Donna’s Bio

I love what I do. I love to teach others to play the piano.

My approach to teaching is geared to the individual, from age 6 to 86. I believe in grounding my students in classical music studies for technical facility but I also teach all other styles of music. I’ve had quite a long career as a jazz pianist and singer, but have also played all the other genres so I am very able to teach that as well.

Having taught piano for over 40 years, I’ve learned that everyone thinks and learns differently. So I gear my teaching to fit the individual student. In the case of adults who have played many years ago but just want to “enjoy playing” songs they enjoy, I will help them with what they need. My 10 years as a music teacher in the public school has also helped my teaching skills.

Donna was born in Paterson N.J. She attended William Paterson University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in music. While in school, she studied with pianist Gary Kirkpatrick and performed in various 20th century music ensembles under the direction of Ray Des Roches. She studied voice with Dita Delman of the New York City Opera. Donna also had the pleasure of performing at William Paterson with such notables as drummer Carl Allen and saxophonist Bill Evans.

Donna worked as a jazz pianist for the past 30+ years. She has performed at many venues and events some of which are:

  • New York City:
    • Sweet Rhythm
    • Tavern On The Green
    • Cornelia Street Cafe
    • Eighty Eights
    • Roosevelt Hotel
  • New Jersey and Pennsylvania:
    • The Deer Head Inn
    • Shanghai Jazz
    • Trumpets
  • New Orleans, LA:
    • Snug Harbor
  • Notable Jazz Festivals:
    • Women In Jazz, Kingston, NY
    • Mayfair, Allentown, PA
    • COTA, Delaware Water Gap, PA
  • Television Appearances:
    • Jersey’s Talking, News 12 New Jersey
    • Women In Jazz, CBS Television

Donna has played piano for the late great jazz vocalist Mark Murphy. She has recorded two of her CDs: Out of Nowhere and Summer Night with Dave Brubeck’s bassist Michael Moore. And has recorded a CD with SchoolHouse Rock legend Bob Dorough.

Although Donna has chosen not to perform very much nowadays, she can be seen at the Clinton House in Clinton, NJ on the second Sunday of every month. Donna also sings in church and plays piano in their sister Spanish church alongside her husband Patrick.

Donna currently resides in Clinton, NJ.


William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ
Bachelor of Science Music Education

New Jersey Teaching Certification

Studied Classical piano under Gary Kirkpatrick

Studied voice under Dita Delman of the New York City Opera

Studied jazz under Rufus Reed, Harold Maybern, and Harold Danko


Professional Performing Experience – Vocal and Piano:

  • Hank Lane Orchestras, Great Neck, NY
  • George Lang Orchestras, Andover, NJ

Band Director, Choral Director and General Music Teacher
Clinton Public School, Clinton, NJ

Choral Director and General Music Teacher – K thru 8
Paterson Public Schools, Paterson, NJ

Choral Director and General Music Teacher – K thru 7
Belvidere Public Schools, Belvidere, NJ

Private Studio Voice and Piano Instruction – All Ages:

  • Dave Phillips Music and Sound, Phillipsburg, NJ
  • Paynter Music, Stroudsburg, PA
  • Donato Studio of Music, Teaneck, NJ
  • Center of Music, Wyckoff, NJ
  • Pleasureland Day Camp, Oakland, NJ
  • The Music Shop, Boonton, NJ