Mike did not attend a music college. His father advised him to learn something else to fall back on. Choosing a 'minor’ in Computer Science proved to be the essence of all the Rhythm Knowledge main systems.
A couple of interesting events happened to Mike in college. The first was that a trumpet player in the school jazz band threw a plunger mute at Mike and hit him in the head after he played a drum solo during an audition for the band. This was a business school, not a music school.
In front of the band, the trumpet player told Mike that he didn’t belong in a business school and should be playing drums professionally. In addition, an English teacher made Mike stay after class to ask him why he was even at the school after reading many essays about what Mike really wanted to do and hearing about the audition incident.
Mike ultimately “heard” them and dropped out of college to pursue music. After different attempts at getting record deals with bands, Mike returned to the computer science world and worked in the software department at the Missile Defense Division of Raytheon. After a few years there, he joined a successful original band called Rick Berlin - the Movie. From being seen in Boston’s original music scene, he was asked by enough people to teach them drums. While working full time, he also started teaching private drum lessons.
As he got asked more questions that he could not answer, he realized that he also had to learn how to teach better and not just show his students what to play just because he could play some of them.
Mike’s primary teacher while attending Waltham, MA public school system, Walter Tokarczyk, was so proficient at explaining what he gave Mike to work on and most imortanly, why, that Mike’s will to practice became profoundly affected by Walter's common sense approach. Now being the teacher and a practicing musician, Mike wanted to understand how people functioned.
He began to put the pieces of R.K. together by combining a software approach to programming the human mind and body. Along with some cognitive science proofs about the human brain, he started to test his theories with himself and his students.
After seeing and documenting the effects of this approach to learning drums, Mike noted that it drastically, dramatically and quickly improved the skills of even the drummer that other teacher’s said, “you don’t have it” to. The exercises worked 100% of the time on 100% of the people who did them according to Mike’s specifics descriptions of what to think and when to think it.
Over the next decade and at the request of his students, Mike organized his many notes and lessons into a single folder called “Rhythm Knowledge.”
Per the student’s requests, the information needed to be put into the form of a book.
After joining the band Extreme, two of Mike’s students, Frank Dolan (who ended up cowriting it with Mike,) and Dana Spellman (who was also studying to be a physical therapist and entered the notes into a digital data base,) made sure he followed through with making and finishing the work.
After two years of work and printing a first set of books for his students to try out, Mike, along with Frank, revised the system and created Volumes I & II. To this day, the published versions have not changed except for a picture or two and few typos. It is still withstanding the tests of people around the world.