Mike Smale is a passionate multimedia artist who spends his time as a musician, composer, photographer, filmmaker, writer and teacher. He is a strong advocate of the arts in public, especially for encouraging children and adults alike to pursue their creativity.
As a musician, Mike began playing the piano at the age of seven. Primarily self-taught, he learned to play by ear and from various method books, teaching himself classical and pop music, and was improvising melodies at the keyboard. Mike began formal studies in classical, jazz and blues music at sixteen, and began playing the bass guitar simultaneously. After high school, he began his performance career playing the piano at restaurants, bars and parties, and the keyboards and bass with various jazz and rock groups in the Central Massachusetts area.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Fitchburg State University with a minor in music, Mike enrolled at Berklee Online, the extension school of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he studied composition, arranging, and audio engineering. He received a Professional Certificate in Arranging in May of 2012 and continued his studies in orchestration, electronic music and world music composition for another two years at Berklee, studying with composers like Jerry Gates, Loudon Stearns, Beth Denisch and Ben Newhouse.
Mike’s compositions range from contemporary-classical to jazz to electronic dance music, and everything in between. Writing primarily for the piano, solo bass guitar and jazz trio, he strives to put a unique touch on classic forms and styles while pushing the boundaries of modern music into new, unexplored territories through genre fusion and experimentation with both acoustic and electronic instruments.
In addition to music, Mike has worked as a fine art photographer and filmmaker since he was in high school, capturing the natural beauty of the world and its abstract undertones in his still images, and telling surrealist to satirical stories through motion picture. A fan of the traditional and unconventional, new image based projects are always a surprise to the audience as much as they are to their creator, but always strive to be unique in aesthetics or peculiarity.
As a proponent of the arts, Mike is an active music teacher, hosting lessons from his studio in Central Massachusetts. His goal is to introduce music and art to people of any age or background so long as they have the desire to learn and share their ideas with the world. In times where the arts are the first to be cut from public education, he helps to give them a place to grow and return their value to modern culture.