Student Success Stories
2018 marked 10 Years of music lessons, bands, concerts & recitals. In fact, during that year we surpassed 50,000 private lessons given. We celebrate this milestone with stories from alumni that have gone on to great successes, citing their time at ShamRock as a big influence in their accomplishments.
Guitarist, Student at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, ShamRock Alum 2016
“It all started with my first band camp at Shamrock. What an experience! That led to guitar lessons with Vince. He taught me so much, especially guitar theory and improvisation. One thing that made Vince unique was his famous open mics at the local bars. My dad used to joke that I’d been in more bars by the age of 13 than he’d been in the previous 10 years.
Throughout the years, I was presented with many opportunities through Shamrock. I participated in countless band camps with numerous public performances. One band camp brought together several students at Shamrock, and we just hit it off. We were called, “Uncontrollable”. Shamrock gave us many opportunities to perform live, which was really cool.
At the age of 16, my family and I made a move across the country to Colorado. Eventually, I reunited with Vince and took lessons from him online. One day I asked him for a big favor. I asked him to help me prepare for my audition for college. With his help, I got accepted to Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, the top college for guitar performance in the world! I truly believe my future in music is bright. Without the help of Shamrock, Randy, Vince, and everyone I had met along the way, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today."
Here is Mike performing the Grateful Dead's "Althea" as part of our 2020 Virtual Pequannock Stream Fest!
Lupe Dragon, Lincoln Park, NJ
Singer Songwriter, ShamRock Alum 2016
“I had a great time studying at shamrock school of music. I had Vince Genella as a guitar teacher and went on to perform with him many times at local young talent showcases he would host. He always believed in my songwriting abilities so he instilled a lot of confidence in me to perform my own originals at these events. I also studied voice with Kristina Rigamonti my senior year of high school. She actually helped me win a first place trophy at my variety show in high school! Since my days at Shamrock I have gone on to pursue my passion of songwriting and performing and have released an EP titled “Can’t Even Stand It,” a remix of my song “Not The Same," a song titled “Pieces," my newest single “Happiness” and am continuing to work on my next project(s) as we speak. I’ve gone on to do radio interviews, have had my music played on podcasts, featured in YouTube videos and other events of the sorts. I am also now studying public relations at William Paterson University and learning the ins and outs of marketing and communicating within the entertainment industry as a whole. Thank you to Randy, Laura, Vince, Kristina and everyone else I met at shamrock along the way. :) "
Here is Lupe performing one of her songs called "Happiness" as part of our 2020 Virtual Pequannock Stream Fest! Lupe is an annual performer on our Pequannock Street Festival stage!
Ruslan Mamedov, Wayne, NJ
Guitar, Music Therapy Major at Berklee College of Music, ShamRock Alum 2018
“Shamrock provided me with an incredible experience. I got to rehearse, perform, and study with many talented musicians, both teachers and students! Vince Genella is a very knowledgable guitar teacher, and I am very grateful for him. When I approached him my senior year of high school to prepare for my college guitar audition, he really helped me. I had to perform on classical guitar, which I had never really played before. In addition, ShamRock set me up with a great playing classical guitar that I purchased from them. Shamrock School of Music provided me with all the tools I needed to get accepted into Berklee College of Music, which I attend today!"
Russ Mamedov studied guitar at our school for 5 years. He was also a member of our Advanced Teen Program for 3 years. Here he is featured playing lead guitar at a ShamRock performance from 2014.
Nick Colicchio, Pompton Plains, NJ
Guitar & Sax,
ShamRock Scholarship Recipient & Alum 2017
“A guitar lesson at ShamRock was my first real experience with playing music, and my whole music career built up from that moment. My interest in music expanded to saxophone in concert band in middle school, which led to marching band, concert band, jazz band and other ensembles in high school. I got the opportunity to learn new instruments and expand my musicianship, and now have gotten the opportunity to study music theory, jazz improvisation, and world music in college, with the intention of studying further throughout the rest of my college career. This is all because of the love for music, music theory, and performance that was instilled in me from my time as a student with ShamRock. I learned things about music and myself as a musician that I still use today when learning and performing. A large portion of my high school and college careers have centered around music and the people I meet through it. If it wasn’t for my start at ShamRock, everything about my life would be different and far less enjoyable. I am so grateful for the many years of experience I had with ShamRock, and all the opportunities in music they have given me. If all goes right, music will be a part of me for the rest of my life.”
Nick Colicchio pictured with owner, Randy Shamber, and instructor, Vince Genella
Sarah DeGraaf, Wayne, NJ
Drummer, ShamRock Alum 2013
"For me, ShamRock School of Music was the starting point of my music journey. It allowed me to take my casual, at home drumming and sculpt it into something beautiful. Participating in the various rock camps and shows such as the Pequannock Street Fair and Benefit Concerts along with Vince Genella’s open mics gave me the real band experience that I would not only enjoy but, I would learn a lot from. Taking lessons with instructor Roy Van Tassel helped me improve individual drumming techniques and skills that helped me improve my overall drumming performance. ShamRock also gave me the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes prior and day of a show, how every member plays an equal amount of importance in a band and how every band works as a team. Thanks to my first rock camp that I participated in, I was able to form my first ever all-girl band “Cymbalism.” All of the knowledge that I gained while being at ShamRock helped me become a valuable member in my college house band, eventually becoming the band’s Secretary and Vice- President. As my musical journey rolls on, I want to give a sincere thank you to Vince, Roy and the ShamRock family for helping me get to where I am today."
Ryan performs with fellow students at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ
Ryan Donatacci, Pompton Plains, NJ
Music Industry major, Music Festival Intern, performer,
ShamRock Scholarship Recipient, ShamRock Alum 2015
“ShamRock has helped me in so many ways since I’ve gone on to college and other endeavors. All of the experience I gained performing in rock camps and benefit concerts with fellow students has had an immeasurable impact on my confidence. Though ShamRock, I learned how to collaborate with others, both in a musical and an educational setting, and this has definitely helped in my academic career time and time again. Being a Music Industry major currently, I’ve had a head start on a lot of my classes, thanks to the hands-on experiences I had working with sound equipment and all kinds of gear at ShamRock before I was even in high school. The positive outcomes from my ShamRock education continue even today, as I was just recently accepted as an intern for the Philadelphia International Music Festival, all because of my previous experience as a student assistant and being so active in ShamRock when I was younger. I’m incredibly thankful I was able to cultivate and develop my ability and love for music at ShamRock, and all that I’ve learned there has opened up so many opportunities for me that I never would have had access to if I hadn’t become a student there. I can’t thank Randy, Laura, Vince, Kate, Roy, Will, and everyone else at ShamRock enough for all that they’ve taught me; I hope to one day have an influence on others in the same way they have had such a huge influence on me!”
This is Ryan performing at Lincoln Park Day in 2010. He was a member of our very first summer camps in 2009. He studied guitar with Vince Genella, piano with Kate Victor & Will Dougherty and drums with Roy Van Tassel. At 15 he began an internship at ShamRock that turned into being one of our first teen employees at age 16. He was also in our band Radio Silence which produced an EP of original songs and was a semi finalist in the Best Teen Band in America contest hosted by NAMM.
Kay Roman, Oakland, NJ
singer songwriter, ShamRock Alum 2015
"Taking lessons at ShamRock when I was younger helped me so much growing up. I was able to learn and practice my skills to the point where I was accepted to my dream school, Belmont University. I spent a whole semester studying the music business and exploring the Nashville music scene. I got to study classical voice with a professional and learn the ins and outs of the music industry. It was while I was there that I met Taylor York of Paramore, and had a serious discussion about music and the industry. He told me that although he is blessed with all his success, he would still be happy with himself if the band never went past playing as a youth group because he was having fun and it made him happy. His main point was that you should only play music because you love it, not because you want success, and that stuck with me. It was that conversation that led me to return home to record and release my debut EP, all while becoming a professional dog trainer. My lifelong friend, Ryan Donatacci, whom I met at ShamRock when I was fourteen, played drums on all of the tracks and he did an amazing job. My single, Go Away, went on to be featured on Blow Up Radio and Music Host Network, and the EP was reviewed by Divide and Conquer. My journey has only just begun and I would not have been able to do it without the many lessons I took from Vince and Kate at ShamRock and all of the amazing people I met while I was there!"
Listen to Kay's New EP by clicking below
Keep up with Kay by following her on Facebook. You can also download her new EP, "Teen Angst" by going to iTunes or search for her on Spotify. She performs regularly in the Northern New Jersey area.