Mike Ihde

Professor

"I've gotten the reputation of being 'the country guy' around the college because I happen to play and teach that style a lot. Eventually students find out that I play everything from jazz to rock. I started as a rocker in cover bands, but being into the pop music world got me into country styles, which got me into lap and pedal steel, and it continues to expand my stylistic abilities."

"My mission is to open up people's ears to the players and styles they've never heard, and hopefully they think, 'Wow—I really need to check that out.' My goal has always been to prepare people to be able to play anything, anytime, anywhere. In order to survive in this business, you need to know a ton of tunes in a lot of styles and be able to play them all convincingly."

"If it has strings on it, you should be able to play it. Four-string banjo? Just tune it like a guitar, and don't tell anybody. Unless a banjo player shows up at the gig or recording session, no one will know. It comes down to versatility. Being good on as many instruments as you can handle will keep you working."

"Another thing I believe strongly in is that the student work on becoming a singer. There are a million guitar players out there, and if there's a choice between hiring a player with all kinds of chops and a player who can play pretty good and sings decently, most people will hire the singer. Nobody says you have to sing great, but you have to go into it with the attitude of, 'Yeah, I can do that.'"

"People call years after they finished here and say, 'I was in a recording session the other night and played some of those licks you showed me, and they worked great—it was fantastic.' To me, that means they finally got it under their fingers—they finally figured out where it belongs, and what to do with it, and it worked. These are my favorite moments."

Career Highlights

 

  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Film composer for The Sun Dagger
  • Guitarist/vocalist with numerous bands from oldies to blues, rock to country
  • Author of Rock Guitar Styles and Country Guitar Styles, available from the author
  • Performer/clinician on lap and pedal steel guitar
  • Recipient of numerous songwriting awards
  • Author of A Different Slant jazz CD and TAB book for lap steel