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I'm a professional drummer, percussionist, and composer here in Denver offering a fresh new approach to drum instruction. I teach at two separate locations complete with dual drum sets and a complete sound system that allows for both my students and I to play simultaneously and at full live volume!
As a Graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, I've been lucky enough to have studied with some of the most diverse masters of drumset and percussion from several continents around the globe. I've been a player of the drums for over 26 years now, and I'm still practicing and perfecting the art, gaining new friends, students, and live stage experiences on the way.
Let me start by saying that I highly value the freedom that I've been able to enjoy by passionately perusing music as a career. Any field where you get to socialize, interact with other musicians, and have fun performing with your friends, is a dream gig by any measure, but it does take hard work, sacrifice and tenacity to achieve that level of recognition. Fortunately I have the background and skills to not only make our lessons interesting and exciting!, but to also get you up to speed so that you can enjoy the life of a musician as well!!
My Complete Education:
Born in Santa Monica, California, I lived in and around Los Angeles in several areas before moving to Denver in 1990. I began on the Piano at age 4 and slowly gravitated towards playing the drums by my 9th birthday.
My first teacher, AND first mentor in music: Mark Foster (Metro College of Denver & Colorado Symphony Orchestra), At a very early stage he introduced me to Jazz and Latin and gave me a solid understanding of Classical Percussion as well.
My second instructor and Mentor: Jimi Bauchet, whom I took Rock, Progressive Rock, and Fusion lessons from, was a session and commercial artist in Los Angeles during the eighties and nineties.
Upon High School Graduation I left Denver to study percussion with Dr. Pennington at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. It was here that I would get my first taste of performing music on a high art level, as Dr. Pennington was one of Michael Udow's young prodigies when he attended the University of Michigan, a nationally regarded school for the percussive arts.
Two years at Fort Lewis College provided me with the perfect spring board to transfer and I then returned to my home state to earn a degree at the prestigious California Institute of the Arts (CIA). It was here that I had the honor to study with the likes of John Bergamo (Master Percussionist), Randy Gloss (John's closest disciple), Joe Labarbera (Jazz Drumset Master), David Johnson (My Mallet & Orchestral Mentor), Alfred Ledzekpo (African Percussion Tribal Leader), Wenton Welojo (Balinesian Gamelan Master and Celebrity), and Swapan Chardui (THE Tabla Guru, Truly an Honor). The Multi-Focus Curriculum allowed me to study a wide array of disciplines while still receiving a degree based heavily in Classical Percussion. My BFA is essentially a custom built degree with a strong background in Theory, Composition, Jazz Drumset, Tympani, Mallets, and a variety of pitched percussion instruments from around the world.
*** Lesson Details ***
My Personal Philosophy:
In many parts of the world there is no separation between music and culture, and to that end I strive to bring my students closer to the outside world through the strength of their own musical bond. Having music be a part of my life has brought me great opportunities to meet other players and fans of the trade, through which I have experienced some of my most rewarding moments with, as well as making some life-long friends along the way. So to me, MUSIC IS SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE!!!, not just something that you do, and that concept is the fundamental reason why my lessons will often go far beyond just the common practices of instruction, to not only show you WHY you would want to use a certain rhythm or technique, but also HOW to apply it in a real situation in the most musical way. Through the deeper understanding of music, there is an equally deeper understanding of ones self..........
Drumming is a very root level based instrument. It is primal in its nature and very emotionally driven. This is great in many ways, for playing the drums can be meditative, or used to relieve stress and pent-up energy, but the bottom line is that drumming is expressive and FUN!!!
So keep in mind that while there is a student-teacher relationship that I must keep, in order to get my points across, you really should enjoy each and every lesson while you're learning. It's proven that you'll retain more of the information that I'm teaching if I can get you to leave with a SMILE on your face!!
OK, so the real trick to what I do as a teacher that sets me apart is my approach. I don't have a "cookie cutter" format for stamping out drummers that all sound the same and have the same library of beats to pull from. If you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, I will custom tailor a lesson, or a set of lessons in order to maximize our time together, all while allowing you to develop your own individual voice on the instrument.
For beginners, I will set up a more structured program to get you up to the level where we can begin to experiment a little more and be able to play along with some popular songs. Using a few time tested books, some rudimentary exercises, and few hand written examples, you will begin to see results immediately. Together we will keep a binder of notes that contain all of your previous and current exercises, and from lesson to lesson you will be able to see the progress that you are making through your collection of notes and music. With this method I have taught everyone from 5 to 65 how to navigate their way around the drums, so you will be in good company if it's your first time on this instrument.
As far as the intermediate to the advanced player is concerned, well, we are going to have a great time jamming together and sharing amazing contemporary concepts. I will still offer the structured program to anyone that is interested, but for the drummer that already has years of playing under their belt, I really have something special to offer you. Odd time, Mixed Meter, Four Limb Independence, Ostinatos, Displacement, and even Polyrhythm
*** Studio Equipment ***
Pearl Drumsets, Ludwig Drumsets, Sabian cymbals, Istanbul cymbals, DW drum pedals, Various reading materials, a stereo, mixer and isolation headphones for playing along with music tracks at full live volume. Comfortable thrones to sit on while playing. Various instructional DVDs that can be borrowed from time to time.
*** Specialties ***
Music, Drum set, Orchestral Snare Drum Technique, Hand Drums, World Percussion
Moeller Technique, Multi-Fulcrum Technique, Four-Limb Coordination and independence, Odd time, Polyrhythms, Mixed Meter! Capable of teaching drum set Reading and Notation! Also capable of teaching ALL STYLES of music. If you can think of it, I have played it. Too many to list here.
If you can think of a type of music that exists, most likely I have performed in that style live on stage proffesionally
· Drum · In studio Very knowledgeable and personable; makes the lessons fun; great in-depth experience. One one lesson in but better than could have imagined first impression.
· Drum · In studio Mike's an awesome drum teacher. Every lesson is fun and well thought out. I've also thought that the pacing and structure is perfect. He takes you beyond learning HOW to play and teaches you WHEN and WHY to play the beats you're learning. Mike's a great drummer and a really fun guy to spend time with, I recommend his lessons!!
· Drum · In studio Mike is a true musician who loves his craft and loves teaching it. My daughter is having FUN learning drums!
· Drum · In studio Mike makes drum lessons fun while still teaching the key fundamentals.
· Drum · In studio Thanks Mike, so much great info!
· Drum · First Time Student
My son has been taking drum lessons with Mike for several months. He had never played drums prior to his first lesson and Mike has been nothing but patient and very professional with him. My son really enjoys the lessons and is learning so much more than I expected. Super happy with Mike and his knowledge of the drums along with his patience and communication. Would highly recommend him!
· Drum · Excellent Teacher
Mike is a great Drum instructor. I am a beginner and felt he did a great job with my skill level. He has a lesson plan but is very flexible in learning the style of music you want to hear. He helps you achieve the goal you have with drums whether it is to be in a band or just for a hobby.
Lessons are fun and detailed without being boring.
· Drum · Mike is very excellent at teaching the drums
Mike creates a fun environment when he teaches drumming,i would definitely recommend people who have an interest in drumming to go learn from Mike. He's very talented and admits he's a bit weird but the way he teaches is just fun. he's always telling you what he liked about how you're drumming and how you can improve.
· · I am having a great time learning the drums with Mike. He is down to earth, totally patient with a rhythmically challenged guy like me, and had me playing right from the first lesson. My son is also taking from Mike and it has been great for us to learn the drums together, as Mike challenges and teaches us.
· · Glad I Signed Up
I am a month in to my lessons with Mike and find him patient, knowledgeable and especially good at explain the concept (without getting too deep). Mike had me playing at the first lesson which I thought was definitely the way to go as I came to him to learn to "play" the drums, not just learn "about" drums (though, again, he teaches concept as well). I would definitely recommend Mike to anyone in the Denver area looking for a drum instructor.