What Does it Mean to Match Pitch?

Simply put; someone who can match pitch is able to precisely reproduce the note(s) they hear.

Simply put; someone who can match pitch is able to precisely reproduce the note(s) she hears and discern small differences between pitches. This ability is advantageous for the aspiring instrumentalist or vocalist who wants to learn quickly and/or realize a musical idea on paper, laptop or instrument.


The Performance Ear Training study concept for pitch matching came out of teaching students to tune the guitar to itself.* Typically the process involves matching pitches between fretted notes and open strings.

I found that students were more successful after playing the fretted note three times before playing the open string, in effect creating an expectation in the ear.

* Please keep in mind that this training is for all vocalists and instrumentalists… not just guitarists.

Outcomes & Sing Then Play Study Concept

Eventually, out of my observations, came the Performance Ear Training study concept, Sing Then Play.

Through the use of Sing Then Play, you will experience an overall improved ability to detect tiny differences between pitches upon a single hearing. This will, amongst other benefits, make transcription and memorization much easier.

Another outcome (due to the feedback loop created when singing) will be that your overall intonation when singing will improve significantly.


During my time as a Professor of Music at Istanbul Bilgi University in the Republic of Turkey, I learned that Turkish music scholars had determined there were nine discernible pitches in between each of what we in the West consider semitones.

This knowledge only gave me more confidence in my pitch matching techniques because my process had helped many Turkish students improve their ability to notice even the smallest differences between notes. In addition, for those who regularly practiced Sing Then Play, their intonation and interval recognition improved steadily over each semester.

Sign up for an eight week session. you won’t regret it.

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