Get to the Next Level with your music performance or improvisation!
Here are some of the ways I can help you with Music Performance Coaching
Have an important audition coming up?
Having judged solo and ensemble festivals for over 15 years in New York and Los Angeles, I can give you the perspective from the “other side” and provide performance and mindset strategies to win the audition.
Running around in circles with your practicing and getting nothing accomplished?
Maybe you just need to practice more efficiently. I can work with you to set achievable goals and plan your practice sessions to get results.
Does your mind go blank on stage?
Boosting confidence is one of my specialties. I went from suffering with really severe performance anxiety to being able to perform with finalists from NBC's The Voice, members from Billy Joel and Black Sabbeth's bands in front of thousands of people in main arenas in the NYC and Los Angeles metro areas.
Tired of your solos sounding like an exercise?
I can help you create coherent, meaningful solos that you can be proud of and your audience can relate to.
Lacking authentic vocabulary when you improvise?
Knowing how to listen, where to find vocabulary and what to do with it will be the main focus of our sessions together.
Classically trained and feel clueless when it comes to improvising?
Having being classically trained, I understand the fear of not having sheet music in front of me. I can help get you “away from the page” and build your comfort improvising.
Need an objective opinion about your performance?
Sometimes, you just need another ear to figure out your next steps so you can perform at a higher level. I can give you an honest critique with constructive criticism that will not leave you in tears.
Here's what others have said…
I was looking for a professional who could help me resume my sax practice and revive my motivation after a few years of interruption.
The moment Donna started to ask questions about the reason I needed music coaching (start with the WHY, Simon Sinek), I knew she was the best person who could help me get back on track for the following reasons:
Donna assessed my musical needs with very constructive questions that helped clarify my goals first.
Donna can play many different instruments, thus has a broad perspective and she’s able put herself in some else shoes
Donna has solid experience as a professional both in education and music instrument
Donna’s approach is honest, non-judgmental, factual yet with lots of empathy and subtle human touch – not just a big bag of scales and music theory (also needed but not only).
Communication is articulate which is critical in a learning process (many musician can not communicate properly)
Xavier Minali, IT Manager and Musician
Donna has an extraordinary ability to not only diagnose saxophone playing issues quickly, but also to provide creative approaches to solving them with a great sense of humor. Her experience in teaching and playing multiple instruments leads to valuable insights that are accelerating my progress. Highly Recommended!
Donna not only gave be a variety of strategies to help improve my counting whilst improvising, whilst not stifling my artistic imagination. However, Donna did not stop there, she looked at my current goal and discussed how I had been very ambitious. We covered different approaches to studying the jazz standards, including starting off with a metronome session before adding backing tracks.
Amazing….I was no longer getting lost during soloing…. But did not feel stifled, in fact Better improvisation seemed to flow.
Donna was able to focus my goals and discuss with me a methodology that could help me get there. Already I have seen that this new regime is going to pay in spades. Donna has the ability to analyze what was needed and then discuss it in a way that made it not only palatable but has been the biggest positive change in my personal musical development this year.
What I have found is Donna is very, very passionate. and knowledgable about music. She is a real musician..a real expert by profession and by practice.
She's very kind, patient and supportive, and structures the sessions to suit my needs while encouraging me to do my best.
I regard her not only as an inspirational teacher, but also as a wonderful mentor.
Sun Yan Evans
You use coaches to improve your marketing, business strategy or job performance, why not use a coach to improve your music performance?
Everyone needs a coach, a mentor, …someone to guide them on their journey.
Over my 30 years of teaching students, I know what works and what doesn't. I can give you practical strategies that can give you an edge for your performance. (Learn more about Donna here.)
I have performed in front of audiences of up to 10,000 people in such venues as the House of Blues in Anaheim, Orpheum Theatre (Los Angeles), The City National Grove of Anaheim, Whiskey A Go-Go, The Viper Room, Aquarius Casino in Laughlin, Viva Las Vegas Festival, Lake Havasu Rockabilly Festival, Wolf Den (Mohegan Sun), World Cafe (Philadelphia), Paramount NY, NYCB Theatre, Landmark Theatre, Patchogue Theatre, Riverhead Blues Festival, Dix Hills Performing Arts Center, and many others.
Because I have been performing in public since I was in Junior High School, I know what it takes to put on a good show.
My teachers and mentors have given me priceless real world experience that I have passed on to my students.
My trumpet teachers were Joe Foley (Atlantic Brass), Vince Penzarella (NY Philharmonic), Mel Broiles (NY Met Opera), Ed Treutel (NYC Opera), and Laurie Frink (Maria Schneider Big Band and Carmine Caruso Method Expert).
My saxophone teachers were Jeff Lange and Lou Doboe.
I studied Improvisation with Gary Burton and Jimmy Heath.
Having performed in theaters and world-renowned stages in the NY and Los Angeles Metro Areas with world class performers like Richie Cannata (Billy Joel's band), Vicci Martinez (Season 1 Voice Finalist), and Bobby Rondinelli (Blue Oyster Cult), I know what it's like to deal with stage fright and having to perform and thrive in high-stress situations.
I can show you special exercises and mental tips and tricks to boost your confidence.
Today's Reality for Younger Students…
With the rise in the number of college applicants, and the decrease in students being accepted, it is important for today’s student to be exceptional and stand out. Gone are the days where having great grades and test scores mean an automatic acceptance into the college of your dreams.
Participation in elite ensembles in your school, community, across your state and in summer music camps helps you stand out and can boost your chances of being accepted into the college of your dreams.
Performance Coaching Packages
Option 1 – Online (or in-person) Coaching
- Coaching is done online, and sessions are 60 minutes each.
- We will work on your #1 struggle during each session
- You will get actionable tips, a plan, and extensive notes for each session.
- Video recordings, with downloadable transcripts that are keyword-searchable are available at an additional charge.
You can choose 1 session, a monthly package of 4 sessions, or even a 2-month package of 8 sessions.
If you live in the Los Angeles, CA area, and would prefer to have the sessions be in-person, you can come to me for individual sessions for an additional charge. (There are no video recordings for in-person sessions.)
Option 2 – Video Evaluation ONLY
- Upon approval, send me an un-edited video link of your performance for critique.
- Videos should be no longer than 15 minutes, and sent in a format I can open (mp4 is preferable).
- You will get a video recording with the strategy for your next best steps. (The recording will be searchable by keyword and you can download the transcript)
- You will also get extensive notes, with links to additional resources when needed
Please complete this CONTACT FORM, and I will get back to you within one business day.
Do you want results like this?
Charlie was a phenomenal cellist. His dad, who was a Juilliard-trained musician, wanted him to learn trumpet. I have noticed over the years that many string players have difficulty articulating on brass and woodwind instruments. Charlie was no exception, even though he was insanely talented on cello.
In order for Charlie to get into the prestigious school jazz band, he needed to know how to articulate. After exposing him to the different types of jazz articulations and having him listen over and over again, he got it. As a result, his range improved also. He not only got into that school's jazz band, but his improvisations were well articulated and very mature. He went on to shine in the jazz bands in middle and high school too, in addition to continuing on the cello.
Practicing more and trying harder with no clear plan will not give you the results you want
Preparing for a performance is more than just playing through a piece.
Proper performance preparation requires you to learn how to set goals, prepare well in advance, really hear the music in your head and monitor your body's reactions so you can correct mistakes and play more efficiently.
Students tend to practice their entire piece during every session at the performance tempo and wonder why it doesn't sound any better.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
You can continue to follow your routines and wonder why you fall apart at performances & auditions and don't get accepted into the ensembles, camps and colleges you want.
Or you can work with me and push yourself to a higher level, achieving results you didn't think were possible.
I would love to work with you and give you the guidance and advice I have gained over all these years to help you reach your next level!
(Please read my Terms and Conditions here.)
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