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School of Rock Columbus
Episode 6925th January 2023 • Business Inspires • Tri-Village Chamber Partnership
00:00:00 00:29:45

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Every day, School of Rock Columbus watches its students grow from beginner musicians to confident and inspiring rock stars in their community. Browse photos, videos, posts, and more to discover why the School of Rock Columbus is more than just your local music school.

Opening in February 2023 at 949 W 3RD AVE., COLUMBUS, OH 43212, find out firsthand what makes School of Rock different. Here's my conversation with owners Russell Miller and Chad Greenwald.


Copyright 2023 Tri-Village Chamber Partnership

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2023 TVCP Annual Meeting


Speaker A: So it is such a treat to get to be with Russell Miller and Chad Greenwald, the owners of School of Rock. Uh, when we got to meet for our discovery meeting, as you are new members to the Tri Village Chamber. It was so fun to get to know both of you, and thank you for participating with us, and thanks for being here today.

Speaker B: It's good to be here. Thank you.

Speaker C: I agree.

Rock, set to open in February:

Speaker B: That is accurate. We're on Third Avenue.

Speaker A: Perfect.

Speaker C: Right next to the big room. Uh, hot yoga studio. We share a wall with them.

Speaker B: We do.

Speaker A: Do you hear m much or that's more bar three?

Speaker B: That would not be a big place.

Speaker C: I don't think anyone.

Speaker A: That'S what we hear here at Cohat listening to.

Speaker B: We'Ve.

Speaker C: Not heard any yoga parties yet, but we do look forward to meeting our neighbors.

Speaker A: Perfect.

Speaker B: Namaste, neighbors.

Speaker A: Namaste. So, Russell, just to touch just a bit on your background, you have 30 years experience as a drummer and vocalist. You're a drum instructor. You've played with rapper Tone Locke. Opened for Tone Locke.

Speaker C: See, Katie doesn't know Funky Cold Medina, Wild Thing. He's all these old songs that no one remembers.

Speaker B: But yeah, don't worry about it. He's really old. He was born right before the Great Depression.

Speaker C: Rest in peace. Maybe, son.

Speaker B: Look, no alive.

Speaker C: Okay, good. You passed my test. All right, perfect.

Speaker A: You've opened for King's X as well as Warrant and also represented Ohio in the National Guitar Center. Drum off.

s. That was fun. It was about:

Speaker A: Awesome. And, Chad, you've got an impressive array. Uh, working with artists, you've played extensively in every genre in popular music today. I'm going to redo that. You've played extensively in every genre of popular music today. You've shared the stage with the Roots. Lala hathaway.

Speaker B: Leila.

Speaker A: Leila hathaway.

Speaker B: Donny Hathaway's daughter, Donna Hathaway. No, that one.

Speaker A: Try me again.

Speaker B: Uh, it's okay.

Speaker C: It's a different key, though, right?

Speaker B: Yeah. And I did, like, four keys there. Donny Hathaway is a very popular RnB singer from the thank you.

Speaker A: I am being welcome educated today.

Speaker B: It's okay. This is what we do. We do music. That's the whole point of what we do. I've been a professional music, and we drink people's coffee, and we drink someone else's coffee. We've been doing this I've been professional for, like, 20 plus years now, you know, on some things.

Speaker A: All right, what else do we have here? Keen. Keen Foggy. Molly.

Speaker B: Yeah.

Speaker A: And you've worked with members of Walk the Moon. Oar.

Speaker B: That is also a band.

Speaker A: Sticks. Bad Company.

Speaker B: You got this.

Speaker A: Stevie Wonder.

Speaker B: Ian Hunter. Yeah.

Speaker A: Uh, Alan Stone.

Speaker B: Yes.

Speaker A: And I'm missing quite a few.

Speaker B: You are.

Speaker A: I am.

Speaker B: Would you like the big one is Othello Malano that you don't want to pronounce?

Speaker A: I did not want to try to pronounce that. You see how good I did?

Speaker B: He's a jazz steel steel pan player. He was known as the best one in the world for a long time. I went on tour on the Eastern Seaboard with him, and I got to open up for some of my idols, which was really cool, including Esperanza Spaulding, who is really cool. Joe Lovano, some other jazz people that are jazz people that people don't really always know about. But I've done a lot of cool rock things because he used to work at the Rockwell Hall of Fame. So I met a lot of people that way. Awesome.

Speaker A: Um, in:

Speaker B: Yes. I got to hang out with him for a full day. I got to have lunch with Don Cheadle. He stayed in character. We actually have some lines that we wrote for him in the movie. And Ewan McGregor is a wonderful prima donna. I love the man. He's really sweet. We got to meet his dog, hang out with his dog. He danced to our music. We got to hang out. It was really a fun experience. Originally, Zoe Saldana was supposed to be in that movie, but she took a silly movie called Guardians of the Galaxy instead.

Speaker A: Just that one.

Speaker C: She's silly, questionable professional.

Speaker B: She went to a movie that no one's seen. This room except for me.

Speaker C: I've seen it.

Speaker B: Did you see miles ahead?

Speaker C: Oh, no. I'm talking about Guardians Galaxy. Seen that a few times.

Speaker B: She's the green one. Yeah, I've been lucky. Sorry. We're silly. We've been lucky to have so many fun experiences. Um, we've been lucky. Um, we're currently in a band together, Russ and I.

Speaker A: Tell me more.

Speaker B: It's called Zach Attack. It's a 90s throwback band. We play all over the Midwest.

Speaker C: But we won't attack you physically. Musically, we probably will in a good way.

Speaker B: Where are we going with this?

Speaker C: In a way that one would like to be attacked if they had to choose. Zac Attack is a great attack.

Speaker B: So, anyway, we have no criminal charges pushed up against us. And then, um yeah, uh, like I said, we've played now, I think, in this band, I think in ten or eleven different states. Um, so, yeah, we're all over. We have a great time. We play about 120 shows every year. And, uh, we've been in the band for about six years now. Super fun.

Speaker A: That's amazing.

Speaker B: Yeah.

Speaker A: So, fellas, take me back. When did you fall in love with music?

Speaker C: Go ahead. Oh, I know when I me too. Go ahead.

Speaker B: All right, so I was a late bloomer for me. Well, I mean, when I was a late a little child, so my dad was a musician for a long time. He played with a famous, uh, violinist name Yitzhak Broman, who really well known. Uh, my dad was double bassist. Kind of like what I am as well. Um, just happened so naturally that we got used to go to the Cleveland Orchestra all the time. And I guess when I was like, really young, I used to cry every time I was able. I would feel the music very empathetic towards it. Um, so then through elementary school, I did your piano, trumpet, violin, whatever have you, and then guitar. But then I think it was my senior year at high school, my brother had a bass guitar and I stole it from him, basically, and played it all the time. And that's when I discovered it's probably like March of my senior year at high school. And when I really just fell in love. And I would practice like five or 6 hours every day and got really good. Have my first band, Fire Sauce, one of the best bands ever. And um, I realized the power of music. And ever since then, it's just been a part of my life.

Speaker C: You taught for how long now?

Speaker B: I don't know, uh, I say 20 years. But I don't think that's accurate.

Speaker C: It's a lot of years.

Speaker B: A lot of years.

Speaker C: Many of those.

Speaker B: Yeah, let's say let's say between 16 and 20. Yeah, that's teaching. I mean, I've been performing since 18 professionally.

Speaker C: Get it?

Speaker B: I got it.

Speaker C: Well, music me, I'm kind of a spas. I was a spaz kid. Couldn't, uh, keep my attention. So my parents, I think it was about ten, they decided instead of putting me on medication for Add, they bought a drum set. And that fixed everything. It literally fixed. Gave me something to focus on. It gave me something to track progression with. It just resonated in my body just like a heartbeat does rhythmically. So from then on, just the drums make sense to me. And that's the path I'm on. I'm not really a bass player, a guitar player. I can play some things, but it's drumming for me. Called my name.

Speaker A: And I know what I've read about you. You spoke about the healing benefits available through music. Can you describe a little bit more what you mean by that?

Speaker C: There's there's so much forgiveness in music. Playing it, listening to it, having the ability to go back and listen to something and hear it differently. Just the intrinsic value of healing and therapy in music is wonderful. And it's even more so, of course, when you're listening to it, that's beautiful. But when you can play it and facilitate it, there's a humbling responsibility that I feel like I have to put out a gift to people. That something that I stand behind. We don't try to do it halfway, but watching that come out of me. I'm getting the same benefit as I'm playing this music. I wonder that. I know that kids now have different problems than we do when we were younger, but the one thing that's unchanged is the therapy and the healing nature of music. It will serve any problems that are out there. And that's my experience.

Speaker B: That's why I have you as my friend, because that was beautifully spoken.

Speaker C: I thank you.

Speaker B: You're welcome.

Speaker C: And it's true. And it's I think our world could use a little bit of a letting down of some walls. Music can do that. Go to a party without music, it's a different party than if it had music.

Speaker B: You know, I'm going to say I was in a couple of bands, uh, over the years, where we would get emails from people that literally said, if I didn't hear your song, I would have killed myself. I'm taking that to a dark place. But seriously, I know that through the power of music, we actually saved people's lives.

Speaker C: Um, it's true. We feel like there's a responsibility attached to it to go out. And if we're going to open up a music school, then that has to be on the forefront of what we're doing. We've decided we've been longtime friends. If we're going to go into business together, it has to have a community benefit, something that we can feel and see change in people. And that's what we're going after. And we're not going to accept anything other than that.

Speaker A: How did you two meet?

ago maybe or so. Um, earlier:

Speaker C: A Christian walk into Lutheran church rehearsal and literally become uh, closest best friends that I can imagine. The guitar player we're talking about is our current guitar player in our band.

elve years in a row. Now ten,:

Speaker C: We're a packaged rhythm section, German bass.

Speaker B: So and we just, over the years, we just discovered a kinship and a friendship and really like each other. And it's amazing, the conversations. Like, we're coming home late from a gig. Like, we're in Lexington, Kentucky. It's a three plus hour drive. The amazing things that we come up with are just hilarious to us and nobody else.

Speaker A: Thank God you found each other.

Speaker C: It's true.

Speaker B: Second wife. Second wife.

Speaker C: Our wives call each other our sister. We're sister wives. Sister wives. I don't know what that means. Just go with it.

Speaker A: Google it later.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: So then how and or when did your love of, uh, music dovetail with entrepreneurship?

Speaker B: That's a good question.

Speaker C: Yeah. You took it to teaching early.

Speaker B: So I've been only doing music and things related to music now for like twelve years maybe or so. Um, so I've personally been doing, like, performance, uh, education. Uh, I'm a booking agent as well. I arrange music, I transcribe, I do studio sessions. I do a lot in everything in music. And I think I work on ten year, um, spans in my life. So the first ten years of my adult life, I worked for someone in Hollison. I worked in Reynoldsburg. I worked at the high school there. I was a teacher there. I was a care provider, technically. Ah, a delegated nurse for a couple of years. And then I found, uh, a music studio that I worked at in Dublin, where I currently live. And I started doing that, it was like, okay, I like doing this, I like doing this a lot. So then, um, I moved, I took my students from that studio and I purchased a house in Dublin because I lived in the Harrison West area, which is still in that area so much miss it. Uh, but I moved to Dublin. I've lived here for ten years now, and I'm like, I think I need something new. So I've been teaching and performing and doing all that stuff only, and I'm like, you know, I really want to try to do something else where I can spend more time with my family, uh, and stop working eight days a week. So I was looking into different ideas and I almost opened my own school in Dublin. Decided it wasn't right financially at the time. And then this a couple of years ago, I'm like, you know what, it's time to do something else. So found School of Rock and it worked really well with what I believe in, our moral compass and, uh, our freedom to do what we want to do with it. And I'm like, you know what, this is too much for me. So I decided to bring in Ross, who is the, uh, best person I know for it. Because not only is he a musician, but he also has a bit of a background with kind of administrative kind of more of the business aspect of business versus me, who's just been kind of doing what I do. I've done it well, but not with the exact, uh, remedy known entity of what I should be doing. So having him here is really, really fun. We have spent many nights demolitioning, which is the best thing in the world, by the way. If you ever get angry, it's wonderful.

Speaker C: It's like a rage room.

Speaker B: Rage room.

Speaker C: They rent him.

Speaker B: Um, that's where that came to the idea that, yes, I know that the next couple of years are going to be very difficult, but the payoff is more time with my family. So that's where this jump came to, where we decided to do that. And then brought Russian, because he's pretty cool.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker B: Yeah, I guess he's up. He's up. And for Ton Mock.

Speaker A: I'm never going to live that down, ever. Okay.

Speaker B: He's like a he's like a one and a half hit wonder. So it's okay.

Speaker C: Kaplia, he's been in movies and stuff.

Speaker B: I've been in a movie.

Speaker C: Yeah, I've been in many movies.

Speaker B: As tone.

Speaker C: Look.

Speaker B: Now, how about that funky Cold Medina?

Speaker C: You win, he wins.

Speaker A: Uh, and then Russ, what about you? Love of music, getting stuff, tailing into entrepreneurship.

Speaker C: Sure. Um, I'm 43 and we're still on stage every weekend. And that is something that my body still likes. My my mind needs it. Um, and this is the first opportunity for me to go all the way into music as all means of support financially. So I'm excited for that. Of course there's fear. This is the first thing we've done on our own. Uh, but the response we're getting, the place we have, the partner, I have, the people that are peripheral, people that are around us, the people we know in this area, music wise, they're all coming forth. And we got some great teachers. The networking we've done is going to be shown in this school.

Speaker B: We've met a lot. We've done a bunch of, uh, events now in the area. And the response he was mentioning was fantastic. But it's great. The amazing people that we've met is like, I'm not really sure how to speak corporate, and so I can't do that, but I'm just really happy organization. Uh, like, we worked with the Upper Arlington Civic Association. They're incredible. We met so many people in Grandview. Like, I love their Parks and Rec department. Everyone is so tri.

Speaker C: Village Chamber. Killing it.

Speaker B: Yeah.

Speaker A: Thanks, guys.

Speaker B: Someone just brought to the next level. I'm not saying I'm not pointing any fingers.

Speaker C: This is probably the best podcast you've ever done, right?

Speaker B: Yeah. Easily.

Speaker A: So far.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker B: So it's so, uh, this area, it's it's really, it's really wonderful to be here and it's exciting to be able to kind of, like, bring because there's nothing like there's nothing like this that exists around here. Yeah.

Speaker C: We're and we're putting roots down in a place. We don't live in this place, but this will be kind of where we live professionally. And I'm interested in just seeing that web happen. And I don't know if anyone knows, but the School of Rock is a performance music school. So not only do you get lessons, but you're outperforming in the public. You're out there literally in the community playing for people. Chad books for, uh, some big major league sporting Columbus crew. Uh, so we'll be out at places like that. So these kids are going to get the exposure of how to play the music, but also what to do with your nerves when you're on stage. I still have to fight it, so I just had to kind of learn as I went. But we can give kids and adults the tools to be able to confidently step on stage and really share their gift with people.

Speaker B: Uh, as I say, we have an adult program that has incredible like like, the turnout is like, is kind of crazy to me, like, that we have so many adults that are interested in this. It's I never thought that would happen, but I'm very excited about that.

Speaker C: The older we get, the harder it is to find other people to play music with. They are threat, and our threat is putting them all into place and creating groups within that area is really I knew there would be a good response, but the adult program may become something pretty neat.

Speaker B: Yeah, I'm very excited about the performance stuff because, like I say, I do booking, including the Columbus crew. I do other things as well. But Upper Arlington Parks and recover they have, like, the summer. They have weekly, uh, out live music. And they've already said we could do a couple of those because we're going to work with not just up Arlington Camps, but grandview camps as well.

Speaker C: Summer camps going on, day camps, week.

Speaker B: Camps, and also within our own space. Yeah, we put down roots already. And the response has been awesome.

Speaker A: That's fantastic. So happy that you guys are around. Can you share some of the offerings? Because I know you just talked about the adult program, but when I was looking, it seems like you have all the way from preschool to adult.

Speaker B: Yeah, we have, um, our youngest program, it's called Little Wing is for three to five year olds. It's for people who have or children. They're still people. Yes, children.

Speaker A: Truth.

Speaker B: You should definitely leave that in.

Speaker C: Believe it.

Speaker B: Um, I have twin boys that are six. Um, so it's just chaos at all times in our house. Uh, three to five is little wing. Um, it's for children who have never touched an instrument. And it's basically the idea of having simplified instruments with lots of movement because, you know, children cast it still. The next one up is a six to seven year old program called Rookies, which is more also for no experience. No experience as well. Yeah, it's based for children that age similar, but it's more about experimenting with instruments that are the actual instrument versus simplified versions of it.

Speaker C: So they can try if they come in and try the drum set. Mhm, I don't like it. They'll try the keyboard, try guitar.

Speaker B: So really want and no one tries bass. That's a joke. People like bass, right?

Speaker C: I do. Are you a drummer?

Speaker B: I have to, yeah. You don't have to.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker B: And then the next one up is called Rock 101, which is ages eight through 13, which is the program's, actually a two part program. So we do one on one lessons that are 30 minutes or 45, depending on how much the kid can focus. And then, ah, a 90 minutes rehearsal every week. So it's at least 2 hours every week where the kid will be there and the rehearsals with their peers. Um, and we have band practice. And then eventually that Rock 101 band is going to go onto the community and play somewhere, whether it be within our own performance studio or like right down the road of Woodlands. We have done a couple of things there already. And then, um, the next one, uh, up is the performance program, which is 13 through 18, which is the most advanced band. It's a two hour rehearsal, plus that 30 or 45 minutes lesson every week. And sometimes we can even take them on tour on the road.

Speaker A: Wow.

Speaker B: Mhm, so yeah, I think and then the adult program.

Speaker C: Yeah, same deal.

Speaker B: Same deal. We take them to shows, too.

Speaker A: Songwriting.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker B: You looked us up really well. Yeah. And actually something that's probably not on there yet is that eventually we're developing an actual recording studio as well. Yeah. So maybe said podcasts can take place there. We can have room just for it.

Speaker A: That sounds fantastic.

Speaker B: I mean, Grant, this broom closet named the broom closet is a wonderful broom closet, folks.

Speaker A: We are literally in the broom closet with golden brooms. They should be bedazzled.

Speaker C: It is palatial. As far as closets, broom closet, at least double the put a lot of brooms in here.

Speaker A: That's right.

Speaker B: There's a lot of broom in here.

Speaker C: Oh yeah.

Speaker B: I raked that one.

Speaker C: Oh my. Everyone gets serious.

Speaker A: That's right.

Speaker C: Serious business.

Speaker A: No more silliness, okay?

Speaker B: We're all serious right here. That's what we do. Serious.

Speaker A: So now that you've had the experience of opening your small business so far, what's one of the unexpected challenges you've encountered? And how or what advice would you give to others?

Speaker C: Well, technically, not being open yet, construction delays are always expected.

Speaker B: They're not fun.

Speaker C: They're not fun. Uh, some material lead times for holding us up. Just, um, compartmentalizing that having to deal with new stress. It's always a challenge. But there's stuff coming at us from all angles. So that really is the wherever I am, there's stuff back here in front of me. You're the bullseye and it's right there. Yeah.

Speaker B: Setting up a brick and mortar business is a lot different than running your own business out of your house, which is what I've done for ten years. There's so much in it. And I've always actually, for me, I had to learn a whole new thing. Uh, I've never actually worked with any kind of platforms or anything like that before because I've never had to I haven't had a job that ever actually the last job that I would consider that might have Rite Aid when I was like 18 years old, even though it was a valet. So I could work my own hours too. Um, definitely for me, it's been marketing as brand new to me, m, which is why the Tri Village Chamber is so wonderful in helping us with everything that they've done thus far.

Speaker C: True.

Speaker B: Yeah. So seriously, marketing is a whole new language. I've used the word of mouth, which is still, I think, the best way of marketing. But um, I've learned how to use social media and, um, many other things that I never expected I would ever have to really focus on. But it's actually kind of fun now.

Speaker A: Yeah, you got over that. That hump um, of, uh, yeah, it's finally fun.

Speaker B: It's it's like, it's like, ah, an adventure, you know, doing this. It's like, uh, just just going to try to get your treasure, that kind of thing.

Speaker C: He tapped into his inner 15 year old high school girl on Instagram and is really doing incredibly well with those things.

Speaker A: Mhm.

Speaker C: That was a compliment.

Speaker B: I don't know what that means.

Speaker C: It was a compliment.

Speaker B: Thank you.

Speaker C: Stuff looks good. I would go to school at our school.

Speaker B: I would too.

Speaker C: Thank you. That means it worked. We were supposed to be serious.

Speaker B: I'm sorry.

Speaker A: Oh, we forgot.

Speaker C: It was my fault. I derailed that one.

Speaker B: You did.

Speaker A: So gentlemen, how can we stay connected and in touch with you?

Speaker B: Well, through our social media transition, uh, uh, Facebook, Instagram I'm thinking about TikTok. I'm not decided upon TikTok yet. TikTok? Yeah. Okay. Facebook combat Columbus instagram Combagcolumbus. If you want to go to, ah, the corporate website And you can see all of all the programs that were listed earlier in full detail, um, come to us. We have a sign now that's lit up. It looks very pretty.

Speaker C: Yeah, come see our sign.

Speaker B: Yeah, come see your sign. Nine four nine West Third Avenue.

Speaker C: US. Third? Yeah.

Speaker B: Right next to the Bickerroom Yoga City.

Speaker C: Goes the disco yoga. What is it?

Speaker B: Disco yoga.

Speaker C: What are you reclassifying it as?

Speaker B: That I like disco yoga. Disco yoga.

Speaker C: This is not what we do here.


Speaker C: The last four digits, 765 or Rock. So it was accidental. We didn't even set that up.

Speaker B: Never? Not once.

Speaker C: Yep.

Speaker B: No, no, no. And, uh, Columbus at School is our email address. Um, if you like LinkedIn, we have a LinkedIn. Yeah, sure. Go ahead. All right.

Speaker C: 70 year old. We probably won't have a LinkedIn once this podcast is released.

Speaker A: This is making the end date of your LinkedIn profile.

Speaker B: Our LinkedIn profile is fantastic.

Speaker C: Rest in peace. LinkedIn profile.

Speaker B: Yeah.

Speaker C: Or maybe not.

Speaker A: Gentlemen, any final thoughts, words, things you'd like to share with the, uh, tri Village Chamber?

Speaker C: Call us, email us, get to know us. Um, we're getting to knowable. And we 15 year olds.

Speaker B: I think we really do.

Speaker C: In all the jest, we take our responsibility to the community very seriously. And we do know that the world needs some outlets these days and some respite. And I know in my experience, music has been absolutely that we're just thankful to be here.

Speaker B: I'm excited. Opening February 2 or third week of February. We're going to have a big opening. Someone said that the mayor might be able to come. I don't know. It could be tri. Village chamber, ribbon cutting. Ribbon cutting. It's going to be so much fun. Uh, there's going to be a band there.

Speaker C: Yes. Van Halen. Oh, no. Eddie Van Halen. Eddie Van Halen Bandhalin.

Speaker B: Bandhalin. No, we're going to have a band there. We're going to have some food. It's going to be really fun.

Speaker A: You guys are so much fun. Thanks for being here.

Speaker C: Likewise.

Speaker B: Thank you.

Speaker A: Cheers.