The following article is part of our Student Spotlight series, which highlights the stories and experiences of Real School students and their families.
Maddy: We've introduced you to a lot of our talented students here at Real School, but a lot of them are off to college now. So we thought "why don't we talk to one of our college alum students about what he's been up to!"
It's my pleasure to introduce you to Tom Barvick. What's up Tommy?
Tom: Thank you for having me! It's a pleasure to be here.
Maddy: So Tommy, you've been coming to Real School since 2012. You've done our Band program, you've taken bass lessons, you've done our RealJams Advanced program. AND this past summer, you interned for our RealJams summer program. So what have you been up to?
Tom: I have been keeping myself quite busy with going to school and recording, writing, and playing in a lot of bands, both in Connecticut and home. So I'm trying to balance all of that.
Maddy: So where are you attending school and what are you studying?
Tom: I'm at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. I'm studying music and sound recording. The teachers have a lot of experience in the field, so you know that you're getting an education from someone that's been through the whole shebang of the music industry.
They have cool opportunities, like studying in Nashville for a semester, which is something I hope to do next year.
Maddy: What has your experience been like after high school? Has it met your expectations?
Tom: I've actually joined three bands in college, so I play around the New Haven area a lot. And I play drums in one of them (Arcadia), I play guitar in one of them (Jersey Slide), and I play guitar and sing in one of them (Star-67). So I've really gotten the full experience of playing in bands down there.
Maddy: How has your experience with music or lessons in general helped you in college so far?
Tom: Well I took drum lessons for a long time, so I think if I had to choose one instrument as the one that I'm best at, it's probably drums. So I think lessons definitely helped in that aspect.
I can go into any jam session or recording session, and I think I can feel it out, and I can perform.
If you take lessons, you can learn anything and everything.
Maddy: What benefits of playing an instrument have you uncovered?
Tom: The opportunities are endless when you play instruments. I mean, come on! You can impress your friends, you have a talent that some people don't have. Hey, you can break out a guitar at a party and liven it up.
Maddy: Has music helped you with other activities or studies? And how so?
Tom: I think playing an instrument can help you think on your feet and just make quick decisions. I don't know if that comes from when you're jamming and improv, and you have to just keep on going no matter what happens. If you're playing a gig and you mess up, you're not just going to stop the song and say "no, let's start over." You're just going to keep on going.
So I think when it comes to other studies or just thinking in general, being a musician can help you be quick on your feet.
Maddy: So let's jump forward a little bit! Do you have any plans for after college?
Tom: I don't know. I definitely want to be a career musician in some way.
I don't expect the superstardom and fame of being in a band that skyrockets to some sort of stardom. Of course, if that happens I'm along for the ride, and I'm down.
Maddy: Looking back, is there anything you would've done differently?
Tom: I would've practiced more, ya know. I just always want to be better at my instrument, so I'm practicing a lot now. I'm going to school for it. I'm taking classes that make me a better musician. But all those days that I could've been practicing, but I was sitting around watching TV or something.
There's always room to get better, so I would've definitely practiced more.
Maddy: Well, thank you for taking some time out of your break to hang out with us today, Tommy! We wish you all the best. Good luck with school and your future!
Tom: Thank you for having me. It was a fun time! It's always a pleasure being back at The Real School!
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