In the music world, Mike Wessner is known behind the scenes as a capable keyboard player who helps other musicians excel at what they do best. At ROOTS, Mike’s experience carries over by making his lessons an enjoyable experience, even when facing difficult musical challenges. He has a special place in his heart for beginners trying to make sense of confusing patterns and sounds, as well as intermediate/advanced players who want to focus on how best to play contemporary music.
Hailing from a small town called Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania, Mike moved to Nashville to plant his musical roots. He has an Associates of Science degree in Recording Arts from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida.
Mike’s been a producer and musician for over 10 years. He also tours and plays keys for good friend Chris McClarney (most well-known for writing “Your Love Never Fails,” recorded by the Newsboys and Jesus Culture). Mike co-wrote a song with him called “Defender,” the title track on one of McClarney’s albums.
Outside of ROOTS you may find Mike enjoying nature through the lens of his camera. Mike is an avid nature/landscape photographer (Instagram: @wessnerphotography). He calls this his “chief passion and pursuit” these days.
Mike’s Teaching Philosophy: “I will always sacrifice forward progress for the sake of having fun. While there will of course be great challenges in learning music, it does not need to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth that you remember for the rest of your life. I hear way too many parents tell me how frustrated and awful music lessons made them feel growing up. I aim to change that story in the hearts of the next generation.”
Question & Answers
What type of music do you listen to?
“It all started with New Kids on the Block, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, etc. Then in my teen years I moved towards artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Sixpence None the Richer and Jars of Clay. In my college years and beyond I started listening to film scores along with a mix of artists along the lines of Coldplay, U2, John Mayer, Damien Rice, Teitur and Switchfoot. These days I’m most likely to compliment a Sunday afternoon drive with artists such as Hem or The Weepies (or a film score).”
What is your favorite local spot to spend time at when you’re not working and what do you do there?
“Playing golf at one of the many beautiful golf courses in the Middle TN area.”
What is your favorite all time movie and why?
“Too hard to choose, but maybe The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (newer version). It’s beautifully filmed (LOVE the Iceland scenes), and overall has such a great message of living life to the fullest and going after things.”
If you could meet on author or performer, who would it be and what would you ask them?
“So hard to answer. If I could meet any “author” in history, it’d probably be the Apostle John or someone around during Jesus’ time. I’d ask them for insight into Jesus’ actual demeanor, tone of voice, and overall mannerisms when he spoke all those words we read in red letters in the Bible, and see how much it conflicts with the way we like to interpret and communicate such things today. I’d maybe ask them what they think of how we do “church” and other such things in today’s modern world. And perhaps with all the questions I’d have, I’d also hope to have the wisdom to simply sit and listen, and take it all in without trying to think of what my next question would be.”
What is your favorite quote?
“Music is the art of silence.” (source unknown)
“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you that you ought to prefer is to have kept your soul alive.” –Robert Louis Stevenson