About The Instructor:
Growing up on the ocean in sunny Scituate Massachusetts, female singer songwriter Donna Marie Albano Harrington was greatly inspired by the ocean and the sounds of nature. She grew up in a family that loved music and singing. She started focusing more on her singing at around age seven, composing instrumental musical phrases that she would sing all day at the beach. Over time she started putting words to the music and started writing poetry. She discovered different vocal sounds and placements, producing harmonious tones, and also became aware of how breathing made a huge difference in her singing. Becoming a strong swimmer, she also became aware how swimming helped improve her singing and developed breathing techniques still used today. She worked on improving the sound quality of her voice for years. After receiving a prized gift that she loved, a hand held radio for a present, she started listening to all styles of music. She was around age 10 when she first heard Barbara Streisand's "Evergreen" and thought that was the most beautiful voice she had ever heard in her life (and still does!), and loved the words to the song and the music composition. She made a decision to sing and write love songs, stories, and poetry for the rest of her life, and she continues to this day.
She picked up the guitar at age eleven, restrung the guitar to make it lefty (and played left handed for 3 years making up chords and exploring sounds and instrumental ideas), then restrung it back, and started over. She got a tuning fork to tune the guitar by ear, and taught herself how to play. While making up her own chords and tunings, Donna found the guitar was very helpful in writing her own songs from instrumental pieces to songs with lyrics. She felt at a young age that the combination of singing with the guitar created unlimited and boundless creativity in composition and lyrics, and that singing, writing, and playing guitar was also very calming and therapeutic and lifted her spirits. It was a place she could go and express herself and find great peace, which she continues to do to this day.
When looking back after years of singing, songwriting, and playing guitar, Donna can say with the utmost confidence, that anyone can teach themselves to sing, write, and play guitar or other instrument, and without reading music notation. However, in her youth and teens, she remembers wishing she could have shared her songs and musical ideas with a positive mentor and teacher who supported her individual creative style. Also she would have loved to have had have someone show her open tunings and chords (as self teaching was wonderful in creating chords and ideas, it was just a slower progression). Also she would have loved to have had someone teach her all styles of voice including classical and help her with opportunities and competitions for experience, college, and eventually professional performance. If there was someone who could have helped her along the way, her talents would have been seen and heard at an earlier age. More songs would have been written and recorded at a younger age. This contributed to the decision that Donna made in her early years to be a positive mentor for others. Her instruction teaches a solid foundation which includes honoring the creative and unique talents in every individual and encourages original composition, not just learning the music others create. She also believes it is very important to listen, and discover what styles and interests each person has, as everyone is different.
Donna joined the choir when she was a young girl at St Mary's of the Nativity Catholic Church in Scituate. This is where she met her first voice instructor, Paula Carroll, the choir director. Paula Carroll had a beautiful voice and she was extremely knowledgeable as a voice instructor / coach and organist. Donna arranged the lessons and rode her bike to Paula's house every week where she studied the classical Nicola Vaccai Practical Method of Italian Singing which helped develop her singing voice.
Donna's early education in voice, guitar, and songwriting was self taught with the exception of her first voice instructor Paula Carroll when she was a young girl, which made an incredible impact on her and a great love for classical and sacred music. Donna and Paula both shared a passion for singing, a love for Vaccai's Practical Method of Italian singing, a love for beautiful music, the continuous study of developing, improving, and protecting the singing voice, and knew the importance of practice and study to achieve the absolute best results. Paula Carroll's beautiful voice and wonderful personality made it a joy to work with, and her kindness gave Donna more confidence in herself as a person, a singer, and a musician. Donna took this with her when she started teaching voice and guitar years later. In her teens she would be singing on the beach somewhere, in church, in the choir, or at a friends, or family gathering, acoustic café, etc... and would be asked. This is when Donna started to study more to become more skilled in helping others and being a positive mentor in their lives.
Donna continued her self study for years as a singer, and songwriter, composing hundreds of songs as well as poems and also studying different voice methods while continuing what she had learned with Paula Carroll. Writing became a strong skill in work and in college and continues today. When Donna got in her twenties, she worked with Sister Miriam Therese, a nun, singer, and voice instructor. Like Paula Carroll, Sister Miriam Therese was extremely skilled as an incredible singer, instructor, and pianist. These two voice instructors made a big difference in her classical singing voice and in her life, being skilled, kind, and of good character. Over the years Donna would work with many more voice instructors and guitar instructors when she could, and had positive experiences and learned from all of them. Donna kept two areas separate, preserving her own personal "creative place" she developed in her youth in singing and songwriting, and the other area was (and still is) learning from others who created and developed music theory, the science of sound, vocal methods, etc... passed down over the ages. Basically, to preserve and honor her own creativity and ideas, and value and learn from others. Over the years of singing and songwriting, skills developed in performance experience and she also learned numerous software programs, and started recording and editing. While working in business, finance, and administration, Donna completed her business degree in college and continues her work in the business world. While creating and developing her instruction business, Donna took numerous college courses inclusive to business, composition, writing, ancient to modern world music, computers, early childhood education and development, and many more as she continued her education in Boston as a Music major, also studying English Literature. Being only a few classes away from a Bachelor's in Music, Donna has been expanding her interest in university studies in Boston studying videography and art history and is working on several projects.
Donna started teaching voice and guitar in her twenties, and eventually created a small business. She has owned and operated Guitar and Voice Instruction for over seventeen happy years teaching voice, guitar, and songwriting to artists of all ages and walks of life. Enjoying the love of singing, songwriting, and playing guitar most of her life, she loves helping people do the same working with men, women, teenagers, children, and the elderly over 90 years old (some of the best musicians she has ever worked with were in their 80's with beautiful voices and enormous musicianship). You can sing and write music at any age. Teaching mothers and fathers, sons and daughters all in the same family for years, passing down the family favorites to the next generation.
CONTACT: Email, Telephone, Text, FB, etc... Contact Donna directly by completing the quick form below, or explore her other websites and contact her by telephone, text, email, or FB. She will contact you directly by telephone to go over details, find out more about your goals and interests, and answer any questions.