Meet Our Founder — Donovan Mixon

Performance Ear Training was founded by renowned artist, Donovan Mixon — take some time to meet world-renowned artist, esteemed professor, and famed jazz artist!

Meet Your Performance Ear Training Mentor

Ambidextrous crossover artist and National Endowment for the Arts grantee Donovan Mixon, is a self described citizen of the world. He presently lives in Chicago performing in clubs, concert halls and festivals with his World Jazz Quintet as well with the GBME – Great Black Music Ensemble of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) of which he is a recent inductee. With his lengthy legacy of experiences, he’s leveraged these experiences to help teach hundreds of students, and move closer to their musical dreams.

After forty years as a professional musician and educator (Berklee College of Music in Boston, University of Bologna in Italy, Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey) Donovan completely understands what it feels like to confront sight singing melodies without knowing where/how to begin.

He knows the stone cold challenge of being asked to read or transpose music on sight or the panic of getting lost in an arrangement without the ears to find your way back.

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The Performance Ear Training Difference

Here's why you should consider working with Donovan Mixon to elevate your musical ability.
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Years Teaching
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5-Star Reviews
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Happy Students
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Success Stories

Why You Should Work With Donovan

With over 40 years of teaching experience Donovan is equipped to take your musical ability to the next level — hear the difference at Performance Ear Training

Performance Ear Training Live Online Class

Performance Ear Training is based upon a set of Unique Study Concepts… …designed to help you develop an innate physical response to notes, intervals and chords and allow the ear to do its work. It is a LIVE course conducted via Zoom. Like listening to music played by live musicians, live lessons yield a multi-sensory experience. You get the materials directly, in the voice of the instructor. Along with his voice, you can HEAR and OBSERVE the effort of your instructor as he moves between EXPLAINING and DEMONSTRATING.

In other words, you WITNESS his process in real time and the level of energy and concentration he EXPENDS to present each topic.You are engaged throughout with a highly interactive curriculum and leave each session with useful homework.There is no judgment, you get to see/hear the process of your peers as they confront the exact same challenges and you can ask as many questions as you need.

It’s a safe environment in which you get to study with a group of like minded musicians who seek to Close The Gap between their ambition and their abilities.

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Private Coaching

During private coaching sessions, you get the full attention of Prof. Mixon who’s years of sitting with hundreds of students over the years, affords him the ability to specifically analyze, diagnose and prescribe specific solutions for whatever problems or questions you may have. Consider the Performance Ear Training difference when you want to elevate your musical ability!

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Recorded Courses

Study at your own pace by way of topic specific recorded courses. As with the live sessions, the emphasis is upon how to study to improve your Musical Aural Perception. The growing list of courses are updated periodically with new challenges and ideas designed to help you develop an innate physical response to notes, intervals and chords and allow the ear to do its work.

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Intro To Performance Ear Training

  • Staff & Notes
  • Ledger Lines
  • Movable DO
  • Scales & Keys
  • Writing and Singing Exercises
  • Pattern Exercises
  • Memorization
  • Repertoire
  • Transposition
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Intro To Sight-Singing

  • Diatonic & Chromatic Solfege
  • Counting & Conducting
  • Key & Time Signatures
  • e & Rest Values
  • Intervals
  • Ties
  • Patterns
  • Study Concepts
  • Flattening the rhythms, Deep listening, Concept of Continuance, Inner Hearing, Sustaining DO, Patience.
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What My Students and Colleagues Say

Mr. Mixon is a highly accomplished performer, composer and arranger, and a devoted teacher/clinician and administrator with broad experience on an international level.

Alan DubenProfessor, Department of Sociology, Instanbul Bilgi Universities

Donovan was an exciting addition to our camp curriculum. I was amazed at how easily he was to adapt to not only different age ranges but levels of ability. From first day beginners to advanced players, Donovan took command of his students' attention in a very subtle way. They respected and liked him. I felt lucky to observe him in the classroom and found his vast knowledge of music curriculum astounding.

Lesley Piccihietti ByersDirector of Communications an Outreach, Chicago Jazz Phil

I was first introduced to Donovan Mixon in my home town Ferrara, Italy when I was a young student trying to leam everything he could about music and improvisation. At that time Donovan was teaching and performing extensively in my country. Hearing him play his compositions really inspired me to pursue my own style both as a composer and a performer.

Daniele SantimoneMusic Teacher and Performer, Scuola Comunale di Musica

Naturally I was pleased to learn of Mr. Mixon's credentials and accomplishments at our first meeting at Kennedy-King College. However his personal history: dedication to music, jazz, education, and world travels made an even greater impression upon me. After only a cursory perusal of his background and references I was chagrined at the cold reality of budget restrictions that precluded my ability to bring him on board in our music department immediately.

Dr. Curtis PrinceMusic Instructor, Kennedy-King College

At Berklee Donovan was regarded as a hard working successful academic and teacher among his peers and the student population. His service to the college in both the department of ear-training and ensembles were seen as very important contributions to curriculum design and systems of evaluation and are still in use today.

Darcy HepnerProgram Coordinator, Professor of Music, Mohawk College

Performance Ear Training offers a trustworthy and elegant self study map.(It) has my unequivocal endorsement.

Bill LoweAfrican American Music and Jazz Studies Northeastern University

I recommend Donovan Mixon’s Performance Ear Training to all professional drummers. It works! Our most important duty is supporting the band and the key to that is “listening”. Performance Ear Training taught me the importance of that.

Ferit OdmanJazz Drummer & Media star

It really sharpened my hearing and understanding of pitch relationships - pitch in general. I find myself much better able to direct my students to harmonic patterns and get them thinking about the underlying chord structures of what they are playing. What you get out of it is ‘refinement’.

Natalia MannClassical and jazz harpist and teacher

As for the P.E.T .: it changed my life !!! I was able to sharpen my ear, improve my approach to the instrument, tackle harmonic turns without knowing the songs. Thanks Don for all this!

Massimiliano Macs-Sacs CobianchiProfessional saxophonist

This class has improved my literacy with jazz and music in general. It has really helped me to listen a lot better.

EvansLifelong Amateur Classical/Jazz Guitarist

I recommend this method to the serious student who wants to move from point “A” to point “B” in a logical progression of activities for the development of “hearing” on the instrument.

Greg BadolatoFormer Department Chair Berklee College of Music

As a drummer, I’ve always envied the ability to instantly recognize harmonies, melodies, tension... If it weren’t for Mr. Mixon’s course, harmony would be like math class since I don’t play other instruments. His system helps me hear the harmonic concepts we worked on in the class.

Emre YensonDrummer

It really works! The course is incredible in that now I'm able to hear the relationships between notes, chords, and keys - where I am in a key center. I imagine in an improvisational context, can map out what others are doing and respond deliberately.

Katia Mestrovic Classical Harpist