Mike Shellans has been performing professionally on piano and trombone since age 17, joining the American Federation of Musicians in 1975. Over the course of his career, he has played for such world renowned entertainers as Bob Hope, Liberace, Sammy Davis, Jr., and George Burns; led his own groups; collaborated on a wide variety of musical projects with many local musicians, and recorded commercial CDs of his original music.

Mike was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and was introduced to music at an early age. His father, Herb Shellans, traveled the hills of North Carolina recording rural people singing folk songs for his book, Folk Songs of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mike's mother Harriet had a Master's in flute and piano from New York City College, and filled the family home with Broadway show tunes, classical and popular music. The family relocated to the southwest when Mike was 5.

Mike started piano lessons at age 8, and trombone approximately one year later because, he said, “the first sound I made on the instrument made the other kids laugh.” Throughout high school, Mike honed his passion for Jazz and improvisation, and listened to a variety of musical styles. While attending the University of Arizona, Mike formed the band Atmosphere with well-known bassist Brian Bromberg. The group was Mike's first experience with writing and arranging pieces for an intimate ensemble, and the quartet became popular at college nightspots throughout the Tucson area.

Mike has studied with a number of noted educators during his career, including Gail Wilson, Tom Ervin, Jeff Haskell, Ladd MacIntosh and Grant Wolf, and pianist Armand Boatman. While under the tutelage of Bill Yeager at the L.A. Jazz Workshop, Mike was recognized for his creativity and vitality as a Jazz improviser and his warm sound.

When the opportunity to begin teaching music presented itself, Mike returned to Arizona. While teaching part-time at ASU, Phoenix College and Grand Canyon University, Mike also performed on trombone with many of the valley's finest Jazz musicians including Cleve Huff, Dennis Rowland, Tony Malaby, Francine Reed and Fred Forney. Mike traveled with the ASU Big Band to 1983's Playboy Jazz Festival where the band, under the direction of Chuck Mahronic, won first place and performed at the Hollywood Bowl.

As a freelance studio and show trombonist throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s, Mike had the privilege of working regularly with a wide variety of artists, including Robert Goulet, the Four Tops, Natalie Cole, the O'Jays, Henry Mancini, Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees, and the Temptations; he also performed annually with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In one memorable performance, Mike shared the stage with the Moody Blues in front of an audience of over 10,000 fans. Local ensembles he has contributed to over the years include Rena Haus and the Reptiles, Tonál, the Greater Urge, and the Extreme Decibel Big Band.

Mike continues in his teaching career at Arizona State University, virtually pioneering the field of online study for the College of Fine Arts. Together with an innovative and dedicated IT team, Mike has crafted Internet music survey courses on the Beatles, Popular Music/Rock & Roll and Elvis Presley, which continue to be among the most popular offered at the college. During his 20+ years on the music faculty, Mike has received Outstanding Faculty Associate honors as well as ASU's Sun Award, presented for exemplary customer service and fostering creativity.

Approached by a local publisher in the late 1990s to write a book on Rock & Roll, Mike collaborated with Sandy Schaefer (Chadron State College) and Don Smith (Glendale Community College) on Here to Stay: Rock & Roll Through the '70s. Mike contributed a detailed song analysis to the textbook, which is currently used as a reference at universities and can also be purchased online from various sources. His second book is in stores now; it may be purchased online from Gloria Bahr at the ASU bookstore. Who is the Greatest: Elvis or the Beatles? is an in-depth comparison of these powerhouse groups. A relevant textbook suitable for Music History or Popular Culture survey courses, this volume presents a wealth of facts and context surrounding the music in an entertaining and easy-to-read style.

When he was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, a lung disease that would eventually rob him of over 50% of his lung capacity, Shellans retired from fulltime trombone work and focused on Jazz piano and keyboards. He was co-founder and principal arranger for the Metro Phoenix Jazz Orchestra, building an impressive portfolio of big band arrangements of standards and originals, then turned his attention to various recording projects. Mike also continues to appear as a clinician for the Arizona Association of Jazz Educators.



Master of Music Degree in Trombone Performance from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz and Contemporary Media from University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.


Piano, keyboards, trombone and electric bass.


1990 - present
Senior Lecturer at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, teaching Popular Music/Rock and Roll, Music of the Beatles, and Elvis Presley, web-based survey courses for non-music majors, designed by this instructor, with an enrollment of 650 students per section each semester. Other instructor-created survey courses taught include Contemporary Music and Society (Fall 1998 and Spring, 1999). Over 35,000 students have taken these various courses since their inception.

2000 - present
Adjudicator, clinician and performer for the Arizona Association of Jazz Educators Jazz Institute workshops, Phoenix and Tucson.

1999 - 2000 & 2006
Adjudicator, clinician and performer for the Mountain Side Jazz Festival, Scottsdale, Arizona.

1991 - 1994
Adjunct Faculty at Grand Canyon University teaching jazz piano, jazz combo, jazz improvisation, jazz history and serving as assistant director and performer with the concert jazz band.

1990 - 1991
Assistant Band Director at Phoenix College teaching jazz band, fundamentals of contemporary harmony, jazz improvisation, jazz piano, and serving as assistant director of the concert band.

1982 - 1990
Graduate Teaching Assistant/Faculty Associate in Jazz Studies at Arizona State University, teaching concert jazz band, jazz combo, jazz fundamentals, jazz piano, jazz/rock ensemble, jazz styles and analysis, modern arranging and Jazz in America.

1982 - 1984
Private trombone, piano, theory, and Jazz Instructor at the Desert Music Workshop, Tempe, Arizona and at in-home studio.



Mr. Gail Wilson - Associate Professor of Music, Arizona State University

Mr. William Yeager - Associate Professor of Music, University of California, San Diego

Mr. Roy Main - Los Angeles City College

Mr. Thomas Ervin - Tucson Symphony/Associate Professor of Music, University of Arizona


Studied jazz with Mr. Richard Fazio and Mr. Armand Boatman


Mr. David Cohen - Professor of Music, Arizona State University

Mr. Ronald LoPresti - Professor of Music, Arizona State University

Mr. John Gibson - University of Arizona


Mr. Joe Bethancourt

Mr. Doug Marshall


May, 2009 - present
Keyboard, composer and arranger with Powered by Jazz, a small group performing jazz originals as well as standards.

2006 - 2007
Keyboards and arranger with the Big News Band, a contemporary worship jazz ensemble.

2005 - 2008
Keyboard and electric bass with the BeTalls, a Beatles and Classic Rock cover band.

2004 - 2006
Keyboards and arranger with Ken Taylor Sextet.

2003 - 2005
Pianist, arranger and trombonist with Jazz Bones, ASU's 10-piece trombone ensemble directed by Mike Crotty.

2002 - 2004
Pianist with Mike Rebb Jazz Quartet, performing at Phoenix venues.

2000 - 2005
Co-founder, keyboards, composer/arranger, and Artistic Director for the Metro Phoenix Jazz Orchestra, a ten-piece instrumental ensemble performing in the Phoenix area.

1996 - 1999
Pianist, trombonist, and composer/arranger for the Extreme Decibel Big Band, performing throughout Arizona.

1995 - Present
Pianist, trombonist and arranger with Glendale Community College Big Band.

Summer 1990
Organist with Vidbel's Old Tyme Circus, touring New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

1987 & 1988
Arizona State University - Master's Recitals

1982 - 1987 Pianist and trombonist with the Valley Big Band directed by Grant Wolf, performing at Phoenix venues.

Lead trombone with the Arizona State University Jazz Band, performing at Playboy Jazz Festival in Hollywood, CA.

1982 - 2001
Trombone or piano for nationally touring road productions of 42nd Street, The Nutcracker Ballet, Zorba the Greek, Camelot, A Chorus Line, Peter Pan, City of Angels, Guys and Dolls, among other shows. Also performed for Arizona productions of Pal Joey, West Side Story, Girl Crazy, The Music Man, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, They're Playing Our Song, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Annie Get Your Gun, My Fair Lady, Carousel, The Big River, Annie, The King and I, Damn Yankees, South Pacific, Oliver, Gypsy, 42nd Street, Hello Dolly, Pirates of Penzance, among other shows.

Trombone or piano for local appearances of The Ice Capades, Disney on Ice, Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey Circus, Moody Blues, Bob Hope, Sammy Davis, Jr., Liberace, Johnny Mathis, Rodney Dangerfield, the Four Tops, Harry Blackstone, Jr., the Temptations, Vic Damone, Henny Youngman, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Lou Rawls, Louis Bellson, Billy Eckstein, Bernadette Peters, Glen Campbell, Suzanne Summers, Red Skelton, Donna Summer, Jay Leno, Andy Williams, the O'Jays, Henry Mancini, the Platters, Barbara Eden, Robert Goulet, Wayne Newton, George Burns, Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, Phyllis Diller, Jim Nabors, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Frankie Valli, Eric Marienthal, Bobby Shew and others.

1981 - present
Free-lance work in Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles and Palm Springs, including casuals and commercial studio recording.

1980 - 1982
Lead and jazz trombone and piano, Los Angeles Jazz Workshop A and B bands directed by Bill Yeager, performing at Disneyland and various festivals.

Lead and jazz trombone and arranger, Arizona State University Jazz/Rock Ensemble, performing at the NAJE Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

1976 - 1979
Lead and jazz trombone, University of Arizona Concert Jazz Band, directed by Jeff Haskell. Principal or section trombone, University of Arizona Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Opera Orchestra and Collegium.


Summer 1990
Tuba ensemble piece "Funky Chunk" premiered in Sapporo, Japan by the Arizona State University Tuba Ensemble, Dan Perantoni, conductor. Piece is now part of that group's performance repertoire, conducted by J. Samuel Pilafian.

Brass Quintet piece "Septemus" premiered at Banff Music Festival, Canada (1989), and also performed at Keystone Brass Summit by the Fiesta Brass.

1985 - 1996
Composer, arranger and performer with Rena Haus and the Reptiles, recording two compact discs for commercial release.

1985 - 1986
Composer and performer with El Teatro Ensemble de Arizona, a bilingual theatre troupe using an original music format and touring schools in Arizona, California and Mexico.

1984 - 1985
Composer-in-residence for Childsplay, a theatre group for children, arranging and performing original music for two productions.

1983 - 1986
Composer, arranger and performer with Tonál, a Phoenix-based Latin/Reggae/Rock band with more than fifty original tunes in its repertoire.

1980 - 1984
Composer, arranger, and conductor of original music for the Arizona State University Jazz/Rock Ensemble.

1978 - 1979
Co-founder and composer, arranger and performer with the the jazz group, Atmosphere, featured in concert at the University of Arizona, including senior recital at U of A in 1979.

1976 - 1979
Composer, arranger and performer of music for the University of Arizona drama productions including The Crucible, Merlin, The Rimers of Eldrich and Feiffer's People.

1975 - 1988
Classical compositions include a trombone quartet, brass quintet, pieces for trombone and piano, two trumpets and two trombones, woodwind trio, solo piano, flute and piano, orchestra, and symphonic band. Various Jazz compositions written for big band, combo and studio orchestra have been performed by various groups in Arizona and California.


1978 - 1979
International Trombone Association conferences.

University of Arizona Summer Music Camp.

1975 - Present
Clinics with various performers, including Bobby Herriot, Dizzy Gillespie, Marian McPartland, Dexter Gordon, Dave Friesen, Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, Gary Burton, Ron Carter, Stan Getz, Bill Evans, Bud Brisbois, Frank Rosolino, Bobby Shew, Pete Chrislieb and others.

1972 - 1975
Northern Arizona Summer Music Camps.


Arizona Bluegrass Association

2000 - 2006
Arizona Association of Jazz Educators

1996 - Present
Jazz in AZ

1979 - 1980
National Association of Jazz Educators

1978 - 1996
International Trombone Association

1976 - Present
American Federation of Musicians, Local 586


August 2001
SUN Award, Arizona State University, for exemplary service and promoting ASU.

$6,000 research grant from the College of Fine Arts, Arizona State University, to develop distance learning and new music curriculum.

1997 - 2000
Certificates for 'Outstanding Contribution to Student Life' awarded by the ASU College of Fine Arts.

Outstanding Faculty Associate award from the College of Fine Arts, Arizona State University. $500 cash award included.

Summer 1990
Certificate of Achievement from Billboard Magazine Song Writing Contest for “Lights Out at the Reptile House”.

1982 - 1987
Graduate teaching assistantships at Arizona State University.

J. Haldeman Scholarship for original music, university drama productions, University of Arizona. Los Angeles Theatre Arts award for best music in an original college production, Merlin, (University of Arizona, performed at Lincoln Center, New York).

John Phillip Sousa Award.


August 2006
Who Is the Greatest: Elvis or the Beatles?, with William Slater, published by Dorset Group. Textbook comparing these two artists was implemented in the classroom the Fall semester of 2006.

August 1997
Here to Stay: Rock and Roll through the '70s, 2nd ed., with G.W. Sandy Schaefer and Donald S. Smith. Text is currently used at several colleges; published by Gila Publishing Company.


Compact Disc of original compositions in the genre of Modern Jazz:

      2009 Pearls of Wisdom, Powered by Jazz

Compact Discs of original compositions in the genre of Pop/Adult Contemporary:

      2005 Creatures of Habit

      2004 Living in Absentia


July 2006
BeTalls performance: KTVK-TV “Good Morning Arizona”

February 2006
Interview: “Logging Into Class a Popular Option” published in ASU's Web Devil

September 2005
Slater & Shellans performance on KTVK-TV “Good Morning Arizona”

September 2005
Slater & Shellans performance on KPNX-TV (NBC) “Arizona Mid-Day”

Interview: ASU's Elvis Presley course, KPNX-TV (NBC)

Interview: ASU's Beatles course, KPNX-TV (NBC)


Bluegrass music and its related instrumentation, particularly mandolin; also studying tenor guitar and electric bass.


Listen to a variety of Mike's compositions