More About Donovan Mixon

Read more about the Guitarist, Composer, Music Clinician, Author, and Academic who founded Performance Ear Training.

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.

Donovan Mixon M.M.

Guitarist, Composer, Academic, Music Clinician, and Author


  • M.M. Jazz/Commercial Music, Manhattan School of Music, 1985
  • B.A. Music Education, Jersey City State College, 1978
  • Permanent K-12 Teaching Certification /Classical Guitar
  • Temple University, 1983
  • Graduate studies, 20th Century Composition & Piano.


  • 2023 – Resident teaching artist for the Jazz Institute of Chicago
  • 2020 – Present: Proprietor, Jazz-Play Studio LTD: Istanbul – Evanston, Il
  • 2020 – Present: Online course: Performance Ear Training.
  • 2006 – 2010: Jazz-Play Studio (Istanbul)
  • 2000-2006:  Istanbul Bilgi University, Assistant Professor, Vice Chair.
  • 1993 – 1994: Adjunct faculty, D.A.M.S. Universita’ di Bologna Discipline delle Arti.
  • 1993 – 2000: Freelance Performing Artist and Music Clinician (Based in Italy).
  • 1986 – 1993: Berklee College of Music, Assistant/Associate Professor.

Performance Ear Training Clinics

  • 2021 JEN Conference, New Orleans, LA
  • Bahcesehir University, Istanbul – Turkey
  • Robert College, Istanbul – Turkey
  • O.T.A. School of the Arts Singapore
  • Columbia College, Chicago – Il
  • Vandercook College, Chicago – Il
  • Roosevelt University, Chicago – Il
  • CJP (Chicago Jazz Philharmonic) Summer Jazz Camp, Chicago – Il
  • University of Illinois, Chicago – Il
  • Old Town School of Folk Music Chicago – Il
  • Evanston High School Jazz Festival, Evanston – Il
  • New Trier High School Jazz Festival, Northfield – Il
  • Mohawk College, Hamilton – Ontario, Canada
  • Uskadar American School, Istanbul – Turkey (high school)
  • Bilkent University, Ankara – Turkey
  • Scuola Comunale di Musica “G. Sarti”, Faenza – Italy
  • Jazzschule Basel: Basel, Switzerland
  • Scuola di Musica Moderna, Ferrara – Italy
  • Kadir Has University, Istanbul – Turkey
  • Istanbul International Community School, Istanbul – Turkey 
  • Robert College, Istanbul – Turkey
  • Shanghai American School, Shanghai – China
  • Berklee College of Music On the Road Program
  • Nuova Academia di Musica Moderna, Milan – Italy
  • Centro Professione Musica, Milan – Italy


  • 2000, Performance Ear Training, Advance Music
  • 1996-1999, Nine Joe Diorio solo transcriptions, Casa Musicale Tarasconi s.r.l., Milan
  • 1993 – 2000, Contributing author, Guitar Club Magazine, Milan


  • December 2020, (single) It’s Been Good
  • August 2013, We Play When We Play
  • February 2013, İstanbul’un İzleri (Asena Akan): 
  • 2010 Culmination, Cd Baby
  • 2005, The Dance Of Life, DMC Records, Istanbul
  • 1999, Language Of The Emotions, Philology Records
  • 1995, Lee Konitz, Free With Lee, Philology Records
  • 1993, Look Ma, No Hands!, Philology Records

Special Projects

  • 2023 Inductee  – Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Member of the Great Black Music Ensemble (GBME)
  • 2017, YA novel, Ahgottahandleonit. Cinco Puntos Press
  • July 2011, Short story Buona Sera Tutti, Red Orchre Lit
  • 2010 – 2012, YouTube performance videos: channel Dmix22
  • 2003, Artistic Director, “Kas N’ Jazz”, International Jazz Festival, Kas, Turkey
  • 2001, Language Of The Emotions, Multi-media concert, Koc Alliance Auditorium, Istanbul


  • 1989, National Endowment for the Arts, Jazz Composition 
  • 1988, Original composition, Culmination performed by the Boston Orchestra and Chorale

Foreign Languages

  • Italian – fluent
  • Turkish – Functional

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
Years Teaching
5-Star Reviews
Happy Students
Success Stories

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