Michael Taylor is a percussionist, composer, and educator residing in Jacksonville, Florida. He has performed with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Space Coast Symphony, and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, among others. In 2012, Michael won first place in the Quey Percussion Duo Composition Contest with “Rhapsody for Vibraphone and Marimba.” In 2015, his composition “Impulse” was premiered at Sax Open: the World Saxophone Congress, in Strasbourg France. Michael received his B.M. in Music Performance from the University of North Florida and M.M. at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Michael is currently an adjunct professor at the University of North Florida, where he teaches World Percussion Techniques, Music Technology, and Aural Theory. Michael was awarded the 2017–18 Outstanding Adjunct Teaching Award.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a percussionist and educator, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Michael Taylor: I would be a video-game composer, chef, or comedian. I am equally passionate about all of those things, and finding a way to combine them would be awesome.
R!S: As a freelance artist, what's one of the weirdest gigs you've taken or oddest jobs you've had outside the industry?
MT: One of the weirdest gigs that I’ve taken was a musical theater production of One Man, Two Guvnors. This involved playing washboard while singing inner harmony and catching meatballs in my mouth while playing.
R!S: What's one thing most people don’t know about you?
MT: I have a twin sister (Jennifer). I got the musical talent, and she got… everything else.
R!S: What is your all-time favorite album and why?
MT: This is a really tough question! There are so many albums that I enjoy from literally every genre, but I’m going to go with Dirt by Alice in Chains. This is one of the few albums that I turn on while I’m grading and can enjoy passively or actively. This is also one of the few albums that I could listen to every day without skipping tracks.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
MT: I grew up in Savannah, Georgia and moved to Jacksonville in high school. My first musical instrument was flute. I wanted to learn clarinet in middle school, but my band director wouldn’t teach me or let me switch. I learned percussion going into high school so that I could join my friends in the drumline, and the rest is history!