Accomplished and acclaimed percussionist Mike Connors provides his students with the tools they need to develop as musicians, always teaching in a friendly, supportive, and enthusiastic way. Mike begins teaching the fundamentals and builds from there, always stressing timing and pace. He encourages drummers to “feel” the music and not try to robotically carry the rhythm. Mike works on understanding his student’s goals, challenges, and music preferences, and he builds a curriculum from there. He encourages students to branch out from their comfort zones to expand their drumming repertoire with the goal of enhancing creativity.
As he says, “All of the learning is done by the ear.” To teach a particular rhythm, Mike will first break it down into parts, then the student assembles those parts one by one, eventually playing it many times through to internalize it. It’s this learning and playing strategy that requires careful listening, memory, a certain physicality, and coordination between right and left hands, that can take some getting used to for the students. Mike also makes sure to impart laughter in lessons that makes learning fun and achievable.
Mike has a storied career, performing not only on drums and percussion, but also on the vibraphone. As a freelance musician, he is one of the most sought-after drummers in New England, playing in groups as varied as jazz, folk, rock, and world ensembles. Mike has toured internationally with the avant-pop group Combustible Edison, Bryan Ferry, The Lillith Fair with Brenda Kahn, and many others.
He has also played on several national Broadway tours including Bye Bye Birdie and Anything Goes. Mike’s resume includes performances for television shows such as Dateline NBC, Regis and Kathie Lee, Felicity and he has played on soundtracks for the films Inspector Gadget, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Gas Food Lodging, and Four Rooms, and for many commercials.
Mike studied drumming at Berklee College of Music with jazz greats Joe Hunt and Alan Dawson. In addition to teaching at CCM, he’s been on the Clark University faculty for years.