Student Voices | Mia McKinney

Singer performing

For avid travelers, the summer months are ideal for family vacations to Mediterranean coasts, museum strolling, and street shopping. For PCM vocal student, Mia McKinney, her very first trip to Europe culminated from the success of a rigorous and selective audition last spring for the Opera Viva! Young Artist Summer Program, in Verona, Italy.

Mia McKinney, age sixteen, is an incoming high school senior at Westridge School for Girls, studying voice with Mariné Ter-Kazaryan at PCM. Mia began in PCM’s Young Musicians program and ventured into piano around age 5. A year later, Mia decided to discontinue piano lessons and found her calling in vocal arts, stating that, “I had always loved singing and was told I had a good voice (by biased family and friends, of course) so, I decided I wanted to take [lessons]”.

Mia’s immense dedication for music and vocal arts is evident in her achievements, as she has sung, not once, but twice at Carnegie Hall with the Middle School Honors Choir for the Honors Performance Series, earned a $250 scholarship at the Glendale Community College High School Competition (should she choose to attend GCC), and was selected to perform with the High School Honors Choir for the Honors Performance Series, in Sydney Australia this July. Praised as one of the most advanced vocal students at PCM, Mia was invited to sing the National Anthem at a ceremony to honor war veterans in Pasadena last May.

Portrait of woman in front of European cityscape

Mia’s musical endeavors have only affirmed her passion for vocal arts and have provided her with valuable professional experiences. With only a month to prepare for the Opera Viva! Young Artist Program, Mia learned an entire opera scene (16 pages of music!), in addition to learning and memorizing seven choir pieces in preparation for her performance in Australia soon after. Despite the challenges, Mia thoroughly enjoyed, “getting the opportunity to travel abroad and experience different cultures” and that, “being able to visit and sing while there was inspiring.”

In the near future, Mia plans to pursue vocal performance and explore her interests in STEM and music therapy at her dream college, USC. When asked how learning music has impacted her life, she said:

Music has always provided me with a form of escape, as cliché as it sounds. When performing, I’m able to separate myself from the chaos in my life and just be involved in the music/character. I also find the vibrations that result from singing to be relaxing. When I sing, those vibrations kind of soothe my mind.