Like many musicians, Aaron didn’t begin life with a strict passion for music, but started studying it to impress a girl.
Wayyy back in 4th grade, a girl in his class played piano and Aaron figured that the best way to get her attention was to also play piano. So he asked his mom for lessons and diligently began learning such classics as “London Bridge” and “Mary Had A Little Lamb”. He even wrote a love song or five.
The chase proved futile.
One day he said to his Mom, “I’d like to quit lessons now.” After she stopped laughing, his mom said, “You made a commitment to the piano. Let’s give it a little more time.” Years later, he learned that “a little more time” is a very vague term that apparently ranges anywhere from a few minutes to a lifetime.
Fortunately, Aaron grew to enjoy music, eventually studying voice and a wide range of instruments.
At St. Xavier High School he studied music theory, joined several bands and performed at Bogarts, Sudsy Malone’s, Southgate House, Never on Sundays and The Mad Frog. In 1996, although very passionate about music, Aaron decided to pursue a bachelors degree in Secondary English Education at Miami University–his ‘sensible’ safety net.
In college, he performed in the Miami University Jazz Band, a Phish cover band and several alternative rock bands. Then in 2000, as a senior, he wrote and recorded a full length album to demonstrate his abilities as a singer and multi-instrumentalist.
After graduating from Miami University Aaron taught for 4 years at Mount Notre Dame High School. In addition to teaching American Literature, World Literature and a film class, Aaron was the music director for liturgical services, providing praise and worship music for school functions.
In 2002 he taught songwriting / poetry to his sophomore English class and had all of the students submit their songs to the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. One of his students won the contest and was featured in USA Weekend, receiving a $1000 savings bond. MND then received 2 acoustic guitars, 2 keyboards and a synthesizer. Click here to read the article.
Come 2004, Aaron realized that he didn’t want to teach The Scarlet Letter for the millionth time and wished to fulfill his life long dream of never having to set his alarm clock ever again. So, he decided to pursue a full time career in music, becoming his own boss. Beginning with private lessons out of his home and through word of mouth, he built a successful studio.
During 2007 Aaron and Linda Bergholz, both managing successful studios out of their homes, realized the need for a quality music institution in the Loveland area. After careful research and planning they opened Loveland Music Academy in the summer of ’07. They started small, though thanks to their diligence and passion, the academy quickly grew. Today the LMA has a staff of 30 teachers and over 600 students.
In 2009 Aaron took 24 students to the Chicago Recording Company, a prestigious studio where artists such as Madonna, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Coldplay and countless others have recorded. One song from that session garnered the attention of the band Down. They were so impressed by the students’ performance of “Ghosts Along the Mississippi” that the band embedded the video into their official website, and Phil Anselmo, the lead singer of Down and Pantera, had this to say about the video: “Unbelievable! These kids are great! How flattering! If they keep it up (learning from the best), they’ll be getting a call from me to jam in a couple of years!”
The next year, in February of 2010 Aaron took 42 students to the Saint Claire Recording Company, a 3 million dollar studio in Lexington, Kentucky. The video for one of the songs, “Cowboys from Hell”, has received over 1 million views on YouTube and was posted on metal websites all around the world, including Pantera’s! Here is the video.
In 2011 Aaron O’Keefe took 13 of his students to perform and record covers of “The End of Heartache” and “My Curse”, two songs by the grammy-nominated Metalcore band Killswitch Engage. When Killswitch Engage saw the videos they were so impressed with the kids’ performance that they sent some “gifts” for these budding musicians.
With travelling to studios now a regular part of the curriculum, Aaron took 48 students to The Tracking Room in 2013, a world famous studio in Nashville TN, where many world renowned artists have recorded. One of the videos from that trip (46 and 2) went viral and was featured on 96 Rock, Channel 5, Channel 9, MSN and websites around the world. Within 2 months the video was viewed over 8 million times. The Channel 5 segment aired on television twice: video. When representatives of the Zildjian cymbal company saw the students’ videos they sent us over $1500 worth of cymbals and then t-shirts, lanyards, posters and hats. You can see the students with this generous donation here.
Aaron has since opened Maineville Music Academy and Lebanon Music Academy and continues to teach over 50 students a week.
Ok…so maybe you’re still on the fence about taking lessons from Aaron O’Keefe. Judging from his bio he does sound pretty lazy. And there is probably a little old lady down the street from your house who teaches piano, costs less and will have your kids rocking out to “London Bridge” and “Hot Cross Buns”.
But you want your kids to be cool, right?
Well, coolness has been baked into each and every lesson that Aaron offers. In fact, he created the O’Keefe Music Foundation to help other children also reach their peak level of coolness. Check it out!
When Aaron isn’t letting music consume nearly every moment of his life, he enjoys reading, eating chocolate, playing heavy metal and writing about himself in the third person.