The magic of music showed up early in Michael’s life; specifically in the person of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra string player, who demo’ed the instruments of the Viol family. Michael decided he HAD to play the viola, because it sounded so incredible! Fast-forward through Suzuki string classes, elementary school and onward to junior and senior high school, with private lessons for most of this time. Michael’s orchestra conductor began pestering him to consider going to music camps like Interlochen, getting one of the “right” teachers, and getting on the road to CCM for classical music. However, at about 13 years old, Michael had concurrently taken up… the… guitar. Concentration on private lessons and viola practice began to fade, and playing the guitar began occupying every spare moment.
Michael has studied jazz theory with several wonderful teachers, including CCM Theory & Composition grad Keith Bowers, and Rick Fitzgerell of the Manhattan School of Music. He has played in several blues, pop and country cover bands, and currently is working with a keyboard collaborator, writing and recording original music in the project studio in his home; Michael is also a pro-level slide guitar player. He is also responsible for the dubious scientific discovery that if you have played for four hours, you can put toothache gel on the tips of your fingers, and play for another four hours.
“I feel that any song that the student would love to be able to play can be a jumping-off point for learning not only the song, but also the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how music works, and different techniques their favorite players may be using. There is a magic to seeing someone’s favorite song come together under their fingers, and realizing, ‘This is how my favorite song is really played!’”