Mike Smale

Mike S.

Clinton, MA

Lesson Details



Mike delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 16+

Teaching since:
January 2010

Mike is a passionate multimedia artist who spends his time as a musician, composer, photographer, filmmaker, writer and teacher. He is a strong advocate of the arts in public, especially for encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue their creativity.

As a musician, Mike began playing the piano at the age of seven. Primarily self-taught, he learned to play by ear and from various method books, teaching himself classical and pop music, and was improvising melodies at the keyboard. Mike began formal studies in classical, jazz and blues music at sixteen, and began playing the bass guitar simultaneously. After high school, he began his performance career playing the piano at restaurants, bars and parties, and the keyboards and bass with various jazz and rock groups in the Central Massachusetts area.

After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Fitchburg State University with a minor in music, Mike enrolled at Berklee Online, the extension school of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he studied composition, arranging, and audio engineering. He received a Professional Certificate in Arranging in May of 2012 and continued his studies in orchestration, electronic music and world music composition for another two years at Berklee, studying with composers like Jerry Gates, Loudon Stearns, Beth Denisch and Ben Newhouse.

Mike’s compositions range from contemporary-classical to jazz to electronic dance music, and everything in between. Writing primarily for the piano, solo bass guitar and jazz trio, he strives to put a unique touch on classic forms and styles while pushing the boundaries of modern music into new, unexplored territories through genre fusion and experimentation with both acoustic and electronic instruments.

In addition to music, Mike has worked as a fine art photographer and filmmaker since he was in high school, capturing the natural beauty of the world and its abstract undertones in his still images, and telling surrealist to satirical stories through motion picture. A fan of the traditional and unconventional, new image based projects are always a surprise to the audience as much as they are to their creator, but always strive to be unique in aesthetics or peculiarity.

As a proponent of the arts, Mike is an active music teacher, hosting lessons in his home studio and worldwide through the internet. His goal is to introduce music and art to people of any age or background so long as they have the desire to learn and share their ideas with the world. In times where the arts are the first to be cut from public education, he helps to give them a place to grow and return their value to modern culture.

Please note that the home studio has cats. If you are allergic, PLEASE consider enrolling in online lessons instead!

+ Read More


Recording Artist
Mar 2015 - Present
CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify, etc.

I have, to date, released three records that were all recorded and produced in my home studio and sold/streamed worldwide.

CEO/Owner, Musician and Artist
Jan 2010 - Present
M. S. Productions

I created my own business to provide top quality audio production services throughout the nation via the Web. I provide online audio mixing and mastering services, live music performances and professional photography.

Jul 2008 - Present

I work as a freelance photographer for family portraits, modeling, commercial photographs and corporate events and functions, and any other projects that come down the line. When not doing traditional work, I enjoy using photography as a form of expression in fine art shoots of the outdoors and of abstract studio work.

+ Read More
Professional Musician (Piano & Bass)
Sep 2005 - Present

I have played as a professional pianist and bassist throughout New England from the time I graduated high school in 2005 to the present. I have performed in restaurants, bars and at various parties and house concerts as a solo pianist. I have currently released two records with a third set for release in April of 2016.

+ Read More
Sep 2014 - Jun 2016
The Catfish Experience

Performed on bass guitar with an experimental jam band from its foundation until its dissolvement. Songs included a vast repertoir from The Grateful Dead, Phish, moe., and Blues Traveler.

Jan 2011 - Mar 2011
Je M'appelle Mallory

Single live performance with a small pop ensemble accompanying modern dance.

Jul 2008 - Jan 2009
Ristorante Via Alto 27

Performed jazz piano in an authentic Italian restaurant on contract for the summer and fall seasons to provide atmosphere and increase customer numbers in the dining and bar areas.

Musical Director and Pianist
Dec 2007 - Mar 2008
Fitchburg Players Cabaret Show

In charge of providing live piano accompaniment to an ensemble of singers, instructing singers in their materials as accompanist and assistant to the vocal coach, in charge of writing original arrangements of the source material (show tunes from Broadway, The Simpsons and South Park) as well as transcribing parts from recordings. Provided live piano accompaniment for the live production of the show.

+ Read More


Professional Certificate in Arranging
Sep 2010 - May 2012
Berklee College of Music
B.S. in History, Minor in Music
Jul 2005 - Jan 2010
Fitchburg State University


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Professional Proficiency


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
Aug 2015

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.

American Federation of Musicians
Apr 2014

A labor union representing professional musicians in the United States and Canada. Founding in 1896 as the successor to the "National League of Musicians," the AFM is the largest organization in the world representing the interests of professional musicians.

+ Read More

Photos & Videos

Basic headshot for 2016. Hello!

My performance of Chopin's Etude Op. 25/6 "Thirds". One of the hardest if not THE hardest Chopin etude. Recorded with Ivory II and Cubase.
Older picture from an out of print demo album.

My home recording and teaching studio. All lessons are held at this spot either at the keys or with me straddling the bass guitar.

Close up of my Roland RD800 with some Liszt I was messing around with (the music stand is homemade, the RD800 doesn't come with one).

Behind the computer, some storage and my bass amp (not set up) so you can get the best low frequency sounds in your bass lessons!

A wider shot behind my setup with a view of my Rush memorabilia that was given to be by the band when I met them in August 2004!

Some jazz piano with improvisation (in two hands). Original arrangement, recorded with Ivory II and Cubase.
Example of the piccolo bass guitar over an original arrangement of a jazz standard (no solos). Features fingerstyle and double tapping.
+ 1 more

9 Reviews

Write a Review
Jacob Oct 14, 2016
Bass Guitar · In studio

Great instruction on the electric bass, showed me all sorts of new licks, scales and grooves that I didn't even know existed. Mike was very patient with me while he showed me how to approach using new modes in soloing and improvisation and how to keep better time with a metronome or drum machine in new and inventive ways. Great teacher, and highly recommended!

+ Read More
Mary F. Aug 10, 2016
Piano · In studio

I always had wanted to learn to play the keyboards, but as an adult I didn't think it was possible anymore. Mike was very patient with me, we worked on the basics and the songs I wanted to play so I was learning how to play the instrument and learning the songs I like at the same time.

+ Read More
Jeff May 3, 2016
Bass Guitar · In studio

Quality setup, informative and encourage lessons that make you want to keep playing and exploring music even when you're not in lessons.

Maureen Apr 20, 2016
Piano · In studio

Took lessons for three years before I moved, great teacher and I can actually enjoy the piano now!

Patty Feb 8, 2016
Piano · In studio

My son took lessons for 3 years, from 2010 to 2013. I was thrilled with the instruction Mike gave. He was professional, caring and my son's improvement on the piano was quite noticeable. I would recommend him as a teacher to anyone, definitely worth it!

+ Read More
Ralph Jan 26, 2016
Composition · In home

Very knowledgeable about many different styles of music and orchestration. Helped me build my short ideas into more developed pieces and helped me to understand music theory and ear training more.

Katie Jan 25, 2016
Piano · In studio

Mike is a kind and patient instructor who keeps you determined to continue playing, shows you how to overcome any difficulties you do happen to encounter and keeps the lessons fun and fulfilling with the songs you want to learn, in a way that works best for you.

+ Read More
Ron d. Jan 25, 2016
Bass Guitar · In home

I had the pleasure of teaching Mike bass guitar in a private setting for many years. This guy knows his stuff! His knowledge and facility in music is really top notch. He is a true polymath, and a fine multi-instrumentalist. His sight reading in all clefs is impeccable. Mike is a great guy, easy to get along with, and really puts people at ease. Highly recommended!!

+ Read More
Michele Jan 24, 2016
Piano · In home

Mike Smale is a fine, versatile musician, a patient and dedicated teacher, well versed in recording and production, and a pleasure to work with. Highly recommended!

Prof. Michele Caniato, DMA

You may want to revisit

Previously viewed teachers: