Donna Schwartz is a recovering New Yorker and, as of Thanksgiving 2014, a recent transplant to beautiful sunny and warm Los Angeles. She plays both saxophones and trumpet professionally, and has appeared with various bands on such well known stages as: City National Grove of Anaheim (opening for Howard Jones), Orpheum Theatre, World Café – Philadelphia, Wolf Den-Mohegan Sun, and the Paramount NY. Donna’s musical career can be best described as the “comeback kid.”
At age 9 she was not able to produce a sound on the trumpet for three months, but by the age of 11 she became one of the best performers in her elementary school (and in Nassau County, NY). Her dentist forced her to quit trumpet due to getting braces, but she was later able to convince her dentist to change his mind. She fought her way back into the junior high band and experienced much success throughout high school – becoming a top trumpeter in her District and County Bands and Jazz Bands, and participating in All State Wind Ensemble and NYS Summer School for the Arts.
She suffered another setback in college, when her embouchure “gave out” and she couldn’t play. After studying with some of the best trumpet teachers in NYC, including Vince Penzarella (NY Philharmonic), Mel Broiles, Ed Treutel, and Laurie Frink (Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra), she fixed the problems she was experiencing, gaining a greater understanding of the intricacies of brass embouchures and becoming an expert in fixing embouchure problems. Over the years, she studied various ways of producing sound efficiently and is known for helping students fix embouchure problems and for playing effectively with braces.
Having always wanted to play the saxophone, Donna first taught herself after college, then went on to study with renowned NY teachers, Lou Doboe and Jeffrey Lange. She has since performed Blues, Pop and Rock in large theatres, concert halls and festivals across Long Island with artists such as Vicci Martinez (Season 1 Finalist from The Voice), Richie Cannata (original saxophonist from Billy Joel’s band) and Bobby Rondinelli (drummer from Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath).
Donna has been a guest artist on CD’s by Amber Ferrari, Domino Grey, Grimm Jack, Adam Exler, and has recorded a track for Criss Angel’s "Believe" show, currently playing at The Luxor in Las Vegas.
Donna holds several degrees from C.U.N.Y. at Queens College, S.U.N.Y. at StonyBrook University and Berklee College of Music. She has taught private students for over 27 years and Band, Jazz Band and General Music in NY public schools for over 14 years. Donna has her own radio show, Music Teachers’ Resource Guide, on the BAM Radio Network, where she has interviewed well-known music educators such as Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser and Dr. Peter Boonshaft. Her articles have been featured in SBO (School Band and Orchestra) Magazine, Arcadia Weekly, Pasadena Independent and NafMe’s (National Association for Music Education) Music in a Minuet blog.
Donna will be speaking on the subject of identifying and helping students overcome performance anxiety at the upcoming NafMe’s National Conference in October 2015.
"Ms. Schwartz gave me my foundation in music and for that I will always be grateful. She worked to improve my tone, technique, and articulation when I first learned to play the alto saxophone at age 10, and went above and beyond in helping me practice outside of class and realize my potential as a musician. I have never had a music teacher as dedicated or as enjoyable to learn from and highly recommend her for private lessons." Laura Sanicola
Listen to Sweest Dreams track from Amber Ferrari's Electric Blue EP