Donnie’s interest in music has been lifelong. He started playing drum set when he was in first grade and began formal percussion lessons in third grade. Working with the same teachers through his tenth grade year, he learned orchestral percussion, jazz drum set and mallet technique, gaining a wide exposure to many instruments and styles of music. He took piano lessons throughout these years as well. Donnie attended the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy (MI) for his junior and senior years of high school. This specialty school further refined his musicality and performance skills in all percussion instruments. The Arts Academy also gave him opportunities to collaborate musically with dance, musical theater, film and art students. He was awarded the Peter Erskin Achievement Award and the Interlochen Distinguished Artist Award upon graduation from the school in 2012. Summer programs at the Drummers’ Collective (NYC), Stanford Jazz (CA), University of Miami (FL), Berklee College of Music (MA) and Interlochen gave Donnie further exposure to fine instruction and collaboration opportunities. He attended Manhattan School of Music, and while there, studied under the direction of John Riley. He was the only freshmen percussionist admitted to the Jazz Studies program that year. He continued his studies in Jazz Drumset Performance at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan. It was at The New School that Donnie connected with musicians with whom he formed his current band, Great Time. Besides performance, Donnie studied music production at Underground Producer’s Alliance and Berklee College of Music. His interest in recording, production and studio engineering led him to build Great Time Studios with his collaborators Jill Ryan and Zack Hartmann. It is here that Great Time and other New York/local Philly artists have happily trusted Donnie and the rest of the gang to make their music sound its best. Donnie is thrilled to be teaching drum set and percussion technique at Valotta Studios in Chester Springs!
Donnie can be personally reached at Donnie.ValottaStudios@gmail.com
“My husband and I were talking about Donnie over the weekend and I asked our young son if he could describe Donnie in one word- he said ‘kind’. What a wonderful word to explain Donnie. He is always kind. He makes sure our son understands his drum lesson in a very kind way. We love Valotta studios and especially Donnie, who makes learning the drums fun! Thank you for all you do, Donnie!“
– Juleann, Valotta parent