In 2010, Mike Mangini won the drum seat for the Progressive Rock icons Dream Theater in an audition that was captured in the internet documentary, “The Spirit Carries On.” The online release of this documentary on April 29, 2011 trended as the 2nd most popular tweet behind the Royal Wedding. Mike has made a career out of joining established artists like Dream Theater. He has worked mostly with Annihilator, Extreme, Steve Vai and U.K. The career constant for Mike while teaching, or being in a band, has been being an International Solo Drum Clinician.
During his long and diverse career, he has won approximately 60 combined performance based awards, audtions, and drum contests. These individual awards have spanned musical styles from Classical, Jazz, Rock, to Heavy Metal, Solo drumming and official W.F.D. World’s Fastest Drummer records. Not included are his numerous reader’s polls top five finishes. Additionally, he was the drummer in bands that won at the state championship level in public school related orchestral, jazz and percussion ensembles that all placed 1st at the state level. Professionally, he has earned four Grammy nominations. Although he is best known for his work with heavier rock music, he has done gigs in the styles of Latin, Funk, Swing, Pop Ballads, Pop and Blues. He was one of seven drummers in the International film festival, award winning documentary, “A Drummer’s Dream,” as well as being featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Time Warp.”
Mike is a product of a solid network of family, friends and public school sports and music programs with great teachers in Waltham, Massachusetts. This upbringing inspired him to work with people, to compete and to understand the value of quality teaching and influence. Mike became a private drum teacher and developed a learning system called “Rhythm Knowledge. ” It is a cognitive and computer science based learning system that also relies on his documented observations as both a student and teacher. Eventually, Mike and his philosophies got world wide attention in international drum magazines. Mike headlines international drum festivals embarks on solo drum clinic tours sponsored by his equipment endorsement companies each year demonstrating how his systems work.
As a teacher, he stared his own private instruction business and eventually taught at the Berklee College of Music for eleven years. He worked at teaching and was eventually appointed as the Percussion Department’s Student Advisor. He surpassed being just a top sought after teacher at Berklee. He finished in the top 1 to 3% of the O.C.E.’s student response ratings for college professors in the entire United States each year the ratings system was used.
In 2013, he released an award winning instructional DVD called “The Grid,” that turns musical improvisation into a science. This system can also be applied to improvising anything. Mike invented it because neither Berklee or the World had yet defined and broken down what ‘improvisation’ actually is and how it works. He showed just how correct the approach is not just by winning the Dream Theater audition, but to use it to help less skilled players improvise decently.
Per his words, “I wanted to help the kid who came to me saying that another student, or teacher told them they didn’t have ‘it.’ I didn’t want them to fall for the diversionary tactics of the teacher who never told them that they are the ones who don’t have ‘it’ – the ability to teach someone that doesn’t already know ‘how’ to learn. They just show and can’t explain what the student is supposed to think and feel and when, or how. Also, it is the expectations that are usually wrong. A person doesn’t have to be professionally proficient to enjoy playing. As longs as their arms and legs work fairly well, they can learn to play the basic beats, fills and to improvise decently on a drum set.”