From Summer Study to a Dream Realized: Reflections on Music Horizons 2015

By Katja Pennypacker

Soprano Katja Pennypacker attended the Eastman Community Music School’s Music Horizons summer
program in 2015. She is now a freshman vocal performance major at Eastman, studying with Kathryn
Cowdrick.

Participating in the Music Horizons voice program was a life-changing experience for me and the reason why Eastman was my first-choice school for college. This three-week intensive program was like no other summer music program I had done. What made it so different was its academic nature: other programs function more like camps, but Music Horizons was a real introduction to college life at a music school.

As soon as I arrived on campus, I was surrounded by music all the time. After I moved into the Student
Living Center, placement tests were taken, courses were assigned and the magical experience began. Private voice lessons, “Theater for Singers” class, and repertoire class were all amazing experiences; I received individual attention and guidance and had the chance to perform in Eastman’s beautiful halls. I also loved the other required classes: music history, music theory, sight singing/ear training, and improvisation were all challenging and fun. I learned so much every day that I just wanted to keep learning more. Working with the talented and supportive faculty and staff was motivating, and the friendships I made were real. I didn’t want it to end!

My dream came true when I was accepted to the Eastman School of Music as a vocal performance major. Having just completed my first semester here, I can say that my time in Music Horizons was a very accurate preview of Eastman student life. I am fortunate to be able to work closely with the world-renowned faculty, collaborate with talented musicians, sing in a variety of ensembles, and be inspired by my professors. Eastman motivates me to always do my very best and to continue learning every day. There is so much I want to learn more about as a result of what I have studied so far.

Music Horizons is a very worthwhile program. I would recommend it to any aspiring musician who is looking for a fun, challenging and inspiring time making music, meeting new friends, and learning.