DMA SUCCESS STORY: Musician & Programmer Natasha Pennington

By Phill Powell

One of Steven Spielberg’s first movies was called The Sugarland Express. You could also apply that title to our latest DMA Success Story. Natasha Pennington comes from Sugar Land, Texas, and when she shows up, she usually brings a powerful, rhythmic sound with her…like a booming locomotive.

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DMA music production student Natasha Pennington shows off her prized stand-up bass.

You see, this musical 17-year-old is an accomplished bassist who’s jammed with a pro band (called Silvergun). But her interests don’t stop with music.

Natasha has attended DMA’s Austin camp for the past two summers.

Not surprisingly, last year she took our two-week music academy. But she changed it up this year, by attending our two-week Java programming academy.

We’re delighted that Natasha awarded us the highest score possible for “overall camp experience” on an end-of-camp survey. We’re even more pleased that she enjoyed her DMA camp experience both summers, and that she’s interested in coming to work for us. Read on…

THE DMA INTERVIEW: MUSICIAN AND PROGRAMMER NATASHA PENNINGTON

Natasha, what did you actually create at DMA tech camp?
When I was at the music production academy for two weeks, I created 12 original songs that are at available at my Soundcloud page. I never made anything quite like that before with professional software and at camp I was able to use Ableton Live and Pro Garage Band to create my recordings.

How exactly did it make you feel when you completed your final project?
I felt good creating songs and it inspired me to do future recordings. It also felt great accomplishing my goal that I set at the beginning of camp.

What were the most fun things about attending DMA tech camp?
Last summer I returned to do the Java programming academy. Our class was small and we were able to go to a private screening and premiere of the movie Pixels. We all went in a Mercedes van and it was pretty cool.

Sounds fun! Did you make friends at DMA camp this summer?
I made a lot of friends, and four of them are still good enough friends that we text on almost a daily basis. But at both the music production academy and computer coding academy, I was the only girl for most of the time.

[Editor: Now DMA offers a supercool Java programming academy for girls.]

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Natasha learned Java in her second season at DMA, and attended a cool movie pre-premiere, too!

Do you think you’ll use what you learned at DMA back at your regular school?
Absolutely. I’ve used it in my Technical Theater class as a sound board manager. I also did our main theatre’s production musicals at my school and used Ableton, which they taught me at DMA’s music production academy. Also, I’ve used some of the computer coding when my theater teacher has crashed his computer and I’ve been able to help him out.

Sounds like you learned some useful stuff. Would you like to come back to a DMA tech camp next summer?
I can’t go back next summer because I’ll be 18, which is too old to be a DMA Teen camper, based on the rules. I would like to maybe perform a job at DMA this summer, counseling or helping one of the music production teachers. That would be really great.

We’ll definitely check into that for you, because you seem like the kind of excited, energized young staff members we typically look for. Natasha, would you suggest DMA tech camps to your best friends and their parents?
Sure. Because it was fun and you can learn something educational during the summer that you can use in the future.

I think these are things that will help me in whatever I do in life.
– DMA Music Production & Programming Student Natasha Pennington

So were your parents pleased with your DMA experience?
I think so. But really, you should ask my aunt, since she was generous enough to give me camp as a birthday gift.

That’s one nice aunt!
And speaking of my aunt, she also emailed me two questions when she heard that I was doing this interview.

Cool! Let’s hear ’em.
These are her questions…

Do you think your experience at DMA will help you in your professional pursuits?
Yes. It can help me in the professional world because in the entertainment industry, music producers use Ableton and Pro Garage Band to create some of the most famous songs in the world, like “Uptown Funk.” It shows that the skills I learned two years ago are used to create music in the professional world.

And did you learn any non-technical skills that you think will be useful to your career?
Yes. I learned things like time management, project management, how to communicate with others and best ways of sharing information and knowledge. I think these are things that will help me in whatever I do in life.

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Ready to rock, Natasha prepares to lay down the sound.

GET IN THE GROOVE!

This summer is the perfect time for you to explore your creative passions at one of DMA’s tech camp locations across the U.S. and Canada, where students like Natasha discover all the things they’re capable of creating.

Maybe you’re like Natasha and there’s more than one tech subject you’re interested in. No problem! Come see us for multiple weeks and really make it a DMA summer!

DMA camps are filling extra early this year. Register now to take advantage of special Spring DMA camp discounts!

Special thanks to DMA’s Rachelle Harding for coordinating this interview!