Donovan Mixon leads a music jam at Space 900Photo courtesy of Space 900

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A multilingual, World Jazz musician, who has taught music all around the world. Donovan Mixon is a guitarist, composer and music instructor. When asked what sparked his interest in music and in playing the guitar Mr. Mixon said, “Elvis, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King and Rock n’ Roll.” Mr. Mixon said his interest in music and the ability to learn about music and instruments was credited to a New York-based free subsidized program for kids in his early teen years. Mr. Mixon not only plays music but teaches it as well.

Mr. Mixon has taught music since 1986 and said he was inspired by “my teachers who were all great musical artists.” Mr. Mixon has taught music all around the world. He has taught at Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey, Berklee College of Music in Italy, and the Singapore School of Arts to name only a few. “You can read about the historic musicians, and so many of them were great teachers,” Mr. Mixon said.

Mr. Mixon’s travels, musical compilations, and international performances prompted him to title his style of music composition as World Jazz. “It came to me because I always call myself a world citizen,” said Mr. Mixon. He was chiefly inspired by a student ensemble composed of multiple nationalities. “We had two singers, one from China and one from Japan, a pianist from Norway, the drummer from Michigan and the bass player was from India.” Mr. Mixon said. “They were an international cast of characters,” he added.

Mr. Mixon moved to Evanston in 2010 to live with his then fiancée, now wife, Diana Mixon. From either Space 900 or from home he now teaches jazz, classical, and contemporary styles locally to students ranging in age from 9 to 60, their experience levels varying from novice to expert. Instruction instruments include keyboard, piano, electric and acoustic guitar. In addition to music instruction and ear training, Mr. Mixon performs in Evanston and is an active member of the artist collective Space 900, located at 1042 Wesley Ave. Mixon said that he enjoys living in Evanston and appreciates the opportunity that Space 900 offers to create and perform.