Penn State educational summer camps provide exploration and fun

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hundreds of kids are expected to enroll in educational camps at Penn State this summer.

The University offers a variety of camps to help youth increase their knowledge of subjects ranging from weather to cooking to music.

Participants get to meet other youth with similar interests and learn skills designed to provide long-term influence.

In 1988, one of those campers, J.J. Penna, a high school junior at the time, attended his first-ever summer music camp at Penn State’s School of Music. He trained with Professor Timothy Shafer, an award-winning scholar and professional musician.

“The physical aspects of playing the instrument take a long time to settle,” Penna said. “Tim Shafer has a way of unlocking those physical elements in a way that very much relates to expression and musicality.”

Penna of Princeton, N.J., who is now a professional pianist, said Shafer taught him how to attain a deeper, richer sound playing the piano.

“He embraced everything that I brought to the table, at that time, and he was really supportive and sensitive to all aspects of my musicianship,” said Penna, adding that he highly recommends Penn State’s program.

Penn State Summer Music Camp will be held July 15-21. Students who have completed eighth grade or enrolled in high school, including recently graduated seniors, can attend.

Since his time at Penn State, Penna has become a full-time instructor and vocal coach in the Vocal Arts Department of The Julliard School in New York and Rider University’s Westminster Choir College in New Jersey. He has traveled the world as a pianist for singers like Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, Amy Burton, David Daniels, Denyce Graves and Florence Quivar.

Summer camp programs at Penn State cater to youth from Pennsylvania and beyond. In addition to music, Penn State hosts six educational summer camps on the University Park campus. For a more comprehensive listing, visit online.

To watch a video from last year's Summer Music Camp, click /video/148330/2013/02/08/video-no-title#email online.

Penn State Conferences plans and manages hundreds of programs each year which represent the diversity and strength of Penn State’s academic colleges and provide opportunities for individuals to learn about the latest scholarship, research and developments in their fields or participate in enriching learning experiences. Penn State Conferences is part of Penn State Outreach, which serves more than 5 million people each year, in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated June 21, 2012