Donn Rochlin is a composer pianist, and educator.
Born in Los Angeles, CA., he grew up pursuing music--first playing French horn--on his way to a Juillard scholarship when he decided that reading other people's music wasn’t how he wanted to spend his time. At that point he switched to guitar and then taught himself piano as he started composing his own music. Several years later while practicing on a church piano, the church minister offered him a paying gig. That started Donn’s performing career. Never having formal piano lessons, he was encouraged and inspired by the responses of his first audiences.
He started booking himself at other churches, later adding on restaurants, weddings and all types of special events. His compositions started catching on and he soon produced his first solo CD. He composed and toured with the Intimate Flight Dance Company from Flagstaff, AZ. Soon thereafter he was commissioned by a New York playwright to compose for an off Broadway show. Several years later he landed writing and performing gigs with The Fourth St. Kids Dance Troupe, Tucson, AZ., P.A.T.H. or Performing Arts Theater of the Handicapped in Medford, OR. and Children's Dance Theater of Ashland, OR.
To support his music in the mid 80's, Donn worked at a variety of sales jobs, was sales manager for an office supply company, a recruiter for a technical search firm, and landed a job as Vice-President of The Jurist Corporation, a financial and legal services company where he worked for two years, until relocating to Sedona, Arizona. Discovering that his work options where limited, with the help of a partner he created The Sandwichman Lunch Delivery Service. click here "We had a great two-year run," Donn said. Eventually the music picked up. After moving south to Tucson, while working part-time in the marketing department of the Tucson Symphony, he began giving three-hour piano workshops at colleges and universities. Within six months, his “Just for Fun” piano workshops became a thriving, full-time business that took him to over 65 cities across the U.S.
His teaching methods and philosophy of playing music from the heart rather than by reading notes helped free thousands of students from their fear of making mistakes and holding themselves hostage to perfectionism and performance anxiety. After relocating to Ashland, OR., Donn founded the Ashland School of Music, which in addition to offering group classes for adults and children, served as a venue for local artists to perform.
Donn started to realize that the impact he had on his students’ lives as a teacher was as rewarding as performing and writing music. This realization inspired him to create other types of seminars including Crises To Creativity, Wellness With Music and Fearless Public Speaking. His book Fearless Public Speaking helps people overcome their perfectionism and performance anxiety so they can be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. Whether teaching creativity, public speaking or piano, his common message of inspiration is to, relax into your life, be prepared to improvise, enjoy the ride, and use the "rules" as guidelines, not boundaries.
Spirituality is the basis of Donn’s teaching and coaching. He has always been curious about the spiritual nature of life and for himself, has discovered that his spiritual path is about following his creative impulses and hopefully inspiring a few people along the way.
Ten years ago, Donn became a father and the conversations he has had in the car with his daughter since the age of two are the subject of a new book, Carseat Conversations. Donn continues to compose, perform, teach, coach and write.