• Salsa del Norte | Bandleader/Manager, Timbales


  • Freelance Private Lesson Instructor – Michael McSweeney Music, Baltimore, MD


Born in Downers Grove, Illinois to parents Mark and Cheryl McSweeney, Michael McSweeney was raised in Fishers, Indiana. It was there that he got his start as a musician, beginning his musical career on piano at age 9 before switching to percussion around age 11. By age 13, his family had started becoming heavily involved in local community theater where he became equally involved, performing in the pit orchestra for more than 10 different shows between his school and two community theaters by the time he graduated high school in addition to various school music programs. During this time, he became enamored with the idea of a life in music, eventually leading him to pursue a B.M. in Percussion Performance as well as a B.A. in Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky, where he studied with renowned percussionist and educator James Campbell and Arts Administrator Dr. Rachel Shane, and a M.M. in World Music from Northern Illinois University (2017), where he studied with a handful of incredible musicians and educators such as Liam Teague, Robert Chappell, Mike Mixtacki, Omar al-Musfi, Rodrigo Villanueva, and more. Throughout the course of both of these academic careers, he gained a particular affinity for and spent significant time playing and studying West African, Afro-Cuban, and Caribbean music/Steel Pan as well as jazz, modern percussion, and Western Classical music.

Thanks to his supportive family and the help and guidance of many other great people in his life, he has had many opportunities to grow as both a person and a musician including performances alongside world-class performers from jazz greats such as Jeff Coffin, Andy Narell, Wycliffe Gordon, and Bob Mintzer to the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra to Hollywood artists Brad Dutz and Chris Wabich, as well as opportunities to study, collaborate, and perform abroad in Ghana, West Africa; Trinidad and Tobago; Medellín, Colombia; and Bali, Indonesia. He can currently be seen freelancing in the DMV area as well as with his salsa band Salsa del Norte in Chicago the surrounding area.

On the administrative side of the arts, Michael currently serves as the General Manager for The Shed DMV, a rehearsal facility in College Park, Maryland as well as the Bandleader/Manager of his band Salsa del Norte based out of Chicago, Illinois. He previously served as the Operations Manager at the Oak Park School of Music in Oak Park, IL, Music Community Director for Your Performing Arts Center based in Yorkville, IL, Sales and Underwriting Director for 88.1FM WRFL Radio Free Lexington in Lexington, KY, and completed two internships at La Casa de la Cultura La Barquereña in Sabaneta, Colombia and The Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts in Louisville, Kentucky during his time in school. For more information about these positions, you can see his resume or find him on LinkedIn.

As a teacher, Michael has taught 60+ private students in drum set, hand percussion, concert percussion, steel pan, and piano. He has also held positions as the Steel Orchestras Assistant for the Chicago Youth Symphony Steel Orchestras, Drum Set/Percussion and Piano teacher at Your Performing Arts Center in Yorkville, IL, Co-Director of the Central Music Academy World Music Camp in Lexington, KY, in addition to masterclasses, clinics, educational performances, and group classes at grade schools, universities, and adult groups. He is also available for remote and in-home lessons, so please contact him if you are interested in setting something up!

This website highlights many of these opportunities as well as many more while also featuring some of his work from previous performance opportunities. If you enjoy or appreciate the end product even half as much as he enjoyed the process, please don’t hesitate to contact him with any questions or comments. If absolutely nothing else, he always appreciates a good conversation about music and other forms of art in our world!