How Does Movable DO work?

Through the use of solfege syllables and Movable DO you learn to hear the character and function of each note in a given key.

Typically, the solfege syllables, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti are used to represent scale degrees. In other words, if the key is C major, ‘DO’ is the note ‘C’, the first degree of the scale and therefore ‘SOL’ would be the note ‘G’ the fifth degree.

If the key is Eb major, ‘DO’ is the note ‘Eb’ (the first degree) and ‘SOL’ would the be the note ‘Bb’ (the fifth).

How Does Solfege Help?

Find the internal logic of solfege syllables highly musical to the ear.

You will find the internal logic of solfege syllables highly musical to the ear and a great aid towards the development of relative pitch. While some people can identify specific notes as we recognize the color red or blue – something called ‘perfect pitch’, most aspiring musicians haven’t this ability. Instead, they can work to develop relative pitch: the ability to recognize notes and chords from a given point of reference.

Sight-singing melodies with solfege syllables is a good way to begin developing your relative pitch capability. The practice will help you to mentally organize the notes and chord progressions you hear.

How Does it Differ From Fixed DO?

MOVABLE DO uses solfege syllables to communicate degrees of a scale.

In contrast, with Fixed DO, the syllables are alternative note names, that is, The note ‘C’ is always sung as DO and the note ‘G’ is always sung as SOL, no matter the key.

Movable DO with chord progressions and chord qualities.

Let’s get down into the weeds a bit. If this new to you, don’t worry. Just think about what’s being said and trust that you’ve already taken a first step towards understanding.

Movable DO helps when singing arpeggios in the context of key. Movable DO helps when singing arpeggios in the context of key. CONSIDER THIS: Sing these syllables straight up in any key: fa la do mi. You have sung a major seventh chord on the fourth degree or IVMaj7.

THEN, sing sol ti re fa. You have sounded out a dominant seventh chord at the fifth degree or V7. NOW, sing do mi sol ti. You have sung a major seventh chord on the first degree or IMaj7. If you sing each arpeggio one after the other, you are sounding a IVMaj7 /V7 IMaj7 progression.

Performance Ear Training teaches you how to do and hear this.

What My Students and Colleagues Say

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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