Hi, I’m Michael Stegner. At least that’s what I’ve been told all my life – and now I’m passing this information to you.
There have been times in my life when I really didn’t know what to do with myself… Like right now as I try and write this “About Me” page. It’s amazing how we can think and talk about ourselves all the time but have such a hard time with writing bios and such.
I first realized this in college while at the University of Miami. My friends and I had a band called The Jongleurs (there will be a post in my blog about what NOT to name your band). Some of our most tense band meetings were over what to put in our bio. And I have to say the struggle is real and it still exists for me as you are currently seeing.
In high school I sang in an acapella group with some buddies and we used to travel around to various churches in our area of Kentucky. This is when I first saw people speak in tongues. Yep, that was something all right.
Now I live in Seattle. I’m not sure how or why, but the important thing is that this paragraph has helped me make a much-needed dent in my word-count goal.
Since I was a kid I was always around music. My parents were both music teachers in public schools. I swore I didn’t want to do it for a living back then. But I now realize that I just didn’t want to do music in a normal and traditional way. With heroes like Willie Nelson, Bjork, Prince, Miles Davis, Glenn Gould and Bobby McFerrin – it didn’t occur to me until way later that I enjoy music that pushes envelopes and buttons.
I get frustrated with status quo and want to do things differently and hopefully better than they’ve ever been done. I don’t like to look back in time and think that nothing will ever be as good as it was when someone else was making their music. I want to make music for today, teach music for today and help people find their voices so when I’m gone they can make music for their day.
Maybe this is why I always questioned everything… Why is this taught like that? Why are they playing the same thing they played the last time I saw them? Why do music teachers dress the way they dress? Why don’t music students perform music in a way that communicates beyond what their teachers have taught them?
I’ve spent my life trying to bring this philosophy and focus into performing, practicing, writing, recording, producing and teaching. MichaelStegner.com is a series of blog posts, articles, lessons and stories that come from my experiences. The culmination of the questions that led me to some cool discoveries, great relationships, amazing gigs and inspiring students – as well as some bad choices which may help others out as well.
There will be new content here a few times each week and I would be thrilled if you followed along. You can subscribe to my newsletter here and I’ll let you know when new content hits the site.
I am founder and owner of Creative Music Adventures, a music school in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. It’s been helping students of all ages and abilities learn to play music since 2003. Over the past eight years my students and former students have received over $1,000,000 in scholarships to major performance universities and music schools.
In the last five years, four of my students have won Downbeat magazine student awards for composition, audio engineering and performances (in piano and voice). Current students and alumni have performed with or opened for Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Julian Lage, Larry Grenadier, Sheryl Crow, Wynton Marsalis, Ingrid Jensen, Geoffrey Keezer and many more.
I am currently finishing my first series of books – it’s a teaching method that takes students from their first lesson through approximately five years of lessons. It merges reading, ear training, improvisation and performance from the first lessons.
As an artist I have released two full albums under my name – Fascination Nation and The Fantastic Adventures of an Amphibian Named Jamal. I have served as one of the primary composers for projects with Spirit Tuck and The Jongleurs. Songs from these releases have been featured on radio stations across the US and Europe. I am currently working on several recordings that will hopefully be released in the next year.
I have performed with the following folks – The Jongleurs, Louis Cole (Knower), John Wicks (Fitz and the Tantrums), Michael Shrieve (Santana), Reggie Watts, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Skerik, KJ Sawka, Randy Brecker, Ty Bailie (Katy Perry), Lee Oskar (War), M. Doughty (Soul Coughing), Keith Lowe (Fiona Apple), Jeff Fielder, Andy Sells, Choklate, Patterson Hood (Drive By Truckers), David Hood (Muscle Shoals), Jen Wood, Aiko Shimada and many, many more.
I have been a speaker/presenter at four MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) national conventions, twice at the Washington State Music Teachers Association and once at the Texas Music Teachers Association state conventions – as well as several local and regional conferences in Washington state. I was a clinician for Roland US, helping teachers use Roland technology between 2003 and 2007.
I grew up in Kentucky. I played a lot of sports and music. My teachers of piano and music were Margie Murphy, Jay Flippin and Dave Anderson. I graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz. My teachers there were Mike Orta, Michael Gerber, Vince Maggio, Jeff Laibson, Ronnie Miller and John Vanderslice.