Mike is a Brooklyn based drummer, composer and educator. Equally at home in rock, jazz and new music realms, Mike enjoys bringing the subtlety and nuance of free improvisation to tightly arranged pop music. While primarily a drum set player, Mike also plays and teaches djembe, dunduns, congas, mallet percussion and piano. His current projects include the indie rock inspired Tim Haufe Band, the solo drums/synth act Big Ceremony and Paper Trails - an improvised guitar, sax and drum trio. He can also be found leading drumming for mindfulness workshops, accompanying world music dance classes with the Mark Morris Dance Group and collaborating with like-minded musicians, dancers and singers.
Mike earned degrees in Classical Percussion Performance and Ethnomusicology from Holyoke Community College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 2008 he traveled to Bamako, Mali to study folkloric drumming with master drummer Karim Tounkara of Les Ballets Malien. His principal teachers have been Bob Gullotti, Bob Weiner, Chad Taylor, Sekou Sylla, Morgan Zwerlein, Ches Smith, Gerald Cleaver and Aleksandra Kocheva. Mike has toured the US several times backing alternative rock bands and avant-garde musical theater/cabaret acts, and feels equally at home performing in large concert halls and basements /DIY art spaces.
Mike has nearly 15 years of teaching experience, and has mentored students of all ages and ability levels. His teaching philosophy is to focus on the fun and joyous elements of music, and let the students guide the rest. Each student is an individual, with specific interests, goals and learning styles and Mike is able to create a unique lesson plan for each. Topics include groove studies, coordination, reading,improvisation, performance practices and composition.