Michael extends his life long passion and dedication to music as an educator & mentor to students. While touring the world he sets up sessions alongside his live dates, passing on his vast knowledge to young aspiring musicians wherever he can. He also encourages other musicians with whom he is associated to take part on these journeys with him. This activity plays an essential part in his career, while also providing a constant reminder of the passion of youth, through the global connection & language of music
Above: Michael with Jazz at Lincoln Centre Artists Ulysses Owens Jnr, Matt Rybicki, Christian Sands, Dominick Farinacci and QMA students during workshops at Qatar Music Academy.
Supporting and inspiring up and coming musicians is a passion for Michael. Music education has been an important part of his professional life for around 20 years. Michael has a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance - Percussion) from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary & Instrumental Music) from the University of Southern Queensland. Prior to this, his individual and group percussion teaching culminated in the publishing of 21st Century Drumming (2006) for drummers and percussionists in their first year of learning. In 2017 he released Groove Masters a multimedia iBook that combines text, notation, audio and video content to create a differentiated, graded, interactive and holistic system which balances relevant and fun activities with educational rigour in group settings.
In 2014 Michael was the key liaison for Jazz at Lincoln Centre (New York) artists for over 50 hours of focused masterclasses for students at the Qatar Music Academy (QMA) in Doha, Qatar. Prior to QMA, he taught Music Theory (with composition) and Music History courses at the School of Audio Engineering (SAE) in Dubai. Michael constructed these courses in consultation with his then line-manager ensuring that relevant competencies were taught and examined. They are at an equivalent level of Year 11 and 12 IB Diploma composition, theory/musicianship, and history.
Michael has undertaken a range of private study with artists such as (in the USA) Jeff Hamilton, Peter Erskine, Ed Soph, Winard Harper, Zack Danziger, Duduka Da Fonseca, John Clayton (arranging) - (in Australia) Paul Grabowsky and Graeme Lyall (arranging), Frank Gibson Junior and Gary France.
"Michael flawlessly executes performance and educational projects and has the ability to reach people across all ages and demographics"
"Michael's musical abilities as a percussionist, composer and music workshop facilitator are exceptional. I can highly recommend him for any school wishing to enhance and enrich music, composition and music technology. Michael provided performances, workshops and detailed technical support for the development of music technology at the British International School, Abu Dhabi."
Stuart Dennis, CEO and Founder, Compton Education
"Words can hardly express the sincere appreciation and thanks I am able to offer you for the wonderful, truly outstanding and absolutely professional experience you presented with the staging of Rhythm Explosion on Sat., April 9th here at The American School of Doha."
Mark Seay, ASD Music Specialist
“We expected that we would enjoy the Rhythm Explosion, but we were quite frankly blown away by the talent and the overall production! Very impressive.” (parent email)
“Full credit to you and your team for the wonderful performance yesterday. What a treat and for a great cause too.” (parent email)
“I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the concert yesterday. Thank you for arranging this. The kids are very lucky to have these opportunities.” (parent email)
“In April I performed with Mike Pignéguy in the Rhythm Explosion concert with the Awakenings Ensemble. We performed Aurora (a composition written by B. L.) along with many other jazz-type pieces. This concert greatly improved my knowledge of jazz music and playing keyboard.” B. L. (gr 10)
“I spent multiple hours practicing pieces in preparation for the Rhythm Explosion concert. It is always great to work with Mr. Pignéguy as he is a gifted percussionist and he helps us grow and become better musicians. We always spend a lot of time playing Mr. Pignéguy pieces so that we can play them perfectly (also because they can sometimes be challenging at first!)” H. P. (gr 9)
“….working on the Rhythm Explosion performance pieces was a good challenge in which it was necessary to learn several challenging pieces for a professional level concert with Michael Pignéguy’s Awakenings Ensemble. We worked on four new pieces, as well as one that was performed last year, and performed them with a group of professional musicians. This escalated my skill as a musician both through giving me more experience in performance, and better ability to learn and perform challenging pieces.” R. B. (gr 9)
“For Mike Pignéguy's Rhythm Explosion performance we were under a lot of stress due to the several hard pieces. In addition we were expected to play it perfectly due to the presence of our professional musician colleagues.
… although some mistakes were made, the performance was astonishing!. Especially for me, playing alongside one of the best drummers in Europe, Israel Varela, was an irreplaceable experience. I learned a lot about playing from this concert and I hope to work with musicians of this caliber sometime in the future.” F. G. (gr 11)
"Mike has been a passionate music educator for well over 15 years specialising in jazz, percussion and composition. He and I have worked on a number of projects in both the UAE and Australia. Through my project, the E<n>A band I commissioned Mike to write a suite for mixed classical and jazz ensemble which was premiered at Hale School in Perth, Western Australia"
Neil Barclay, Educator & Performer.