Alexander deVaron teaches music theory and composition at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia. For the past 30 years, he has taught mindfulness in the Philadelphia area, including a stress management course for the Penn Program for Mindfulness at the University of Pennsylvania. In recent years, deVaron has merged his two passions, music and mindfulness, into a monthly drop-in workshop called “Mindfulness and Song.”
Why do you meditate?
I’m not one of those fortunate people who was just born into a sane and well-adjusted frame of mind. As a teenager, I had obsessive suicidal thoughts. I can still become very negative very quickly. With mindfulness, it’s not about getting rid of or never having those thoughts. It’s about disempowering them so that when they happen, you can just say, “Oh, there’s that hangover from when I was 16.”
Was music and singing a source of healing?
My mother was a classical musician and my sister is a singer-songwriter, so I grew up around people singing and playing the piano and guitar. But I was not particularly a singing type. In my early 20s, I gravitated toward the heady stuff—theory and composition.
When did your passion for singing…