Mike began playing piano in 1975 and had his first professional gig just 4 years later at the age of 11.
His first teacher was Sr. Jean Marie Farrell. He then studied classical piano and organ with Mark Ochu and performed in many local recitals. As an adolescent, Mike studied pop and classical organ and piano with Norm Gray and competed successfully in a number of regional organ competitions.
A small detour from his musical training began when Mike left high school early to study aerospace engineering at the University of Minnesota, followed by a brief stint as a midshipman at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
His musical studies resumed at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where his private piano teacher was Ray Santisi (whose former students also include Keith Jarrett and Diana Krall). In the late 80's Mike transferred to the Grove School of Music in Los Angeles to study jazz piano performance and theory with Dick Grove.
In the spring of 1989 Mike returned to Minnesota to visit family, but a temporary job that was originally intended to last just a couple weeks mushroomed into a 17-year career in software development at a downtown Minneapolis law firm. Mike attended college at night for several years while working at the firm and completed a degree in philosophy at the University of Minnesota. In 2007, Mike decided to leave the law firm and return his focus to his original passion: music!