The Rock Box Music School & Stage prides itself on a professional staff of teachers who have real-world experience in the music industry. From world tours, pro studio sessions and years of on-stage experience, our teachers have what it takes to get you to the next level.
Angel Bartolotta – Creator, Co-Owner, Teacher: Drums, World Percussion
Angel Bartolotta (aka Andrew Bartolotta) has been playing drums his whole life. From a kid banging on pots and pans, to a studio session drummer and hired-gun, touring the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Angel has devoted his entire life to the art of drumming.
Angel is best known as the drummer for Dope, Genitorturers, PIG, Crossbreed, Switched, The Undead and many other bands, as well as being an Artist on the DW, PDP, Zildjian, Evans and ProMark rosters. He is also the founder of Team Cybergeist, a collaborative music project featuring over 100 musicians from all around the world.
Angel has a true passion for teaching. He has been teaching private lessons, group lessons, online lessons, and drum clinics/workshops for over a decade with students from 2 years old to 80+. He has released 4 instructional books and 1 DVD. He is also the creator of The Dinosaur Method, an easy-to-use lesson plan for kids. Angel is a member of the DW Drums Department of Education, the D’Addario Education Collective, and a certified member of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (N.A.R.D.). He specializes in beginner lessons, but also works with intermediate and advanced players who are looking to learn something new.
In 2016, Angel and his wife Sally opened The Rock Box Music School & Stage; a place where growing musicians can learn how to play an instrument, perform live on stage and record in a real studio.
With over 20 years of drumming experience, world touring and major studio sessions under his belt, Angel offers much more than the average drum instructor!
For more info on Angel Bartolotta, please visit www.angelbartolotta.com.
Contact us for lessons with Angel!
Sally Bartolotta – Co-Owner
Ray Rogers – Teacher: Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin
Ray Rogers was fortunate enough to have gone to school in a small town where music was part of the standard curriculum. From kindergarten to sixth grade, he had music class twice a week. In junior high and high school he was in the school band and participated in choir and theatre. He was also actively participating in a local church choir as well. In college, he took piano. Ray has been teaching now for about nine years.
Music is an essential part of Ray’s life. He believes music is the last tangible magic left in society. In 1988, he got a guitar as a Christmas gift. Building from what he learned in school, Ray taught himself how to play guitar. At 16 he started playing in bands outside of school. He continues to this day to play in bands such as The Sunsets and Rapid Fire. Ray has played in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and several towns and cities in Illinois. He has played in front of crowds that numbered in the thousands and was fortunate enough to open for national acts such as Theory of a Deadman, Halestorm, and Copper.
Ray taught a few people here and there in the late nineties. Nine years ago he started teaching again and it became his full time job. He has given private lessons at his home as well as local Sprigfield, Illinois music stores. Prior to moving to Florida, Ray taught at Rolens Brothers Music and Daddy O’s Music Shack. Both are located in Springfield Illinois. He taught every walk of life. Children, businessmen, soldiers, mailmen, and politicians to name but a few. A few of his students have tried out for “American Idol” and one student even made it onto “America’s Got Talent”.
Ray teaches an esoteric method based on numbers. If you can read an analog clock, know how many days are in a week, and how many months are in a year, you can learn music. He uses these foundations, that we were all taught from a very young age, to put music into perspective for the students. This works with all ages. Over the years he has refined his method to be as simplistic as possible. The three primary principles Ray teaches are Pattern, Degree, and Pitch (note names). The three primary attributes of music are Sense, Control, and Alter. He can teach students how to read music and understand musical notation. (Staff, clef, note duration, tempo, etc.)
Seeing students excel at their instrument of choice is most rewarding for Ray. His goal is to help students understand music so deeply that they can play any instrument they want. They need to know two things about their instrument. 1) How the instrument is tuned, and 2) how to get sound out of the instrument.
“Mistakes are a prerequisite for learning” Ray says. “They have to be made in order to learn what is correct.”
Contact us for lessons with Ray!
Carol Ghiris – Teacher: Piano
Carol Ghiris has been playing piano since she was eight years old. She started self teaching herself before receiving formal lessons which lead her to a career in music. She graduated with a B.M. in Piano Performance from Oberlin Conservatory (Ohio) and has been teaching piano lessons avidly to any level or age from beginner to advanced. Carol has played numerous recitals, competitions, master classes, student recitals and been a National and Florida Adjudicator. She is very enthusiastic, passionate and patient with teaching the art of music to all people who are willing to learn.
Contact us for lessons with Carol!
Sean Paxton – Teacher: Drums
Sean Paxton first studied piano and music theory with his father, before earning his first paycheck at 14, playing drums at the Mint Hotel in Las Vegas in his parent’s show band; members of which included his mother, Diane, and brother, Brooks. All six members of “Brooks Paxton & What U Need” had to possess the ability to perform musical styles covering Jazz and Big Band, Blues, Motown, Country, Rock, Reggae and Pop. The group’s evolving repertoire included 100’s of songs so sight-reading musical arrangements during live performances was also a required skill.
Sean says, “Those years taught me how to combine musicianship and showmanship with the stamina it takes to meet the demands of schedules averaging 5 sets a night, 6 nights a week for 48 weeks a year, in venues across the United States, and later Internationally, aboard the World’s largest cruise ships. My parents demanded the best from everyone on that stage because they wanted every audience to be entertained; not just with musicianship, but with a show that included visual special effects like flash and flame pyrotechnics, lighting, smoke machines and a real indoor rainstorm. Traveling with my family, performing just about everything from Benny Goodman to Billy Idol for audiences of all ages, prepared me for success in many areas of life, both professionally and personally.”
Sean later attended the Musician’s Institute – College of Contemporary Music in Los Angeles, graduating with honors from the Drum and Percussion Program. He went on to provide private drum coaching, while performing hired-gun studio and touring work for many artists including Swamp Boogie Queen, with appearances on the Fox TV series, ‘Melrose Place’, and tours with rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Doobie Brothers, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and others. He now lives in North Port, FL with his family, and is also co-founder of a multimedia production company he operates with his brother, Brooks.
Sean Paxton proudly joins the staff at the Rock Box Music School & Stage, adding, “I’ve been familiar with Angel Bartolotta’s solid professional reputation for years, and after getting to know him personally, I’m further impressed by the authentically high standard he holds for quality music education. I look forward to combining my performance and coaching experience with the comprehensive series of drum instruction books published by Angel, to inspire and teach students of The Rock Box.”
Contact us for lessons with Sean!
Savannah Brady – Teacher: Voice, Violin, Viola, Fiddle, Banjo, Cello, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Piano
Savannah Brady, noted as a “musical prodigy” by the North Port Sun, is an accomplished musician with years of performance experience. She can play just about anything with strings, from violin to guitar! Savannah is currently enrolled in Berklee College of Music online. She had the honor of playing three consecutive years with the Suncoast Super Strings under the direction of Itzhak Perlman. Savannah is a member of the Gamble Creek band led by Kim Betts where she and the band had the opportunity to open for Blue Oyster Cult, Wynonna Judd, Marshall Tucker, and Lonestar. She also fronts her own band, The Savannah Brady Band, playing guitar and singing classic rock, country & originals. Savannah believes that she gives a unique teaching experience due to the fact that she is classically trained, and also has real world experience performing. Savannah is excited and honored to teach, giving opportunity to pass on her knowledge and help each student find their voice.
Contact us for lessons with Savannah!
Jess Guarino has had a love for music since childhood. She started taking piano lessons at the age of 5 and continued through middle school, then was self-taught until starting lessons again in high school, along with beginning voice lessons. She graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University (now known as Carin University) with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and earned over 50 credits of music in the Church Music Program, as well as trained privately in piano and voice. Jess has been involved in worship teams, choirs, ensembles, and even a few musicals from elementary school through college. She now teaches at The Rock Box and volunteers occasionally on the worship team at First Alliance Church.
Contact us for lessons with Jess!
Joe Westall – Teacher: Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Banjo
Joe Westall has always had a love for music. When he was 9 years old, his parents started him with piano lessons and he instantly fell in love with the classics (Bach, Mozart, Handel, Chopin, Beethoven). At the age of 14, he found his new love. The guitar! His mom rented his first acoustic guitar for a few months until she saw that he was dedicated to the instrument, and on his 15th birthday, his father bought him his first electric guitar. With his parents #1 rule of keeping his grades up, Joe was fortunate enough to lock himself in his room for hours at a time honing in on his craft. At 16, Joe started playing with metal and experimental rock bands until the mid nineties when he created his first group, Tao. After a five year run of playing in front of thousands of people and two studio albums, he departed to spend time raising his two sons here in North Port, Florida. After years of a so-called “retirement”, he decided to jump back into the music scene to start his current band, Kadaver Dolls, who has shared the stage with Hed P.E, Wayne Static of Static X, Mushroomhead, Periphery, Born of Osiris, Audiotopsy (members from Mudvayne), and Superjoint Ritual (with Phil Anselmo of Pantera) to name a few. When it comes to teaching, Joe customizes every lesson to each individual student. “Everyone has that passion inside them!”
Contact us for lessons with Joe!
Kirstie Weaver – Executive Assistant
Kirstie Weaver has been a member of The Rock Box family since 2016, helping with painting and construction before the business officially opened. She has studied drums and percussion under Angel Bartolotta (creator of The Rock Box) since early 2014. She was the first of his students to successfully complete the So You Want To Be A Drummer and Double Bass Boot Camp lesson courses, and has her own hybrid rudiment featured in RudiMENTAL Madness, a new book from AB Drum Lessons. A recent graduate of SCF, she is planning for a long and exciting career in the music industry.
Hallie Baltes – Office Assistant
Hallie Baltes recently moved to North Port from Ohio. As a graduate of NPHS, she plans to go to college to study Psychology. Although she doesn’t play any instruments, Hallie still appreciates good music and art.
Ashley Tygrett – Office Assistant
Acey Slade (Misfits, Joan Jett, Dope, Murderdolls)
Michael Angelo Batio (Nitro, Guitar World Magazine’s “Fastest Guitarist Of All Time”)
- Interested in becoming a teacher at The Rock Box Music School & Stage? Send a message, bio/resume and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org