What They Say

“Donna is a guitarist with a very firm foundation in technique and theory. She is passionate about teaching and bringing her students to the highest level of their abilities. She is open to a remarkable range of music, from classical, to rock, popular and sacred music, and she knows much about all the music she is teaching. She teaches the history of guitar music from Segovia to Hendrix, how to become an expert performer and much more. Donna cares passionately about her students and wants them all to succeed and excel. She is a very mature, reliable, and responsible person who relates exceptionally well to children.” James F. Smith, Chair, Classical Guitar, University of Southern California

*****

“Donna is a great friend and teacher and a truly outstanding mentor to myself and other teachers. Her commitment to excellence and her passion for teaching guitar is immediately evident to anyone who has the pleasure to meet and work with her. She constantly seeks out new knowledge and is very generous about sharing it for everyone’s benefit – students and peers alike. Whatever your goals are in learning to play guitar, she will help you reach them.Thanks Donna, for all your inspiration and instruction. When I count my blessings, you are at the top of my list!” Leanne Regalla – Guitarist, Songwriter, Teaching Studio Owner

*****

“Donna is a teacher with a great love of guitar and the people she helps. It is uncommon in this world that you find a true heart that gives their all.” Dan Evans, adult student of guitar

*****

“Dear Mrs. Z, you’re the best guitar teacher ever! from Jack”  (age eight)

“Donna Zitzelberger is a very rare find for my family. An important goal for my daughter was music instruction – as important to me as her academic instruction. Even beyond the scientific studies showing the benefits of music instruction to children in the area of math skills, I wanted her to know the joy music brings to one’s life. After trying various preschool and kindergarten music appreciation and piano lessons, which had only very marginal success, I began to despair. I worried that she was born music-challenged!

Then a friend told me that Donna was extending her guitar program at St. Jude’s School to include a two-year ukulele class beginning in First Grade. I enrolled my daughter and we both found the joy of music. Donna’s program was just the right balance of work and fun taught at a perfect pace. Donna has carefully examined and revised her instruction over the years to find the best method to help children and adults learn to enjoy playing ukulele and guitar. Amazed and thrilled at the steady progress of the class, I stayed for each ukulele class time during my daughter’s first year. Donna was gentle,patient and kind with each student. She genuinely liked and enjoyed each one from the mellower to the higher-energy students. She taught them entertaining songs and exercises, which helped them focus while having a good time. The second year, I signed up to be the parent assistant and was even more involved in the class. I found it very rewarding to be both an observer and a participant in the exciting musical growth of the children. I purchased my own ukulele and began to learn to play alongside my daughter. At the recital, all the parents were delighted at the beautifulHawaiian song that the children performed in Hawaiian shirts and dresses. There is nothing like watching children grow into little musicians under truly competent and caring instruction.

This year, we decided to take private guitar instruction as a family. My husband, my daughter and I are learning together. Donna continues to amaze me in the way she patiently encourages us through the awkward early stages of learning and manages to make it fun. Within the first week we were playing simple songs and enjoying extreme quality time together as a family. I cannot recommend Donna highly enough for ukulele or guitar instruction. Last year, all of her students, new and veterans, guitars and ukuleles in hand, gathered at her house to serenade her. To me, that says it all about how students and parents (and parent students) feel about this excellent teacher.” Susan Grayson, Newbury Park, CA

*****

“Dear Mrs. Z, It’s amazing how you have used your gifts and talents to multiply the talents of others! We love you!” The guitarists and parents of the SJ after-school guitar program – Westlake Village, CA

*****

“You have been very generous with your time with the kids and that is a rarity these days with everyone being caught in the daily hustle and bustle. I am amazed at how you are able to successfully manage the kids without once ever raising your voice. I am certainly glad to hear about Bryan’s learnings on guitar. I certainly enjoy the times when I sing along with him. ” Mariel M., Camarillo, CA

*****

“Donna Zitzelberger  has taught three of my children throughout the years.  It’s been a wonderful experience for them and for the family.  Donna incorporates her passion for music and her passion for goodness in her life within her classes.  When my oldest son started playing guitar with Donna in the 5th grade, he continued on throughout his years at St. Jude’s elementary school.  He has a foundation that he knows he can come back to and a gift that he can continue to grow.  My youngest is presently taking ukulele for the second year.  She is seven years old and she enjoys learning the instrument.  Soon she will go onto the guitar.

Donna is a talented musician with a vast background in different genres of music.  She can teach and accommodate most anyone from 7- year -old girls to teenage boys to mature adults.  She is a woman of integrity and faith.  Her work as an instructor is more than a job it’s a vocation in which she is an example of goodness, hard work, commitment, and encouragement to her students.  I am very blessed as a mother to have her teach three of my children.  And, if I weren’t driving my kids to school, lessons, and practices then I would be taking lessons from Donna myself.”  Lisa Maxey, Agoura Hills CA

*****

“Donna, Thank you for sharing your amazing musical talents at our wedding. You are an incredible musician with a perfect touch and sense of beauty.” Jessica and Jonathan M., Westlake Village, CA

*****

“Donna, Thank you for all your hard work on behalf of the guitar program and Colleen! You make it so fun for her. We appreciate it.” Susan and Ed C.

*****

“Every week I have the joy to sit in the back of Donna Z’s music room, and it’s totally by choice. Donna has been teaching my son Sean’s group guitar lesson for three wonderful years and he has really grown not only into a really good guitar player, but a 10 year old boy who really loves music. Last summer, out of the blue he said to me “aren’t we going to have some lesson’s with “Mrs. Z” this summer? Internally I laughed, SUCCESS I thought, this has really crept into his heart. I still have to remind him to practice don’t get me wrong, but Donna has a way with these kids that you wouldn’t believe. She really loves to teach and to play herself, she’s great. She has “the gift”, as they say. I feel so lucky that we found her and still love sitting in the back of the room watching her work her quiet magic. I’m on my way there right now!”   Julia Reede, Thousand Oaks, CA

*****

“I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the concert yesterday. The kids really were fantastic and I could have listened to those classical pieces for the rest of the day. Not that we didn’t enjoy the contemporary pieces, especially the original songs, but it’s so rare to get to hear classical guitar these days. Congratulations again on a great concert. All my best, Christie O., Calabasas, CA

*****

“Bravo! You should be so proud that all of those talented kids are products of you! I thoroughly enjoyed the show and feel so blessed that Sean was a part of it ! Thanks for an incredible year. Best, Jan M.

****

“Dear Mrs. Z., Thank you so much.  You have taught me so much not just about guitar, but about my life also.  I really enjoyed this year and am excited about next year.” Rob D. (age 12)

*****

“Donna, Thank you for taking Daniel to see Pepe (Romero). He very much enjoyed it, and will never forget it…thank you also for encouraging the rock and roll in him!” Ellen P., Agoura Hills, CA

*****

“Donna, First, let me say that you should be very proud! You have inspired so many children to love music. You really have a passion for teaching and it was clear at the concert yesterday. I was in awe of Alex and Madison’s performance yesterday. They brought me to tears. They nailed Mary’s Song and Heartache was such a nice surprise. As we were walking to the car, Alex expressed that she was sad it was over because she loved being on the stage. I’d say she’s over any serious stage fright. She expressed that she’s looking forward to performing at the places you suggest. Thank you for a great first year of lessons!” Christine H., Oak Park, CA

*****

“Thank you, Mrs. Z for everything you have done for me. It was because of you that I continued playing the guitar. You are my biggest inspiration.” Elliot (age 17)

*****

“Dear Mrs. Z, You teach us the glory of music. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to say thank you so much.” Charlotte (age 9)

*****

“Dear Mrs. Z, Thank you so much for all that you taught me and thanks to you I love music, I mean LOVE music.” Nicola (age 10)

*****

“Donna, I wanted to thank you again for bringing out the best in our children’s music talents. Emily, Thomas and Nick were fabulous with their guitar playing yesterday and Thomas was magnificent with his solo. We were so proud of him. Thanks again for all your time and energy spent in your teaching them. We can’t wait for the concert!” Elena L., Westlake Village, CA

*****

“We want to thank Mrs. Donna Zitzelberger for believing in Steven and pushing him futher in acoustic guitar and sight reading, and helping him with musician organizational skills.  It’s spreading into the academic realm!” Shari and Rob R., Thousand Oaks, CA

*****

“Thank you for all that you did for our son this year and for the really beautiful concert we attended yesterday…The very best thing for me was being able to attend a few classes this year and see just how much love and patience you bring to teaching.  I imagine myself trying to negotiate with 7 boys with guitars and I’m pretty sure I would just go out of my mind.  You take it all in stride and unite them (in tune or out of tune) in a way this is just seamless.  You’re a true artist and we are really lucky to have you as our teacher.  Jon R., Thousand Oaks, CA

*****

Donna, You are such a wonderful asset to our children’s life — so kind, patient, and dedicated to their growth and success.  Thank you for all you do! Michelle D., Westlake Village, CA

*****

Dear Donna, Thank you so much for everything you have taught me this year.  Without you I wouldn’t have discovered my love for guitar.  My lessons with you are always my favorite part of the day.  You’re such an amazing and talented person and I’m so lucky to have you as my guitar teacher. 🙂  Nivi (age 15) Newbury Park, CA

*****

“In June 2015, my son Landon and I both started taking private guitar lessons with Donna at her home in Thousand Oaks. With a one-hour lesson every other week, we have made remarkable progress learning both steel-string and classical guitars. Donna is a wonderful teacher, and she has developed a very thorough, incremental curriculum for teaching her students. We greatly appreciate her methods, her kindness, and her deep passion for sharing her love of guitar with others. We highly recommend lessons with her! – Kim Whynaucht, Conejo Valley Homeschoolers member”

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