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When Lauren Sankovitch got an e-mail notifying her that a new pilot program would be offering music lessons through her college house, she knew it was an opportunity she couldn't pass up.

That's why the College freshman responded to the e-mail within 10 minutes and secured her spot.

The new program, which started this month in Community, Goldberg, Harnwell, Hill, Kings Court and Ware college houses, matches interested residents with professional musicians for music lessons in voice, piano or violin.

Between 20 and 25 students are currently participating in the program, filling all available spots.

"It's been great," Sankovitch said. "I've had a lot of fun. I really enjoy working with my teacher."

College Houses and Academic Services staff remain optimistic about the future of the program, hoping that more dormitories will participate and more instruments will be offered.

"We hope in the spring it will be bigger and in the fall bigger still," Associate Director for Academic Services David Fox said. "The enthusiasm is definitely there and we're excited about it."

The college house office subsidizes the cost of the music lessons. Students pay $40 per hour, while Penn pays $20. Lessons take place once a week for roughly 10 weeks.

Most lessons take place in practice rooms located in the college houses themselves, though some lessons are held at the Music Department building.

Each college house participating in the program is assigned a senior music associate, one of a several professional musicians who give lessons on one instrument.

But for some students, the fact that the residents of each college house only have access to one expert in a single instrument is the program's main drawback.

"It's very important when you're taking private lessons to have good chemistry with your teacher," said College freshman Lauren Levy, who is still debating whether to participate in her college house's program.

Bonnie Keller, who teaches voice lessons in Community House, said that she has had good chemistry with her students and enjoys working with the Penn population.

"They're delightful," she said. "They're eager, willing, quite reliable, which is surprising to me. They seem grateful for anything that makes them better."

Keller, who performs with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and used to head the Graduate Opera Department at Carnegie Mellon University, noted that her nine students have a wide variety of musical backgrounds, with some complete beginners and others active in Penn's musical productions.

Others noted that music is a great way to interact with other people.

Lynn Mather, who teaches violin in Goldberg, said that her ultimate goal for her students is that they learn to play with their peers.

"My hope is that the private study will lead into playing with other people, playing chamber music," she said.

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