This page contains both text and bullet list Biographies.
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.”
Here is a list of Mike’s Awards from Performances Teaching and Readers Polls based as a drummer and from Instructional Materials and Career Band related history:
2013 Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for “The Enemy Inside” by Dream Theater.
2011 Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for “On The Backs of Angels” by Dream Theater.
1999 Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “For the Love of God” by Steve Vai
1997 Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “Windows to the Soul” by Steve Vai
Drum Contests & Competitive Auditions-
1989 Boston’s Best Rhythm Section All Styles (Drummer & Bassist Pairing) 1st Place
1980-1981 Massachusetts All State Jazz Drummer (1st Chair,) Eastern District (1st Chair,) Waltham, MA Senior High School Louis Armstrong Award for Jazz Band.
1977-1981 ALL East U.S.A. Percussionist (1st Chair,) Massachusetts All State Orchestra Percussionist (1st Chair,) Massachusetts Eastern District Orchestra Percussionist (1st Chair.) Waltham, MA Senior High School John Phillip Sousa Award for Concert Band, Waltham, MA Junior High School Band Director’s Award.
1980-1981 Seven N.A.J.E. Jazz Drummer awards as “Outstanding Musician” at State Level Jazz Band competitions.
1976 - 1981 Mike was either a percussionist, or drummer resulting in 1st place finishes in local and statewide Battle of the Bands (Rock,) Junior High School and High School level Concert Bands, Orchestras, Jazz Bands, Jazz Combos, Percussion Ensemble and Marching Bands.
2002-2006 Official (W.F.D.) World’s Fastest Drummer #1 Ranking at one point in the five following categories:
Fastest Hands Matched Grip in 1 Minute, Fastest Hands Traditional Grip in 1 Minute, Fastest Bare Hands in 1 Minute, Fastest Feet in 15 Minutes, Fastest Feet in 5 Minutes.
Subject of a documentary-
2010 “A Drummer’s Dream,” featuring Mike and four other world renown drummers, was the Grand Prize winner at teh FIPA D’or in France for the Performing Arts, The Hot Docs Audience favorite in Toronto, The Audience Favorite in the Top Ten Canadian Films Vancouver International Film Festival, and an official selection at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival. Link.
As a College Professor-
2007-2009 Voted in the top 1 to 3 % of the National O.C.E. College Professor Student Response Ratings System.
2000 - 2010 Was part of the Berklee College of Music’s Percussion Faculty and served as a Department Student Advisor from 2005 - 2010.
For Instructional Materials-
2013 DRUM! Magazine’s Best Insturctional DVD for “The Grid”
1999 Top 3 Best Instructional Books for “Rhythm Knowledge Volume 1” and “Rhythm Knowledge Volume 2”
1997-2014 Reader’s Polls top 1 to 5 finishes in several International Drum Magazines for “Drummer of the Year,” "Best Progressive Drummer,” “Best Clinician,” "Best Recorded Performance” and “Best Up and Coming Drummer.
Featured in a Discovery Channel’s “Timewarp” espisode. Link to it here.
Was the focus of a Harris Teeter’s, USA, TV commericial. Link to it here.
Career Playing History-
2010 to Present: Band member/Drummer for the progressive rock Band Dream Theater.
1993 to 2015: Was also in the following bands: U.K., John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Tribe of Judah, Extreme, Dale Bozzio’s Missing Persons, Annihilator.
1994 to Present: International Touring Drum Clinician
1976 - 1993: Was a member of many cover bands and orginial bands and a drummer and co-song writer.
1973 - 1981: Performed in School Concert, Orchesta, Jazz, Jazz Combo, Percussion Ensemble and Rock bands with friends.
A deeper history and timeline of events can be found via the Wikipedia Link.