First-year music education major Sam Kopeski has a dream. “I want to be a high school band director! This is a career I am very enthusiastic about and one that I believe I can perform at a high level.” And thanks in part to the Sharp Scholarship, he is making that dream come true.
Kopeski started playing clarinet in sixth grade. “I absolutely hated it, and I was ready to give up when my middle school band director put me on the bass clarinet.” The new instrument changed everything. “I had an absolute blast,” and he continued playing throughout middle school.
In high school he says, “Everything just seemed to come to me more naturally – it felt like home more than anything. I improved on my instrument tenfold. Taking AP Music Theory during my senior year also helped me decide that I wanted to be a music major in college and pursue teaching.”
Reinhardt was Kopeski’s school of choice. “I initially thought I would attend a larger school, but once I decided on my major and did the research, I found Reinhardt to be the best school for me. I want to teach, and I think I will be good at it. With so much to offer, I believe that Reinhardt will help me become more than an educator – I’ll be a mentor, a counselor, a role model. I’ll be able to do more than simply explain to my students what the ink says on the music paper, or how to toot a horn the right way. As a Reinhardt graduate, I will have the skills and abilities to relate to my students on many levels, beyond music, that will intrigue them and motivate them to pursue their own dreams.”
Kopeski has wasted no time getting involved on campus. “Reinhardt is a very active community, and I’ve met so many interesting people.” His favorite activity? “I love volunteering. I volunteer for as many activities as I can fit into my schedule!”
During the fall, he participated in MLK Day of Service and several music program activities. “Through the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) we host honor band clinics for middle school and high school, which are among my favorite events. They provide opportunities for me to help students grow in their field. These engagements with students feel intuitive to me, like this – Reinhardt – is the place for me to be.”
Kopeski says the Sharp Scholarship keeps him motivated. “Some days are just hard,” he admits. “There are times when I want to crack my clarinet in half because I just can’t hit that high note yet.” He shares that remembering the Sharp Scholarship and the important reasons he received it – good grades, leadership, and volunteering – help him keep going. “I am here to lead. I am here to help other people. I am here to improve my own self and well-being. These are all important to me, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”