playing drums when he was 12 years old. He joined his first band at 13, and by the time he was 19, he was on his first world tour. Throughout his career, he has played major cities all across The United States, Canada, Germany, France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. He has earned full endorsements from some of the industry’s leading instrument manufacturers and has enjoyed success playing drums for bands such as Genitorturers (Tampa, FL), Crossbreed (Clearwater, FL), industrial rock pioneers PIG (London, UK), Switched (Cleveland, OH), punk rock icons The Undead (New York, NY), and many others. He is most well-known for his time with the band Dope (Chicago, IL), who were included in arena tours, radio festivals, and constant play on mainstream radio and MTV. Angel is also the founder of Team Cybergeist, a collaborative music project featuring over 100 musicians from all around the world. The project combines platinum-selling artists and local musicians, some of which are based right here in North Port, including wife, Sally Bartolotta.
With over 20 years of drumming experience, world touring and major studio sessions under his belt, Angel is also a devoted teacher and author of multiple instructional books, including “So You Want To Be A Drummer”, “RudiMENTAL Madness”, and the fully illustrated children’s book “Jurassic Drumming”. All titles are available for sale online or in the store.
The Rock Box is Angel’s way of giving back to the local community where his music journey began, providing aspiring musicians a chance to experience the real world of music. It is his dream to create a comfortable music destination that encourages musicians to learn, grow, and engage their talent with local like-minded individuals.
“It’s so much more than a music school” Angel says. “We give people the chance to do everything that we dreamed about as kids. We’re laying it all out on the table and putting these opportunities right into the hands of our students, encouraging them to use their talent to reach their goals. I believe in the importance of music education and the performing arts in the local community. The Rock Box allows students to express themselves creatively in a relaxed and enjoyable setting where they can learn teamwork skills and build lifelong friendships.”
Sally Bartolotta, who has been in the music scene since age 13, offers a unique perspective as a female artist. “I started learning guitar at age 13, and was later gifted my first bass at 17 by well-known friend and mentor, Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down.” says Sally. “I instantly fell in love with the power behind bass and would go on to choose this as my outlet in multiple bands including Cherry Debauchery (Washington, DC), PsyKill (Tampa, FL), and Team Cybergeist where I was hired as the live bassist when the project decided to transition to the stage in 2009. I later switched to vocalist in 2014.”
“But one problem always remained throughout prior years. That elusive transition from playing in your room with some friends, to learning to write songs you’re confident with, and then baring them on stage. I was 25 before I ever set foot on stage, which was with PsyKill” says Sally. “Even though so many of my friends were in world renowned bands, with full tour productions, I still had so many questions, and had no idea how to take that next step. And in the early days, neither did my bandmates. So for many years, we just didn’t. And that’s one of the things we’re hoping to help up and coming musicians avoid”.
“We’re building a music scene from the ground up with students of all ages” Angel concludes. “You’re never too young, or too old, to pick up an instrument and rock!”
With a solid roster of outstanding teachers lined up to offer their knowledge and experience, the Rock Box Music School & Stage is here for you!
Experience the music at The Rock Box!
The Rock Box is located at 5400 S Biscayne Drive (Suite F) in North Port, FL 34287
Monday – Thursday: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Friday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday: By appointment only
* OPEN every holiday except Thanksgiving and Christmas
Sally and Angel met in 2001, through their shared passion for music. Married since 2011, this power duo has tons of shared experience between them, having played, performed, written, and toured together with Team Cybergeist, over the past 7 years. Opening a Music School to offer knowledge and experiences with up and coming musicians is the next step in their natural progression.