Michael Carney

On June 14, 2012, Bob Cole Conservatory faculty member Dr. Michael Carney passed away. We lost a colleague and a friend–a member of our family. A memorial concert will be held on Sunday, September 16th.  We will celebrate Michael’s legacy with current and former students playing the music he loved and brought into their lives.

Dr. Carney was Director of Percussion Studies at the Bob Cole Conservatory for thirty-one years. He taught generations of percussionists and directed the World Percussion Group, Steel Drum Orchestra, and the Drums and Drummers Project. He taught classes in World Music required for all music majors and also open to the entire university.

Michael traveled the world performing, teaching, and studying. His performance expertise ranged from classical to jazz, and included musical instruments and styles from West Africa, the Caribbean, and Brazil. In the summer of 2005, Michael completed his first jazz concert tour of Brazil, performing vibraphone and steel pan in concerts. His concert in Rio de Janeiro was honored by the Jazz Society of Rio de Janeiro as the #2 International Jazz Concert of the Year (Wayne Shorter was #1) and Carney was named as the #3 International Jazz Musician of the Year (tied with Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove).

He was founder and director of the World Percussion Project, a program that took American professionals, students, and teachers abroad for intensive study of music and culture. The project has taken participants to Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and Ghana, West Africa. His musical journeys also took him to Spain, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Trinidad, the Philippines, and Thailand.

As a classical percussionist he performed with the North Carolina Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. Carney was been featured as a steel pan soloist with several symphony orchestras including the Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Tulsa Philharmonic, Modesto Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Wichita Symphony, and Long Beach Symphony Orchestra performing his own compositions.

Michael Carney was born in 1952 in Palmyra, New York. He earned degrees in percussion performance from East Carolina University, the Eastman School of Music, and North Texas State University. He also studied at the International Center for African Music and Dance in Ghana, and the Oficina de Investigaçaõ Musical and Rio Gruppo Percussaõ in Brazil. He is survived by his wife Grace and their daughter Jasmine, Nikolaus and Noelle and their mother Jann, his mother Jan, stepmother Shirley, brother Brian, and sisters Debbie and Tricia.

Please help us celebrate Michael’s life by leaving your memories, stories, and comments below. The comments will be moderated to off keep spam, so your comment may not show up immediately.

[if you would like to download the collage used as the background for this site, please visit: Carney Collage]

41 thoughts on “Michael Carney

  1. Rest in Peace Michael. Condolences to family, students, friends and extended family.

    Dan Moore
    Kindred Spirit in Percussion

  2. I wish to send my deeply felt condolences to Michael’s family, students, and friends on the loss of such a wondrful man, musician and mentor. He will be missed .

  3. Rest in peace Dr. Carney. He was an awesome teacher. I remember that he was always easy for me to talk to you and was always full of excitement when teaching his classes. He was a great teacher, mentor and musician and will truly be missed. My condolences to his family, students and friends.

  4. Both my wife Cheryl and I had the opportunity to study with Michael while at CSULB. He turned the percussion program around and was a kind and inspiring mentor to so many of us. Our prayers go out to his family; may he rest in peace.

  5. The first time I met him was at CSULB music auditions during my senior year of high school. I remember I wore my obnoxiously bright blue shirt that day. I played in the wrong octave of the marimba cause I’d never seen one so big. I couldn’t figure out the timpani cause they had pedals I wasn’t used to. He was very understanding. I did my audition, and he right away told me I would be accepted into the music department, and that I’d get a scholarship for it. It may have been his personality alone that made me decide on going to CSULB.

    Me and Resa Barillas were the only 2 of 10 freshmen allowed to get lessons from Dr. Carney. I can’t remember every lesson, but I remember I generally left them feeling like I sucked, but wasn’t so defeated that I wanted to quit. This ultimately drove me to practicing my ass off and getting better.

    Dr. Carney also headed the Steel Drum Orchestra, one of my favorite classes. Not only because the music was incredibly fun, but because Dr. Carney would tell the most amazing stories about his adventures in other countries, with other eccentric people. Some of them you didn’t even believe; getting mugged at knifepoint, crowds of women publicly peeing together at a concert, sneaking in video cameras in third world dance clubs, hordes of pickpocketers in Brazil, cramming for finals for 2 weeks living on M&Ms and soda. The one thing he’d do that would always crack me up was when he’d visually set up a drumset fill as if he were throwing a ball up in the air and hitting it with a baseball bat.

    He also taught Music of the World class. I got to learn about taiko drumming, African drumming, Trinidadian/Tobagan steel drumming, Brazilian drumming, so much stuff. Tons of wonderful homemade videos, too.

    The most prominent ideas from him were “when the cat is away, the mice do not play.” He’d use this whenever he would be absent from rehearsal, telling us not to goof off. In regards to reading music, he’d tell us “It’s like driving, you can’t look 3 inches in front of you or you’ll crash; you have to look way ahead.” Also had “if you’re bored, it’s because you’re a boring person.” He also had the idea of how if you learn just one thing every day, that’s 365 things a year.

    It was thanks to him that I got to experience my Brazil trip in 2009. A 2-week class where we learned about Brazilian percussion every day. Went to a few concerts. Got to hang with my buddies. Here, he divulged even better stories. Stories of past students who’d hooked up with Brazilian girls, only to get mugged. One student who’d met a Brazilian girl and married her later. One student who told him he was staying in Brazil and not going back to the US. My fondest memory of him came on one of the last nights. He played in a jazz club for his students. No student at CSULB had ever heard or seen him play drumset, and then he did. It was hilarious how much his soloing reflected his zany personality.

    His performances with Drums & Drummers, and his Faculty Artist Series, and even just hearing him solo in the practice rooms would give me and everyone chills. So much talent in one guy. I can usually find something to complain about in a teacher, but Dr. Carney was flawless.

    Jam in peace Dr. Carney!

  6. There are no words to adequately express my sorrow about the passing of my beloved friend and colleague. Although his physical body is gone,his great spirit will live on through his work,his music,and in the lives of all the students who had the privilege of studying with him.

    We had many conversations over the years about teaching and just about everything under the sun,and I learned so much from him. He also talked about his ongoing battle with cancer,and was amazingly supportive when I was asked to teach his World Music course for one semester. The students in the class rose to the occasion,and we worked together,hoping that Michael would return to teaching.
    I remember seeing him in the parking lot near the Music buildings,and we would pause to say hello and catch up on things. He was doing chemotherapy and we talked about it,and I remember how he tried to keep his energy and spirit up despite the ordeal and devastating effect that chemo has on the body.
    What a shining and courageous example he set for all of us….I’m still trying to process all of this,and my heart goes out to Grace,Jasmine and his family. I can only imagine what they are going through,but hope they know that we will be there for them.
    Rest in peace,dear Michael….I will miss you very much.

  7. Thou i met him briefly I know he was a truly great man The world isa bit sadder for loosing a great of a person what an honor for those who had the opportunitynot only to have met him but to have him as a professor. Hugs and kisses to his beloved wife and daughter. Lgets all listen to a wonderful jazz session to honor his life and the wonderful gift of music he gave us all.LONG LIVE MICHAEL.

  8. I didn’t know Michael very well (he was an Eastman student when I was in high school) but was moved that during his last months, and clearly very ill, he wanted to travel to Indianapolis to be with friends in the percussion community at PASIC.

    My thoughts are with his family.

    John R. Beck

  9. I had the pleasure of being in grad school at East Carolina University shortly before Michael completed his undergrad degree. He was an amazing, talented percussionist and was a friend to many over all these years. It is tragic and sad that his life was cut short; he will be missed by so many. I am thankful to have known him as a friend and colleague. My deepest condolences to his family….

  10. I was sad to read this this morning, please keep me posted about any upcoming events to celebrate his life. It has been over a decade since CSULB and I still remember my time with Dr. Carney. The drumming, the dancing and the stories. I was hoping one day my son would learn from him as so many students did. Then I realize he still may do just that through his students. It wasn’t just music with him, it encompassed all you were in the moment. To a man who really knew how to live. Vita Brevis, Ars longa- and it shall continue to live through all you have given us. Thank you so much.

  11. Dr. Carney was by far my favorite college professor, and I wasn’t even a percussion major. I had the privilege of being in his Steel Drum Orchesta for many years and took his World Music class. He was an amazing musician, outstanding educator and loved by all. Thank you Dr. Carney for all you taught me.
    My sincere condolences to Dr. Carney’s family and friends.

  12. MIke was not only a great student but a great person. We continued to keep in touch after graduation and I am extremely pleased with the successful career he had. He left his mark on the percussion community. He will be missed but never forgotten. John H. Beck

  13. I too was deeply saddened to learn of Michael’s passing.

    I didn’t often work/play directly with him when I was at CSULB from 1996-2000 (and then in 2004), but I did get to perform with him one time. I was struck by his incredibly solid musicianship and wonderful smile! What a cool guy. And a heck of a marimba player!

    You will be missed Michael, and your music will live on.

  14. In March of 2005, I auditioned for the CSULB music department. After driving six hours from Northern California, enduring all the stress of the audition and placement exam, my dad and I started walking away from the music department to head back to our hotel. On our way out, Arnel stopped us and invited us to attend the Steel Drum Orchestra concert that was scheduled for that evening. Though exhausted, we decided to stick around to check it out. The concert started at 8 PM, and by 8:15, I was ready to cancel my remaining auditions at other schools! Seven years later, my dad and I still talk about how much fun that one concert was.

    Dr. Carney was the perfect example of the camaraderie of musicianship. While I was at Long Beach, the percussionists were always such a close-knit group, and it was clear that they adored Dr. Carney. The percussion department is a fun, high-energy group-always hanging out together, laughing together, and always jamming on whatever they could hit. This spirit is a direct result of the influence of Dr. Michael Carney. Though he is no longer with us physically, the culture he created at the Cole Conservatory will be around for many years to come. Thank you, Dr. Carney, for the musical mark you have left on this world.

  15. I remember getting close to the end of college in about 1981 and hearing that I could take a beginner’s jazz improv class. Cool! I didn’t know much about it, but it didn’t keep me from being interested. So I signed up.

    Oops. I heard it was a New Jersey percussionist who was teaching it. What would a drummer know about jazz improv. I quickly found out when he pulled out a marimba and KILLED it showing us stuff. Wow. The New Jersey stereotype went out the door.

    The first day of his first jazz improv class, he told us: ‘Call me Michael’. Not Mr Carney, because I’m only a couple years older than you. And I don’t like being called Mike. It’s Michael, okay?’ We stared at each other and said nothing. There was a little giggle and he went on.

    What’s your name? Someone answered ‘Jason’. He said, ‘you don’t like it if someone calls you Jay, right? ‘No’, he said. How about you?’ I said, ‘Brian’. He asked do people call you ‘Bri’. I said, not really.

    He turned to a black singer in the class and asked, ‘what’s your name’? She said, ‘Kay’.

    He said, ‘I guess there’s not much you can do to that one except call you ‘K’. (actually the phonetic SOUND of the letter ‘K’, not sounded out like ‘kay’.)

    We all laughed. He did it very light-hearted and we moved on.

    We proceeded to work on simple improv, modulations, turnarounds, chord changes, scales, triads, feeling the groove and making it simple. What a good course it was from a guy who really surprised me. He changed my world musically, and with such a gentle spirit.

    Michael Carney was an extraordinary person. We hadn’t communicated since September 2011, and he assured me he was in a good place and his family was around him supportively. I am filled with tears as I remember my time with him as he unlocked a whole new world to me as I took his jazz improv class. My entire thinking changed with regard to music. I have never listened to it quite the same since then, back in 1981 right after he came to CSULB. RIP my friend and thank you for your great contribution to the world of music, the quality of the lives of countless others, and to me, a thankful brass player who learned improv from a percussionist.

  16. I had the opportunity to see his passion for world music in his World Music class before his battle with cancer began, and am thankful that I was able to hear the stories and see videos of some of the amazing things he has done. Dr.Michael Carney was an inspiration to so many students throughout the years and his attitude and energy will be sorely missed on the campus of CSULB. So glad to hear you got to see so many of your friends and students in those final days!!

  17. I just learned this morning that Michael Carney passed away yesterday. While I can’t say I was one of his closest friends, I can say he did consider me a friend and colleague. I will always be proud that I was one of the bassists he would hire for gigs, and that he counted me among those great musicians that he chose to perform with. I will always feel honored by that.
    Michael was a collector of stories and would gladly share them with you on a job when there was some down time. The best part of the stories he shared was that most of them had a punch line. :)
    Not being a percussionist, I didn’t have as much time with him at CSULB as many of my friends did in an educational setting, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn from him. He was one of the few that gave me the sage advice of what it really is to be a musician in todays world. During our last conversation we talked for quite a while about fatherhood. At the time I was just about to become a father and he had just had his youngest child as well just recouperating from some of his aggressive cancer treatments. While I will not recount what wisdom he shared with me because I believe that conversation was a gift meant for me that he wanted to give me as a new father, I will say that that conversation changed my entire view of my career, my family, and my life. You’re missed my friend.

  18. 1997. I was introduced to a percussionist named Dave by my daughter and I was put to work sawing wood helping create a storage area so that the percussionists would have a place to put away instruments when done rehearsing. I then met the head of the department and was told to call him “Doctor Carney.” He liked our work. I had no idea how much I would come to like his and Dave’s work. For Dave and Dr. Carney I recorded performances on their video equipment, I sold a few souvenirs and I watched as my daughter became a wonderful percussionist. My wife and I attended concerts, performances, debuts, guest ensembles and recitals. We went to the Steel Drum Orchestra performances where Dr. Carney was always HOT, HOT, HOT! And we learned a lot about African drums and gourds and keyboards and we found it as interesting as anything we had ever seen. And the sounds were very special and so were all the purcussionists we met. My daughter married another purcussionist from CSULB, too. She has told us that Dr. Carney helped her to develop organization and that she appreciates that need for perfection from what she was taught. Dr. Carney was a big part of her life at that time and his influence continues these many years later. There is no doubt that the many students who learned from him still benefit for a lifetime. What I have read and seen these last few weeks on FaceBook and in emails about the end of Dr. Carney’s life, the display of love from students and colleagues as they played instruments, sang, prayed and encouraged him were nothing short of beautiful. I got to work a little for him and just for a short time. I lost a friend who, just until a few weeks ago, was swapping notes with me on FaceBook and who still asked how my daughter and her husband were doing. I am very sorry for this community’s loss but very thankful that I got to know Michael and many of you. I am thankful that I got to see so many of you on stage and in church halls and on gigs and playing in restaurants and at the convention center and more. The best compliment you can ever pay Dr. Carney is to keep on performing to the best of your ability and to pass on what you have learned from him. May he rest in peace and may our Heavenly Father give comfort to his family as well as his extended musical family.

  19. Michael was an inspiration to me while I was an undergraduate at North Texas. I had the privilege of watching him perform on drum set, marimba and vibes on recitals, but I had another privilege of being able to perform with him in wind ensemble. I was always amazed at how he was able to play so well and so effortlessly in different genres, and sound terrific. My thoughts are with his family and also with his students and colleagues.

  20. Dr. Carney,

    Although I have only known you for a short amount of time, the inspirations and experiences you have given me are unforgettable. You have taught me the true meaning of hard work, dedication, and determination. When I first met with you a couple years back asking about the percussion program and my career choice in music, the first words out of your mouth were words of guidance and inspiration. Since then it took me awhile until I auditioned and got accepted into the program. You saw potential in me that I failed to see in myself at the time, had faith in my abilities, and gave me my chance, allowing me to stand in front of many doors of opportunities. Aside from music, you continued to give me words of advice when I talked about personal problems and conflicts and needed help deciding which paths and life decisions I needed to make. From day one of meeting with you, I have looked back at these brief and impactful moments and used your powerful words to better myself as a person. Watching you care and love all your students was admirable and I’m sure you made everyone feel like they could turn to you which many has done so, including myself. I promise to continue to take all the powerful words you have said to me and strive for my goals and aspirations. You have taught me that anything is achievable and nothing in life is impossible if you have the passion and desire. As much as there is to say, what I would like to say the most is Thank You from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done. You’ll be missed and loved always. Rest in Peace Dr. Carney.

  21. I may not have known Dr. Michael Carney for very long or nearly as well as a lot of my peers, but I was fortunate enough to be able to have him in my first experiences at CSULB, mainly the African ensemble. The amount of respect I have for you Dr. C is bigger than words can describe; you touched so many people’s lives and helped so many to go so far on their paths as musicians. At the beginning of the 2011 school year, you addressed your cancer and said that sometimes life presents us with challenges and we just have to move past them and push forward. That has and will always stick with me. Again, I didn’t know you as long as most of my peers, but you nonetheless had a profound effect on my life and for that I thank you. May the place you dwell in beyond be filled with music, happiness, and peace. Thank you Dr. Carney!

  22. Words do not fully express my sadness I feel for the loss of a great person, musician and educator nor can they express the gratitude I have for having been one of the many who had the good fortune to have been taught by him. Dr. Carny was an amazing musician and educator who could clearly explain musical ideas and ignite passion in others. Two of the most important traits of any music educator.

    As an educator, I have come to fully realize all that Dr. Carny taught our World Music Cultures class and use it frequently in and out of the classroom. Going beyond the classroom has been my greatest attribute as a teacher by making connections musically with students, parents, administration and community by having an understanding of others cultures and music. Moreover, his teaching has allowed me to continue his passion to a new generation of music students and helped bridge bonds between students of different cultures.

    Oddly enough, the day I heard of his passing, I had earlier in the day come across a project I had written for his class. It was the first scholarly paper I had written as a music student. It brought back many fond memories of Dr. Carny and how much I learned from his example as an educator.

    I wish peace and healing to his family and children. Dr. Carney will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

  23. I have been hesitating to post or comment about Dr. Carney because of the depth of my emotion. As well, the private discussions he and I had about life, death, love, and LIFE are precious to me. (Yes, life is in there twice for emphasis.)

    I missed opportunities to get to know him better, spend more time with him …. but the impression he made on me are permanent and profound. It is a terrible loss to many of us; I do not yet understand this part of our existence and may never. Still, I come back to one of the conversations we had that I’ll never forget … let me cut right to the chase: “This, too, shall pass.” Regardless of our circumstance(s) at any given time, they will change. They will evolve. They will pass. As Grace wrote, perhaps there is a reason he did not live to see his 60th birthday. This, we cannot know, and perhaps we shouldn’t try to understand, for it might lead to more sorrow and frustration. I believe that were he to give advice to those of us who mourn with such sorrow, he would encourage us to be present for each other, to explore on our own, to LIVE NOW, to read the book, The Power of Now, and to follow our passions. And to LOVE.

    Dr. Carney, I wish we could gather the fascinating people, tribal leaders and all, that you met and touched and by whom you were influenced and they by you, and gain insight on a bigger scale – a more world-wide scale, as it were … open up our minds a bit to the “meaning of life” so that we can live on, in your honor, for as we all know, people are IRREPLACABLE. You, Dr. Carney, made a mark on my life. I mourn and weep for this the loss I feel, for I am a mere mortal myself with lots of emotion and love in my heart. AND, I celeebrate your life – fascinating, full of intrigue and adventure. That you came to work, to teach others, to share of yourself while you were undergoing treatment is, in itself, a HUGE lesson for us. How did you do it? I marveled every time I saw you. I love you, and I extend my love and respect to your wife, your three children, and all of those who were close to you. I miss you. I thank you. I am not good at letting go or saying goodbye … but I want to take from our conversations that which I believe you would want me to take from them. I think you would wish for us to LIVE.

    Libations … I may pour mine on the ground, but it will be in your honor!!

  24. Thought I would like to share something that happened to me yesterday (Thursday)…

    I cried a lot in the morning, and it was difficult to talk to anyone about anything without breaking down. But after a few hours, I was getting to the point where I felt could go back and teach in the afternoon. I left my house to go teach at Chino Hills and I put some jams on in the car to keep me positive for my students. Everything was fine, I was thinking about my rehearsal plan, etc…then unexpectedly in the middle of this funky upbeat song, I felt a huge rush of emotion well up inside me and almost had to pull over. But slowly the feeling passed and I was totally at peace the rest of the day once I got in front of my students.

    I was scheduled to start teaching at 3pm yesterday, and this emotional burst happened about 10-15 minutes before I arrived a little late to the school.

    It was 3 hours later when I actually found out Michael passed around 2:55pm.

    We are all connected by something greater…I know this now, I felt it deep in my heart. The love and admiration shared between Michael, YOU, Jann, Nikko, Noelle, lil’ Jazzy and ALL of us will always be a guiding light in my life.

    Cheers to the woman of steel, SuperGrace!

  25. Today I said goodbye to my biggest mentor and dear friend, Dr. Michael Carney. He made me the musician and person that I am today. Words cannot express my infinite gratitude for everything he has given me.

    A hospital room OVERFLOWING with loving students, friends, and family showed only a fraction of the lives he has changed forever.

    Your passion and wisdom lives on in every note I will ever write or play. Thank you, I love you, and I’ll be looking forward to our next jam on the other side!

  26. Sincere condolences for the loss of Michael Carney. I studied briefly with him when I was undergraduate at UNT in 1981 and I kept in touch with him at PASIC’s as I pursued a career as a percussionist and educator. He was a terrific musician and an amazingly diverse percussionist. I think all of these tributes from his many students speak to the fact that he will be remembered in many ways and that his legacy as a teacher will continue forever in his students and in their students.

  27. Michael and I were students together at North Texas and shared many wonderful performing experiences there. After we went our different ways, it was always a treat to meet at a PASIC and hang with Michael and hear all that he was involved with in his life. When I saw him in Indianapolis in November, I was stunned to see the changes in his physical appearance, but in spite of all he was dealing with, he still wanted to connect with other friends and fellow musicians. I will fondly remember his enthusiasm for making music and for living life to the fullest. My condolences to family, friends and students who had the great opportunity of being a part of his life.

  28. The day I remember most is the semester I was trying to learn jazz vibes and was getting ready for my Junior Recital. There was a particular week that I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed and I went to Dr. Carney because I felt I couldn’t devote my time to learning jazz vibes anymore. I started balling in his office and he handed me a tissue box and that was when he became more of a fatherly figure to me. He told me not to worry about the jazz vibes lessons, that we could focus more on my recital and just asked me to talk and let it out, whatever I was feeling at the time. It was then that I realized, he was not only a teacher, he was my friend who just wanted me to support me. I’ll never forget that day, I still think about that talk every time I have to put on a solo show.

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there during these hard few days because I live in NYC, but my dear friend and colleague, Amanda Duncan, passed along a video I made for him. Whether he was strong enough to watch or even just listen, I was glad that I could be there for a portion of the time in a different way to say my proper goodbye. You will be greatly missed, but most of all, I am excited for the new journey you’re about to experience. Much love.

  29. I was in Michael’s first jazz improv class at CSULB back in the early 80′s. I’ll never forget when he introduced himself…”Hi, my name is Michael Carney. Not Mike. If your name is Richard, you wouldn’t want me to call you Dick unless you were one.” Amen to that. Loved his class and have enjoyed following his magnificent career and seeing how many people he touched.

  30. I knew of the program Dr. Carney was creating long before I began my studies at CSULB in 2010. Sometime around 2004 I was invited to a concert in which I remembered all the drummers dancing around and playing in stellar, virtuosic fashion. I was in awe at the technique level. Prior to this I had mostly been exposed to the drumming regimentation of Drum Corps and Marching Bands, as well as the indoor marching circuit. And, thus I had a very narrow view of what a percussionist was and could be.

    I believe that concert changed my known drumming paradigm on its head and opened the possibilities I had to explore in my compositional writings and listening.

    While at CSULB, I had very little interaction with him outside of my one Music and Cultures class that I took my first semester at CSULB. I remember him being incredibly enthusiastic about what he was doing–even at 8am in the morning, when all the rest of us were begrudgingly waddling into an early class. We had to introduce ourselves in front of the class. Something I was not privy to doing at all (I was rather shy), but he made it enjoyable and non judgmental. In the most confident way I could, I announced that I was getting my BM in Music Composition. He remarked, “Oh, so in other words you are majoring in music theory to become a professor in theory?” Since I wanted to just say what I had to say and be done as quickly as possible, so that I could escape the hundreds of eyes burning holes into me, I looked at him rather shocked. ‘What do I say now,’ I thought. I pondered for a moment what he had said, trying to find out if he was mocking me or if that was just his sense of humor, but I realized the truth in it and I couldn’t help but smile back at him and reply, “Yes, I meant I plan to become a professor…in…music theory.”

    It is something I still tell people today when they ask me what I am going to do with my life. “So, Shase, what are you majoring in, what do you plan to do with your life?” I tend to reply, “Well, I’m majoring as a Music Composition major and if all goes well I hope that I’ll be able to make a decent living simply writing music, but I understand the reality is that I’ll be teaching in a University somewhere–which does not make me unhappy at all.”

    Dr. Carney was a teacher after all, an absolutely stunning percussionist who probably could have easily made a living just doing that. But, I know he loved sharing his knowledge. You could see it in his 8am enthusiasm. While I never had the opportunity to talk to him outside of the brief moments I had questions in class or needed something in his office I can confidently say that if I were to ever be able to become a music teacher, with all the spark of Dr. Carney, that it would be an absolute honor and privilege.

    If ever I can make a difference in the hearts and minds of our future generations, as he has, I could say that I have lived a full and filling life.

    Rest well, Dr. Carney.

  31. Tonight, I am really present to what a contribution Dr. Michael Carney was to my life, and the legacy he is leaving behind. His office door was always open, and he was always available to listen. When I felt like I was in competition with other musicians, he told me never to compare myself to other people. I used to have a conversation in my head about how good enough I was not or never will be, and he knew me to be much bigger than that. I even gave up practicing since leaving his program at CSULB, and stopped putting myself out there to strive to be great as a musician. Right now, I am choosing to let that point-of-view fade away along with Dr. Carney’s life. Love and condolences go out to Grace Carney and the Carney family. His memory and wisdom will live on!!

  32. I just learned of Michael’s passing this morning, and words cannot even begin to express the sadness I feel. My heart grieves. My heart aches.

    I live in Milwaukee now, and sing with the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus. For most concerts, I sit in the front row, directly behind a percussionist, or two.

    While I knew that Michael was nearing the end of his time on earth with us, I still feel quite unprepared. I shared a great deal about Michael with one of the percussionists at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last night (Saturday). I also had been discussing my future percussion ensemble composition with the principal MSO percussionist who will be facilitating its performance. This weekend, I had been thinking of Michael especially because I sit behind the marimba, xylophone, and vibraphone for this weekend’s concerts. All of this happened without knowing that Michael had moved on to the next phase of his journey.

    In honor of Michael Carney, I dedicate this weekend’s MSO Pops performances to him. http://www.mso.org/tickets/detail?perfid=14194

    I would have never known about world percussion without Michael, and he’s a tremendous influence in that area. I took percussion methods because seeing him perform inspired me. I remember how he pointed me in the right direction for composing a percussion ensemble, and let me know what ensemble pieces to study. Michael even provided the pieces for me! I treasure the conversations with him in the DRH sound booth.

    RIP Dr. Michael Carney. I will miss you very much. I will treasure my memories of you. Much love and condolences to all.

  33. Two years ago I enrolled into the Intro to Music Cultures class at CSULB. I never really spoke personally with the man who taught the class, but I loved every lecture I had the chance to witness. This professor spoke with a lot of passion and talked of his adventures around the world. He spoke of the traditions he got to share with other people, as well as spiritual encounters he had across the globe.

    One day, class was cancelled for my Music Cultures class. I didn’t think anything of it at first, maybe even thought it was convenient at first, but then class after class was cancelled in a row. I didn’t know what to think of it until one day, when I rolled into the music office, I saw the giant get well soon card for my professor. He had just been diagnosed with cancer. It was a strange thing for me to grasp: this man who had been so full of life, who had traveled around the globe and talked of spirituality in his cultural encounters, was all of a sudden too sick to go to work.

    It was a long battle for this man, which in turn leads us to today. It’s very eye-opening to see how much this one man has touched so many lives. Although I never really talked to this man personally, I can’t help feeling a wave of emotions as this man has finished going through what the father figure in my life went through only three months ago. He finally got the opportunity to cross into the spiritual world that he lectured to my class about two years ago. RIP Michael Carney

  34. I don’t really have much close ties with Dr. Carney, but what really hit me is his philosophical wisdom he had to offer on my first day of MUS 490 (Introduction to Music Cultures). Every first day of class, the professors go on about important information in regards to the class (i.e. going over the syllabus) and Dr. Carney, already battling cancer, gave us a disclaimer that he may be absent for a few days for therapy. This is the part where I have a vivid memory of him. He said:

    “Do not feel sorry for me. As a matter of fact, don’t feel sorry for me. Everyone has life obstacles in whatever shape and form and this is something I need to get across.”

    This initially seemed very negative, but it’s actually the other way around. Immediately, I was so inspired by not only his words, but his will to fight for his life whatever the outcome may be. He would not bow down to negativity and was giving his all to win! His strong spirit is overwhelming and amazing; you can tell by how many people he has influenced!

    Thank you so much for your wisdom Dr. Carney! I’m sure you would have loved this quote:

    “Even if things don’t unfold the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end.”

  35. Michael, Bon Voyage!

    Grace, Jasmine, Nikolaus, Family and Friends, my heartfelt condolences to you. Michael will be missed beyond measure.

    Michael and Pandemonium played at my wedding reception in September, 2009. We treasure those memories.

    What a privilege it was to work with Michael during his March visit to LBMMC. It was a blessing to meet Grace, Jasmine and Nikolaus during that time.

    May you all be surrounded by love and good vibes.

  36. I’m a little shocked now since I learned about Michael’s death just now on the net. We met when he first was hired as a percussion/jazz instructor. At the time, Michael, as he liked to be called, Added a new and innovative way to see and feel music. I performed in his first big band, the II band, which out performed the I band at the Chaffey Jazz Fest. The lesson I learned was: music was based on communication with one another, not on a group of soloists. I also attended his first jazz history class which at time was new in the curriculum. Michael went on to establish one of most remarkable world percussion programs of any university simply by his drive and love of teaching and playing. It’s been over 25 years since we’ve spoken, but I remember time as if it were yesterday. My life has been enriched as many others. I thank you Michael for having known you. Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhistva.

  37. As an on again, off again student at CSULB from 1978-1988, music performance in college was always a part of my life. Somewhere between 1985 and 1986 I remember being enrolled a music appreciation type of course…or perhaps it was a history course, whatever it was, Dr. Carney (or maybe it was Mr. Carney at the time) was our instructor. His humor and style of teaching made the class very enjoyable and interesting. On a day when he brought in his steel drum set, I was intrigued. After watching him play, I told him that without seeing the inside of the drums and striking mallets, I imagined that he was mixing a giant salad. He thought that was amusing because it was the first time he had ever heard that description of a steel drum being played. Years would pass and I attended many of the Steel Drum Christmas and Spring concerts at Cal State and always enjoyed his percussion performances and accompanying stories. My condolences to the family of Dr. Carney and to his beloved friends and fellow musicians.

  38. I remember the phone conversation I had with Michael Carney back in 1993. I was living in Ohio, in music school at OSU and hoping to transfer. I am thankful he persuaded me to come out to Cal State, Long Beach. I had a great experience there. I remember talking with him about the different bands, Samba Band, African Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and Steel Drum Orchestra. At first, I wasn’t sure about the Steel Drum Orchestra. He said, “Oh, everybody plays in the Steel Drum Band. Trust me, you’re gonna love it.” Of course he was right. What a blast! At the time, I had no idea how much I’d end up playing steel drums in my musical and professional life. Dr. Carney had a wide musical knowledge and he was a great musician, drummer, steel drummer, vibraphonist, marimbist and percussionist. He was a dynamic person, a fun conversationalist and a super cool guy. I’m thankful I knew him, got to study and spend time with him. I will miss him.