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 – Rock Box Founder, Co-Owner, Teacher: Drums, Percussion, Recording Studio Production
Angel 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, Germany, France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. Angel has devoted his entire life to the art of music.
Angel has over 100 recording credits in his discography. He is best known as the drummer for Dope (who’s album “No Regrets” debuted at #88 on the Billboard 200, #11 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums, and #7 on Billboard’s Independent Albums), shock-rockers Genitorturers, industrial rock pioneers PIG, the iconic punk band The Undead (original members of The Misfits), as well as Crossbreed, Switched, Rikets, and many other bands, as well as being an Artist on the DW Drums, PDP Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads and Vater Drumsticks rosters. He is also the founder of Team Cybergeist, a collaborative music project featuring over 100 musicians from all around the world. In the Summer of 2018, Angel was chosen as one of the drummers to perform in the Volumes exhibit at The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.
Angel has toured and shared the stage with many well-known bands including Motley Crue, KoRn, Godsmack, Alice In Chains, Corey Taylor (Slipknot), Limp Bizkit, Five Finger Death Punch, Seether, Evanescence, Black Label Society, Sevendust, Puddle of Mudd, Mudvayne, Staind, Halestorm, Saliva, Candlebox, Orgy, Lords of Acid, Powerman 5000, Mushroomhead, Buckcherry, Volbeat, In This Moment, Insane Clown Posse, Soil, (Hed)PE, and many others at some of the world’s most famous live music venues. Angel has also spent time in the recording studio writing and tracking songs with members of Ozzy Osbourne, Shinedown, StoneSour, Hellyeah, Static-X, Nonpoint, Coal Chamber, Morbid Angel, Soulfly, Kittie, Black Veil Brides, and KMFDM to name a few.
Angel has a true passion for teaching. He has been teaching private lessons, group lessons, online lessons, and drum clinics/workshops for 20+ years with students from 2 years old to 80+. He has released six instructional books and one 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. Angel’s students have gone on to form their own bands (performing locally, nationally, and internationally) as well as earning Scholarships and Superior ratings and awards by leading their school’s marching, orchestra, concert, symphonic, and jazz bands, competing in state and national levels. Some of his students have been accepted into prestigious music schools and colleges, and a few have studied under him and have used his mentorship to become teachers themselves.
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 twenty years of professional drumming experience, world touring and major studio sessions under his belt, Angel offers much more than the average drum instructor!
Certifications: DW Drums Department of Education, D’Addario Education Collective, National Association of Rudimental Drummers (N.A.R.D.)
Contact us for lessons with Angel! In-person and online!
Sally Bartolotta – Rock Box Co-Owner, Teacher: Yoga, Meditation, Pilates
Sally Bartolotta found her love for playing music, at the age of 13 when she started playing guitar. At 17, she broadened her arsenal with learning bass, and in 2014 became a professional vocalist. She is best known as bassist for Cherry Debauchery, PsyKill, and Team Cybergeist, and for later switching to lead vocals for Team Cybergeist.
She has toured most of the United States with Team Cybergeist, and is grateful to have shared a stage with some amazing bands, including Alice In Chains, Evanescence, Godsmack, Limp Bizkit, Halestorm, Lords of Acid, Wayne Static, Sevendust, Hellyeah, Wednesday 13, Mushroomhead and many more.
“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.”
Although Sally is an avid lover of all things music, she is not currently teaching music at The Rock Box. She is, however, a certified Yoga Teacher, having received her RYT-200 status through The Yoga Sanctuary in Punta Gorda in 2013, as well as a certified Pilates – Mat Instructor as of 2021. She began teaching yoga professionally just after graduating and has been passionate about helping others grow their practice, ever since.
Sally blends her love of music and yoga, with a special class, offered exclusively at The Rock Box, called “Get to the Chakra”.
Certifications: American Fitness Professionals, Yoga Alliance, Yoga Sanctuary Teacher Training Program
Contact us for yoga with Sally! In-person only.
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 80 Caliber. 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! In-person and online!
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 (daughter of the legendary Dickey Betts of The Allman Brothers Band) 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.
CPR Certification: Responding to emergencies – Adult and Child First Aid/CPR/AED (conducted by American Red Cross)
Contact us for lessons with Savannah! In-person and online!
Jess Smith 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 many choirs, ensembles, and even a few musicals from elementary school through college. She performs with worship bands, from just playing piano and/or singing, to co-leading. She now teaches at The Rock Box and performs locally for charitable events, as well as lending her expertise to school band competitions (Imagine School, etc).
Contact us for lessons with Jess! In-person and online!
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)PE, 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! In-person and online!
Kelsey Mace – Teacher: Voice, Piano
Kelsey Mace started playing piano when she was 7 years old. Since then, she has always wanted to be a piano teacher. She took all the band classes she could in school and was the lead pianist and vocalist in her high school Jazz Band. As a teen, Kelsey learned many different vocal styles and preformed on stage in every show she could get her hands on. At 22, Kelsey started her teaching career at The Rock Box Music School & Stage and has loved teaching all ages and skill levels. In 2020, Kelsey joined the metal band Kadaver Dolls as their keyboardist and backing vocalist. She is also currently writing her own solo music. “My goal in life is to help people express themselves through music,” says Kelsey, “and positively inspire the next generation of musicians.”
Contact us for lessons with Kelsey! In-person and online!
Doug Ortner – Teacher: Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Tuba, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Euphonium
Since he was little, Doug Ortner has always had a passion for music. Music was the only thing that made him dance and smile when he was a baby. In middle school, he started playing woodwinds and brass in the school bands, crafting his skills on multiple instruments. Doug has a very good ear for music, including having “Perfect Pitch”, which is the ability to hear a note out of context and identify it immediately without any reference. He has taken private lessons for low brass at FSU for four years, and has played in many ensembles, including the FSU Marching Chiefs for three years before graduating with a bachelor’s degree for Instrumental Music Education. Doug has a passion for teaching and helping others.
Contact us for lessons with Doug! In-person and online!
Paul L. Marshall – Teacher: Drums, Percussion
Professional Drummer, Instructor & Engineer Paul L. Marshall was raised in SW Florida by way of Hartford, CT. Moving here with his family at the age of 10, and already having banged away on a drum practice pad for 3 years, he obtained his first drum set in January 1990 and dedicated every spare moment to practice and improving. Moving on from there, Paul played in numerous shows and concerts throughout Junior High and High School as part of the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, And Marching in the celebrated Cape Coral High School Seahawk Drum Line, having the responsibilities of Drum Line Captain 2 of the 4 years, simultaneously studying under renowned Session drummer/Marching Instructor, Billy Canty. Placing High Drums in State competitions, and achieving consistent ratings of “Excellent” and “Superior” in FBA Review, the music continued to grow. Taking the next step, auditioning and making the Drum Line of the Suncoast Sound Drum and Bugle Corps out of Orlando FL. Paul continued to learn, apply, and lead.
Paul has performed in many local area bands including The Collective, Breaking Blues, 4 Dog Pile Up, the Blues Babies, and numerous studio sessions. Years of playing several gigs per week with many different bands professionally, and teaching drumming and theory to younger students, Paul became a recognized and sought after session and live drummer, and also took on a position of Associate Director / Drum Line Instructor positions at several area High School Marching Programs, where he continues his work to this day, preparing students for their future in Drumming and Percussion.
As Paul has grown deeper involved in the industry, he has also gained experience as a back line technician and worked as a Drum Tech for, OR has worked in the studio with (including his own studio) over 50 National Acts and Artists such as: Godsmack, Team Cybergeist, Genitorturers, Tom Petty, Staind, Linkin Park, Fuel, Nickelback, Emerson Hart, Mudvayne, Lit, Our Lady Peace, Molly Hatchet, Apocalyptica, Gargamel!, Jimmies Chicken Shack, Texas Hippie Coalition, and Skindred. Paul was also the Stage Manager for the 2013 and 2014 Ink Life Tour stops in Ft Myers, Shockfest with the likes of Trapt, Gemini Syndrome, Insane Clown Posse, Da Mafia 6, Mushroomhead, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Trapt, as well as the Hellpop Tour with In This Moment, Butcher Babies and Devour The Day in 2014.
Paul L. Marshall is an Artist for Sabian Cymbals, Aquarian Drumheads, Vater Drumsticks, Cympad, DrumTacs, Carmichael Drum Thrones, AKG Microphones, BDM Mic Clips, Groove Juice, TnR Products, and Big Bang Distribution Products.
Contact us for lessons with Paul! In-person and online!
Josh Parisi – Teacher: Piano, Violin, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Tuba, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Euphonium, Voice
Josh Parisi has had a love for music throughout his entire life. When he was in high school, he was known as the student who could play any instrument he picked up. His dedication and passion for music has earned him top rankings on both the district and state level multiple times throughout high school, and has earned him the principal euphonium position in the FGCU Wind Orchestra and the leader of the FGCU Tuba & Euphonium Quartet throughout his college years, before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education. Josh has performed at many venues such as The Kennedy Center, Artis-Naples, Wright State University Nutter Center, and Main Street at Disney World, to name a few. Josh is equally at home as a classically trained musician and as a professional Ninja Warrior Athlete. Along with being a competitor on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” Josh has also advanced to state, regional, and world championships in other ninja leagues outside of the TV show, such as the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association and the National Ninja League. He has also coached students who have advanced all the way to the international level as well. Josh dually applies his musical and ninja experience into his style of teaching to create a focused, but fun and energetic musical experience for his students. To Josh, the most fulfilling aspects of teaching are watching his students fall in love with making music, and watching them progress as musicians along the way!
Contact us for lessons with Josh! In-person and online!
Kristyn Knapp – Teacher: Voice, Ukulele
Kristyn Knapp is an experienced vocalist with a love for music and teaching. Growing up in New York, Kristyn fell in love with musical theatre and the stage. She attended Hartwick College for vocal performance and music education while directing children’s musical theatre. She has performed in over 30 musicals herself, and has been directing musical theatre since 2011. Kristyn moved to Florida four years ago and began teaching elementary music at the Imagine School of North Port. She also has continued directing and directs/performs locally with the Charlotte Players. Kristyn cannot express enough how much joy comes from seeing a student succeed and discover a passion for music. There is nothing quite like setting a goal and watching a student reach it and feel accomplished. Kristyn is a high energy teacher who loves to inspire, engage, and share knowledge with a smile.
Contact us for lessons with Kristyn! In-person and online!
Loryn Steele – Teacher: Voice, Piano, Violin, Guitar
Loryn Steele is a New England Conservatory trained performing artist and nurturing Music Educator, and the daughter of a world-renowned concert violinist father and Reading Specialist/Literary Agent mother. Her love of teaching began shortly after her father introduced her to the violin when she saw Sidney Portier’s portrayal of a teacher in the movie musical, “To Sir With Love.” Loryn teaches voice, piano, violin, guitar, and all styles of music from rock to pop to opera to musical theater. She has a Masters in Teaching with over twenty-five years experience teaching private lessons, and has also taught Music and Theater in private, public and charter schools in both Oregon and Florida. When not in the studio, she enjoys directing children’s musicals; One of her favorite past productions was “Really Rosie” (music by Carol King), which Loryn directed in conjunction with Seattle Children’s Theater. Loryn teaches students of all ages from preschool through senior adults. She teaches standard notation and employs the Suzuki method, playing by ear, for very young children to introduce them naturally and holistically to musical structures. This is how her dad taught her to play the violin when she was four years old until she was old enough to read music, and her love of music has continued to grow ever since. Loryn has performed in many venues including Carnegie Hall, as a singer and actor in local community theater, as a worship team leader, violin soloist and vocal soloist for many churches, as a back-up singer for Integrity Music, and as a member of The Eastman Vocal Jazz Ensemble. She has also performed guitar and vocals with her students in combination rock band/chorus ensembles she created while teaching in public school.
Contact us for lessons with Loryn! In-person and online!
Brett Bradford – Teacher: Guitar, Bass Guitar, Harmonica, Pedal Steel Guitar
Brett Bradford has been performing in bands since his teenage years. The last local band he played in was Big Daddy’s Blues Extravaganza, playing traditional and electric city blues. Brett cut his teeth playing venues on Beale Street in Memphis TN. He played in the house band at Jerry Lee Lewis’s club in Memphis TN as well as the Blues City Cafe. Brett graduated from the University of TN with a Major in Communications and a Minor in Music Performance. He worked in the radio business while playing guitar in the University of TN jazz band. Rather than aspiring to be a big-time musician, Brett always just wanted to play good music and have fun doing it. “Learning to play an instrument increases one’s sensitivity, thoughtfulness, intelligence, and gives one a perspective on life that is more in tune with the true realities going on around them” says Brett. “Music is one of mankind’s highest achievements. I cannot imagine a world without music. Music has always been my main interest and focus in life. It is what gives life meaning and purpose, and the benefits of music are endless.”
Contact us for lessons with Brett! In-person and online!
Kevin Wallace – Teacher: Guitar, Bass Guitar, Music Therapy
Kevin Wallace began with music at a young age. It all started with a Casio keyboard at 5 years old learning Beatles music and eventually writing his own songs. Kevin quickly discovered his passion for music. By age 7, he had begun lessons on the 6-String guitar. At 14 he began leaning into the finger picking style of classical guitar. Just over 2 years later at the age of 17, Kevin picked up a friend’s bass guitar and fell in love with its textile and percussive aspects. He has played in many performing bands since, both covers and originals across many genres. This included recording bass tracks for Team Cybergeist; “Human Nature” off of How to Destroy Something Beautiful, and “Sucker” off The Other Side of Fate, and other bands he helped found like Mag Ops and Progressive Chemistry. Kevin has always had an equal passion to teach and has been combining these passions with friends and family for over 20 years. He has recently decided to step into a deeper commitment to teaching music by joining The Rock Box family.
Contact us for lessons with Kevin! In-person and online!
Lauren Ferrone – Teacher: Voice, Piano
Lauren Ferrone has been around music all of her life and has been going to concerts since she was 2 years old. Growing up, she was introduced to every genre of music including rock from all ages, country, rap, and musicals. Her love for music has grown tremendously since she started playing instruments around the age of 10, starting with guitar. She then found a love of piano and ukulele during this time and has taught herself since age 12. Over the years she performed in choir classes, music clubs, open mic nights, as well as a performing production for a cabaret. She loves performing, playing instruments, as well as singing. She loves alternative rock, indie, any type of rock (especially the 80’s). Lauren was originally from Boston, MA, and moved down to Florida a few years ago. She has two cats, which are named Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) and Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac). She loves playing piano while belting out her favorite songs. Lauren absolutely LOVES being able to teach students her love of music to help them love music, even more, each day. She brings laughter, confidence, and pure joy with every lesson she does.
Contact us for lessons with Lauren! In-person and online!
EJ McCloud – Teacher: Drums, Percussion
EJ McCloud was born and raised in North Port, FL and has lived here his entire life. By day, he is a drum teacher at The Rock Box, but when the sun goes down he can be found at Black Sparrow Studios playing drums, laying down backup vocals, and engineering audio. EJ is a full time audio engineer, producer and session drummer. “I liked to bang on pots and pans as a child and always was tapping.” And thanks to his loving parents, nudging him to practice and take lessons, EJ went from banging on pots and pans to making Drumline Captain of the North Port High School Drum and Bugle Corps by his senior year of high school. Aside from being a seasoned session drummer, EJ has been a part of many bands in his career including CØASTLINE, Seek The Reason, Malaya, and Everything I Am.
Contact us for lessons with EJ! In-person and online!
Kenzie Hayes – Executive Office Assistant
David Ellefson (Megadeth)
Acey Slade (Misfits, Joan Jett, Dope, Murderdolls)
Daniel Fox (Marilyn Manson, Mushroomhead, Dope, Wednesday 13, Crossbreed)
Dave LaGrande (Sister Hazel)
Michael Angelo Batio (Nitro, Guitar World Magazine’s “Fastest Guitarist Of All Time”)
Mike Partee (Tantric, Seven Years Past, Katalyst, Thrown Together)
Kate Flanigan Canute (Love In War)
David Wing (Venice High School Director of Bands, Woodland Middle School Band Director)
Tim Ferguson (Garden Elementary School Band Director, Director of Education for the Venice Symphony and the Venice Symphony Youth Orchestra)
Sean Paxton (The Shark Brothers)
- Interested in becoming a teacher at The Rock Box Music School & Stage? Send a message, bio/resume and photo to email@example.com