Mike Walsh has a degree in music education and has been teaching guitar for over 21 years.
What styles of music have you studied? What is your educational background?
I received my B.A. degree in Music Education and during that time spent it playing and studying Classical and Jazz guitar. As a part of earning the Music Education degree I also studied and taught all the Band and Orchestra instruments.
What instruments Did you Study and what ensembles did you participate in during college?
I was able to take private lessons in Jazz Guitar, Classical Guitar, Voice, Piano, Oboe and anything that would fit into my schedule. LOL. I also was in the Classical Guitar Ensemble, Choir and Jazz Ensemble during college. It was a pretty action packed time but I got it all in everyday Monday-Friday.
When did you start teaching guitar lessons?
I started in the Spring of 1996 while still in college studying music. Teaching guitar became a reality once I realized, from my friend Tom Hess, that I could do it too and that it was a better use of my skills and future life's path. After a couple of years in college studying music and becoming a better musician, I started to realize that you aren't too young to make your passions in life a reality and I quickly started looking for work right away. I eventually got hired literally a couple weeks later at a local music store in Buffalo Grove IL and I've been teaching guitar as my only job ever since.
When did you start playing guitar and did any band influence your decision to start?
I started playing when I just turned 14, in the middle of 8th grade. I had heard Metallica’s "And Justice For All" over Winter break and was amazed at how cool the guitar could be. I was hooked and went to find an old Les Paul imitation, I had laying around as a gift from a relative, and practiced everyday from then on.
How was your practice schedule back then, and now?
When I started playing guitar, I would put in a tape, strum along to it, and try to keep up. I had no clue what I was doing but would still practice 2 to 4 hours a day like this until I started lessons a couple of months later. During high school I was playing 6 to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. From 18 years old until now my practice time varies but I’m always doing something musical everyday.
what are some of your more memorable performances as a guitar player?
I first remember playing the High School variety show as a Sophomore and it was awesome. This 5 piece band we called Exotic Trill played Spirit Of Radio by Rush and I was really pumped to play in a band and on stage in only 2 years after I started playing guitar. As a Junior I teamed up with the metal kids and played Megadeth's Hanger 18 as the only guitar player in the band (yes, I played all the solo's) at the talent show and was on my way to really making guitar my main passion.
Around 2003 I remember getting on a show for Fox called "30 Seconds To Fame". I got to try out my guitar/piano technique I had been doing for just over a year and 3-4 hours every night on. I lost to a guy jumping rope while bouncing off the ground with his butt muscles, it's a joke I still laugh about today.
In 2005 and 2006 I got to showcase my freak show of guitar antics during the teachers performance at National Guitar Workshop. It's really the only video's I have of my playing live so luckily 2005 was a great performance.
2010 = My band SAGE4 won the Hot Topic Battle Of The Bands and we went on to play in 70 Hot Topics in the mid west. Playing 70 acoustic shows and doing mostly 2 shows a day really taught me a bunch about touring.
In 2015 I got to play at the Summer Slaughter Tour, that was a cool experience.
what bands are you currently in as of 2017?
Here are the bands in order of when I joined.
HESS = Instrumental Guitar
SAGE4 = Female Fronted Hard Rock/Metal Band
SAGE4 (Acoustic) = New Album this Nov that is all acoustic guitar songs
Never We See = Heavy Metal Band
Who are your most influential guitar players?
1 . Steve Vai
2. John Petrucci
3. Marty Friedman
4. Dimebag Darrel
5. Kirk Hammett (I played more Kirk solos than any other guitarist growing up)
6. Tom Hess (I’ve learned more from Tom than all of the above)