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"I plan on teaching guitar, writing, performing" - I Love Music

bparham79 1 / 5  
Apr 11, 2011   #1
Hello Everyone. I'm so happy I found this site. It's been a long time since I've written anything and I could really use some help proofreading what I've done so far.

Here is the essay question:

Explain your career goals and your educational plan to meet these goals. (300 to 500 words)

My Essay is pasted below. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I plan on teaching guitar, writing, performing, and starting a non-profit music school giving lessons to underprivileged kids in Portland.

Portland Community College is already helping me to reach those goals. By delving into the Professional Music Program I've already grown tremendously as a musician. Since enrolling I've begun writing compelling jazz compositions, performing with up and coming singer-songwriters, opening my ears, and broadening my musical interests.

My guitar playing has also grown by leaps and bounds. As a relative newcomer to the instrument, I've already blossomed into an elite player and am getting better everyday.

I hope to be one of the premier blues and jazz guitar players in the Portland scene for years to come. To help accomplish this, I plan on completing the entire series of Band Performance I-III and Jazz Improvisation I-III classes offered at the Cascade Campus and performing with everyone from PCC faculty to fellow students.

I've also begun singing through the Contemporary Singing Classes, which is something both terrifying and exhilarating. Although I haven't been blessed with a natural singing voice, singing is important for instrumentalists because it develops the ears and allows the performer to get involved in the music on a physical level.

After all the human voice is the archetype of which all other musical instruments were designed. Singing brings you closer to the essence of the art, and allows the performer to literally feel the intervals in your body.

To further improve my voice and open my ears, not only will I be completing the entire series of Contemporary Singing Classes this year, but I will also be enrolling in the Group Vocal and PCC Voices of Soul Chorus offered at the Sylvania campus next year.

Performance and technique is only one side of the Professional Music Industry. I plan on completing the entire gauntlet of classes (from Studio Technology to Digital Recording - and everything in between) offered by the Cascade Campus' Music Production Department next year.

Mastering an art form is a lot of work. Seven days a week. Weekends included of course. It's cost me jobs, friends, and thousands of dollars in education and equipment.

But I don't mind. I consider myself lucky. Blessed even. One of the chosen few that wake up excited in the morning and who lie awake at night dreaming of tomorrow's gains.

In many ways music has given me a second chance at life: a chance to pursue something far greater than myself. A chance to hope. To dream. To grow.

Not only is music a source of joy and pride, but it's also taught me many of life's greatest lessons as well - lessons like humility and sacrifice, dedication and the self-confidence that comes from setting goals and achieving them.

With the help of the PCC Foundation Scholarship, I will have the opportunity to grow and blossom into one of the areas top talents and to become a dedicated member of Portland's vibrant music scene.

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Apr 13, 2011   #2
It's also taught me many of life's greatest lessons as well. Lessons like humility and sacrifice, dedication and the self-confidence that comes from setting goals and achieving them.

The second sentence is a fragment. Make it complete by using a dash and connecting the two sentences together:
It's also taught me many of life's greatest lessons as well -- lessons like...

Okay, I like your way of thinking... even your writing style is like music! But I want to suggest organizing all those single lines into paragraphs. Put them together, and make paragraphs of 4-5 sentences.

I recommend cutting the boring lines at the start:
"I love music."

It's a common enough expression. We hear it all the time. In bits of conversation on the subway, an innocent comment at a cocktail party or from a friend over the phone.

"I love music."

Sure most people like music. I'll give them that. They enjoy listening to it, have a few favorite bands, and sport a pretty decent ITunes collection. These people like music, but me. Well, I love music.

I'll cross out the clichs:
See music is my life .
And this part below is an incomplete sentence unless I make a little change:
From the first moment I picked up a guitar, God knows I have been...---I think you can fix it like this.

Okay, one more thing: They clearly are asking yo to describe a plan and list some goals. You should ge right to the point and do that early in the essay. List many goals, and describe a detailed plan.

OP bparham79 1 / 5  
Apr 14, 2011   #3
Thanks a ton. I really appreciate the advice. I'm going to work on these essays this weekend and I'll repost what I've come up with.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Greatly appreaciated!
OP bparham79 1 / 5  
Apr 19, 2011   #4
Scholarship Essays -Final Drafts - Please Help

Hello everyone. Thanks for advice thus far EF_Kevin. I've made an overhaul to my essays. I'm passionate about my subject. I'm the hardest worker in my program. I'm a straight A student and I know I'm the perfect candidate for the scholarships. I want to show those traits in my essays.

Any and all tips are greatly appreciated :) Thanks so much in advance.

2. Describe a challenge you have faced or a personal accomplishment you achieved. Describe the strengths and skills you used to face the challenge or achieve the accomplishment.(300 to 500 words)

April 18, 2011

Greatest Accomplishment: by Brian P******

My greatest accomplishment was overcoming poverty, discrimination, and a lack of opportunity - and creating the conditions necessary to pursue my dream: music.

It demanded everything of me: courage, determination, discipline, enthusiasm, and passion.

My journey started in a small coalminers town infamous for it's drug abuse and high suicide rates. I didn't have many opportunities growing up, but I built the courage and determination necessary to leave this sad town through competitive sports and the writings of great authors such as Leo Tolstoy, Jack Kerouac, and Cervantes.

After backpacking across the country I settled in San Francisco, CA for 5 years of hard work. Holding a full time job as the General Manager of the Environment Protection Agency's fitness club, I woke up every morning at 5 AM to train clients, teach spin classes, and complete my administrative tasks.

Organized and enthusiastic, I consistently practiced my instrument afternoon and night on an average of 6 hours a day. Often I'd drag my guitar and a stack of music books to work with me and performed for the members or hit the nearest park during my lunch break to practice for the hour.

The gym members soon became amazed by my dedication and progress. I'm proud to say that I inspired more than a few EPA employees to dust off their old instruments, take some music lessons, and even shared the stage with some of them at government events and parties.

After work I often biked through the jam-packed city streets to the local community music center where I was lucky enough to study with inspiring teachers and to become part of a vibrant musical community.

My musical projects and professional ambitions grew and matured with time. My passion was leading me to become a full-time music student. After carefully reviewing the music programs in my city and around the country I chose PCC and moved to Portland with my wife, who happens to find my enthusiasm contagious.

Leaving a great job and lots of friends required a leap of faith, but after three semesters at PCC, I know that I'm exactly where I'm meant to be.

My biggest challenge was creating the opportunities I wasn't afforded early in life. And my greatest success is that I get to wake up everyday and do what I love more than anything else in this world-play music.
MiiSTiiCZ 3 / 9  
Apr 19, 2011   #5
Wow. I can tell from your writing that you really want that scholarship. :) This essay is great! I see a lot of variation in sentence structure and length, which makes your essays flow together nicely. Your extensive vocabulary is prevalent all throughout these essays, and as a reader, it fits in quite nicely. You have written these essays in such a way that your point is very effectively conveyed in a concise, professional manner, but at the same time, you are able to showcase your vocabulary without sounding pompous or "show-offish", if that makes sense. Your writing also very effectively conveys your dedication to music. Not just the parts where you discuss how much time you practice, but your overall essay. In your writing, you show your knowledge of music. You specifically address how the courses you plan on taking will improve your musical abilities. As a reader, just skimming over your writing for the first time, I can tell that you are very passionate about music, you have clear, reasonable goals established, and you are striving toward them every day. And I believe those are the main points you are trying to get across. There is only one minor grammatical thing that I noticed; the rest of the essay looks flawless to me.

"and allows the performer to literally feel the intervals in your body." The point of view seems to shift a little, from "the performer" being third person, to "your body," which is second person.

"and allows you to literally feel the intervals in your body." In my opinion, this would work best, because in the first part of the sentence, "you" is also used.

Your writing is phenomenal, Brian. Absolutely amazing. Best of luck, and I really hope you get that scholarship!!! :)
OP bparham79 1 / 5  
Apr 19, 2011   #6
Thank you so much for the feedback. I sincerely appreciate it. It was EF_Kevin that really motivated me to narrow in on my focus and answer the questions. Thanks very much EF_Kevin for the advice.

Also, Missticcz, thank you so much for the encouragement. You just made my day :)

I'm going to make the changes you suggested and I'll post any updates regarding the scholarships. I'm meeting with the head of the department on Thursday of this week to help touch up my applications.

Thanks again! :)

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Apr 20, 2011   #7
I've also begun singing through the Contemporary Singing Classes, which is something both terrifying and exhilarating.

I like this sentence.

You did a great job of showing a complex, sophisticated, well-developed idea about your future. That is the best thing to do with this kind of essay, I think. And if you are concerned about not having a natural signing voice, listen to Tom Waits or Bob Dylan! They don't have great voices, but they are sound artists... :-)
MiiSTiiCZ 3 / 9  
Apr 25, 2011   #8
No problem, Brian! It's very inspiring to see someone so devoted to something. As a musician myself, I understand how hard it can be to practice at times, and even though I have been told I'm talented and dedicated, I know that my level of dedication isn't anywhere near yours. Your essay, it's personal, but not too personal. I've never met you, but right away, I can tell that you're organized, you have clear goals, and you are very devoted to music. Your word choice, syntax, and overall flow of your essay are essential to conveying these things. Even if you didn't mention how often you practice, for how long, your lack of childhood opportunities, etc, it's very easy to tell from your vocabulary and description of various music-related courses that you are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about music. When you throw in a little of your back-story, well, that made it exponentially more powerful in my eyes. Go get 'em! :)

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