New Mexico Music Commission’s Student Musician Spotlight

Featured Student: DeAnna Smiley ~ Albuquerque

DeAnna Smiley ~ guitarist

DeAnna Smiley is the April 2018 featured student in the New Mexico Music Commission’s Student Musician Spotlight series.

DeAnna was born and raised in Albuquerque and is a junior at Menaul School. She is a kind, respectable student who works hard not only in her guitar studies but also in her academic studies. She is a third-year guitar student under the guidance of her teacher, Chelsea Toledo. DeAnna is an eager and motivated student who regularly volunteers to participate in performances outside of class whenever the opportunity arises. During her time in guitar class, she has opened up to her classmates, getting to know some quite well. She feels very challenged by Ms. Toledo’s instruction and has had to work hard to improve her note reading and technique so that she can play more challenging music. In addition to guitar, DeAnna composes her own music, has an interest in the piano, and is a visual artist and writer.

DeAnna was nominated by her guitar instructor and mentor, Chelsea Toledo, Director of the Guitar Program at Menaul School. Chelsea says of Deanna, “She has been a part of my guitar class since her freshman year. Like most Freshman, classical guitar was brand new to her. She was one to immediately adapt to the basics of proper posture, proper technique, and reading musical notation. In that first year DeAnna never passed up an opportunity to perform in out-of-school events. Her first performance was at a gala fundraising event for Menaul school in February of 2016 and for the past three years she has always been the first person to volunteer for performances we are invited to at church services and at Menaul’s baccalaureate ceremonies. DeAnna has spent each year improving her technique and her note reading so that she is able to better perform more advanced pieces. I am constantly impressed by her ability to take any advice I have to offer and apply it immediately to her music. I have seen DeAnna grow in more ways than just her musicianship. DeAnna is an incredibly quiet student and has kept to herself, but throughout the years she has emerged from her quiet demeanor to engage in musical conversation. In essence, she has let the guitar be her voice. She performs with the utmost accuracy and attention to detail. I consider her to be one of my most talented students to embody all the qualities of a dedicated musician and a kind and loving student with immense respect for all of those around her.”

DeAnna is extremely humbled by this recognition and is grateful to all those who have supported her throughout the years, particularly her mother, Dorene Etcitty, and her teacher, Chelsea Toledo.

Congratulations, DeAnna, for being selected as the Music Commission’s April 2018 student musician! In addition to being inducted into the student spotlight, DeAnna will be featured on the Music Commission’s Facebook page and will receive an official certificate of recognition from the State.

Click here for information about the Student Musician Spotlight.

above: DeAnna Smiley performing an assignment from her guitar class at Menaul School – recorded late March 2018.

note: DeAnna’s biographical information, image, and video are used with permission of her mother.

Smiley, DeAnna ~ guitar