Singer-Songwriter Works to Inspire Students at Foxcroft


(Thursday, February 14, 2008 8:30 AM EST)

For teens weighing their future career options, the idea of making a living as a musician might seem like a risky one, but singer, songwriter and jazz pianist Tina deVaron, who visited Foxcroft School in late January, showed students that it can be done.

DeVaron's visit was part of the Helen Cudahy Niblack '42 Arts Series, which was established last year by Niblack's daughter, Austi Brown, who also was deVaron's roommate in college at Princeton University.

As part of her two-day visit, deVaron performed her “Post-Holiday Season Stress Disorder Concert,” presented a lecture on the Tin Pan Alley music era and interacted with students in classroom and casual settings.

“Pursuing a life in the arts - writing, music, art - it's not something as encouraged by the outside world, which values business, finance and medicine,” she said.

DeVaron said she finds great satisfaction in visiting schools and giving young people a real-life perspective on making a living in the arts.

“The teenage years are a crucial juncture in people's lives,” DeVaron said. “If you don't use the energy you have when you're young to carve a niche for yourself, it's hard to go back. You can always go to law school, but you can't always say that you can be a rock star.”

And it seemed as though her messages struck a chord with the students.

“We're very impressionable,” said senior Laura Studebaker. “When we see someone reaching for the stars, it makes us want to do the exact same thing.”

DeVaron urged the girls to submerge themselves in music, but “not just at the other end of their iPods.” She encouraged them to participate actively in some musical form.

DeVaron, who makes her home in New York City, is a resident musician at the Carlyle Hotel, has recorded three original albums and wrote lyrics for the song “If I Close My Eyes,” which made it big on the dance charts a couple years ago.

Students said talking to a successful professional in the intimate environment of a classroom was a great learning experience.

“They're no longer just a celebrity,” said senior Railey Cooley. “When you get to be one-on-one, there's a human being there.”

“She gave a lot of insight on how she started,” said Candice Nelson. “I want to go into singing, and seeing someone that can do it makes it seem attainable.”

Tina deVaron visited Foxcroft School as part of the Niblack Lecture Series.

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