Lisarow High student makes Talent Project cut

Lisarow High School student, Ethan Beckton

Lisarow High School student, Ethan Beckton, is set to graduate from the Talent Development Project (TDP), which is offered to NSW Government secondary school students from Years 9-12.

He is one of just 10 students across the state to make the final cut for the prestigious music program.

While the project has had its share of big-name graduates over the years, what’s most impressive is the fact that around 80 per cent of the graduates go through and maintain work in the industry, an Education Department spokesperson said.

Beckton said he had been in the project for two years.

“My preferred genre and style has really evolved since being in TDP,” he said.

“When I first started, I was in more of the straight pop music genre but now I’ve changed up. I like alternate and soft pop and I do a bit of jazz here and there as well.

“My main influence is the people around me, like-minded people, and the consultants at TDP have really challenged my thinking.

“Once I leave TDP I want to get into a music program in Sydney and continue studying music and pursuing my passion.”

With a roll-call of graduates that includes Las Vegas show-stoppers Human Nature, Aria chart-topper Paulini and Hi-5 original Nathan Foley, the Talent Development Project is now in its 31st year.

The project runs monthly workshops for young musicians to develop in a creative and collaborative environment. Partly funded by the NSW Department of Education, it is free to the students.

Students are encouraged to explore different genres and styles, and creatively challenge themselves in areas of singing, songwriting, production and performance.

State and television star Peter Cousens has been Artistic Director at the TDP for five years.

“My job really is to facilitate their creative journey,” Cousens said. “We see them once a month, so we can’t necessarily train their skills but we can give them challenges and inspire them to use their skills and think artistically.

“Our objective is to guide these kids into a professional world where they can have a career, where they can pay their rent.

“Some of them may go on, if they are lucky enough, to extraordinary success. But most will be people that can make a living out of music.” The intake for 2022-23 is now underway.

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Media release, Apr 12
NSW Education Department