Michael began playing guitar at the age of eight, influenced by his grandfather, a New York City musician. He continued to learn guitar and took up saxophone as well, playing in the school band.

After moving to central Florida with his family in 1980, Michael spent much of high school in various rock bands, while continuing to study guitar privately.

As a guitar major in college, he was deeply influenced by jazz, including Bebop figures Charlie Parker and Bud Powell, trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Keith Jarrett, and guitarists Mike Stern, John Scofield, Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin.

After earning a B.A. in Guitar Performance from the University of Central Florida, he became intrigued with country guitar, particularly the playing of Albert Lee, Nashville session musician Brent Mason, Tony Rice, Danny Gatton, and Johnny Hiland.

Michael toured for 5 years with Nashville singer David Mathis and is one of the most sought-after country guitarists in Central Florida. He has played countless gigs in all styles of music and has worked or played with jazz saxophonists Sam Rivers and Steve Skinner, country guitarists Johnny Hiland and Bill Kirchen, country artists Toby Keith, Kevin Sharp, Mark Wills and Gary Allan, as well as members of southern rock band Molly Hatchet.

Michael has also played guitar in several theatre productions, most recently Godspell. He has been on the faculty of the National Guitar Workshop for the past seven years and continues his 17-year private teaching practice. Michael currently plays in Florida's premier top-forty dance band, The Boomers, and is writing a country guitar instructional book for Hal Leonard Publications. He can be reached at michaelh@michaelhawley.net