Michael Pratt currently serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Arizona where he directs the Crosstalk Electronic Percussion Ensemble and assists with the Steel Pan Ensemble. In 2016 he was the recipient of the Carpenter Endowment Fellowship Award through the University of Arizona. Michael teaches percussion through the UpBeat music program sponsored by UAPresents, serves as an advisor on the PAS Interactive Drumming Committee, as well as freelances teaching and performing in the Tucson/Phoenix area. He specializes in solo, chamber, drum set, world, and orchestral percussion.
Michael’s diversity in percussion has allowed him to create an extensive performance schedule. He had obtained consistent work playing drums for such artists as Yenisly, Augusta Vain, Madison Hardy, Lacey Black, Todd Ganovski, and many other commercial music artists. He currently performs with the jazz/R&B group Hello Doll Face. As an orchestral and chamber musician, he has performed with the Belmont University Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, PULSE [new music ensemble], Belmont Percussion Ensemble, San Juan Symphony, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra, and has appeared as soloist with the Fort Lewis Percussion Ensemble, Woodwork Mallet Ensemble, and the Fort Lewis Wind Ensemble. Michael currently serves as percussion section leader for the Southwest Civic Wind Ensemble. With over 30 musical recordings to date, he has performed in 20 states nationally, been a feature performer at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and has performed on PBS national television for the production of Christmas at Belmont. Michael holds performance degrees from Fort Lewis College and Belmont University, where in 2005 and 2007 he was awarded the Sophomore Musicianship of the Year and Outstanding Graduate in Music awards.
As an educator, Michael presents clinics and performances throughout the region, diversifying his repertoire and teaching style to include many different elements of percussion across several demographics. He has held positions as Assistant Band Director to the Durango High School band, coaching their all-state qualifying drum line and directing the percussion ensemble, and music instructor for the iAM Music Institute Charter School program. His teaching responsibilities have included directing ensembles, teaching music theory, conducting workshops, working with individual students, arranging music, and advising as a committee member. Michael has also inaugurated and directed the Southwest Civic Winds Percussion chamber ensemble, serving as a representative to the community with educational outreaches and local performances. Michael has taught private lessons in drum set at the Allegro School of Music, School of Rock Nashville, Rose Music Academy, School of Worship Nashville, and the W.O. Smith Music School, the latter being where he served as a consultant for the development of their percussion teaching curriculum. Within some of these schools Michael taught private lessons to at risk youth and adults, as well as children with Autism or Attention Deficit Disorder.
Michael holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from Fort Lewis College and Masters in Music from Belmont University, where he studied exclusively under Dr. John Pennington and Dr. Chris Norton. During his time in school he achieved several scholarships and awards, including landing the Carpenter Graduate Fellowship for Doctoral Studies at the University of Arizona. Michael currently studies with Dr. Morris Palter and Dr. Norm Weinberg. Some of Michael’s past instructors are world-renowned percussionist and drummers. Besides his personal mentors, he has studied under Richard Graber, Michael Burritt, Anders Astrånd, and drummers Zoro, Chester Thompson, and Derico Watson. He has studied pedagogy under Dr. Rochelle Mann, Dr. Timothy Farrell, and Dr. Chris Norton. Michael also holds a Minor degree in Religious studies from Fort Lewis College.