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Teacher Feature - Donald Heaton

Donald Heaton Nogales Teacher

Donald Heaton (he/him/his) is the Director of Bands at Nogales High School. He was born and raised in Missouri. Donald went to high school in Chillicothe, MO and was fortunate to be in band under the direction of the late David Goodwin. After graduating, he attended Central Methodist University in Fayette, MO to study Music Education. His professors were all seasoned music educators and helped instill a passion for education that keeps burning everyday.

After graduating in 2013, he began his teaching career in rural Missouri, deep in the Ozark Mountains. Eventually, Donald would complete a Masters of Arts in Music through the University of Central Missouri in 2018.

Donald moved to Arizona in 2020 after teaching all levels of band, choir, and general music in Missouri for six years. He began his Arizona teaching career in Nogales, AZ at Nogales HS, where he continues to work today. He has a deep passion for education as well as mentoring new music educators. Donald knows what it means to be a rural music educator and the challenges and privileges that come with working at rural schools.

A clarinetist since 2002, Donald has also poured hours into learning all woodwind instruments and is proud to call himself a woodwind specialist. His favorite place to showcase his talent is in the very place he learned his skills: the pit orchestra. He is also a recorded artist, having recorded with the Brad Cunningham band on their album Midnight Choir.

Donald currently resides in Rio Rico, AZ with his dog, Pluto.

We asked Donald six questions about his life as a music teacher:

What Instrument Do You Play?

My main instrument is clarinet. I play saxophone, flute, bassoon, and oboe as well. In the classroom, I play a lot of trombone and some occasional horn.

Best flavor of Pop Tart?

A freshly microwaved Brown Cinnamon Sugar Pop Tart really hits the right spots.

Favorite Piece to Conduct?

My favorite piece to conduct with my current band is "The Witch and The Saint" by Steve Reineke.

Baton, Pencil, or just your hands?

Baton. Shameless plug to Brad Heckman back in Missouri who makes some fantastic batons! Look him up at Heckman Batons on Facebook.

What Instrument do you WISH you knew how to play?

Having taught choir and elementary music before, I sorely wish I could play piano.

Best piece of musical advice you’ve been given?

"Teach the band in front of you."


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