I studied with Don at Dalhousie University for three years and then met up with him again when I was at Humber College. I remember one lesson at Dal in particular when I was struggling through a tune. I kept getting lost in the form. At one point Don clanged the keys on the piano and said “Dom, come on man. Stop, just stop! You are so worried about this. It’s just music. You’re so concerned with “doing it right” that you aren’t REALLY playing anything. I don’t want to hear that, and you don’t want to play it. Let’s go again, and just get out of your own way.”
So, we started playing again. Don played an 8-bar piano intro for me, and I started playing the tune. I played a couple choruses when Don clanged on the piano keys again. I opened my eyes and thought “Oh geez. I’m a dead man”. Don was sitting there smiling at me. “You motherf****r, I knew you could do it!”.
Don really taught me to believe in myself. In many ways he made me who I am now. I'll never forget him. Thanks so much, Don.