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Common App: My Trumpet Shirley

crackhamster 5 / 10  
Oct 25, 2011   #1
I am at 600 words and the limit for common app is 500! The deadline is approaching fast (Nov. 1) and I was hoping someone could help me shorten down my essay! I have been told there are alot of tense errors throughout, but am awful at finding them in my own work... anyone corrections would be greatly appreciated!!!

I have this girl, who I am completely in love with. She is loud, outspoken, flamboyant; everything I am not. Or more accurately, everything I was not. Shirley, my trumpet, and I have been together since the 6th grade and she has made me all of who I am today. Anyone educated in the formalities of playing with a jazz ensemble knows that trumpet players are infamous for being ostentatious; whether it is taking a line unnecessarily up an octave, or holding out a note at the end of a song just because they can. In short, the quintessential lead trumpet player is an asshole. My first few years playing trumpet I was far from that; but as I began to understand Shirley, I developed stronger personality and character all of which I owe to her.

The absolute worst thing you can do with Shirley is be timid, and unfortunately I was the absolute best at that when I first picked her up. Approaching the 8th grade I was very shy, and rarely voiced my opinions in fear of being wrong. This was an obstacle for me because as an aspiring jazz musician the epitome of jazz is the ability to express your own thoughts or ideas through improvisation. One of the first lessons Shirley taught me is that whenever I play, I have to commit to what I am going to do. In general, those who play with mettle tend to be more adept at improvisation. When soloing over a set of chord changes there is a handful of notes that will sound fitting in context to what is being played, and those who dare to venture outside of these parameters are considered to have full mastery of a song. In reality more often than not those who venture outside these parameters stumble upon these notes on accident. But rather than attacking these notes half-hearted and making it sound like a mistake, they fully embrace every sound produced by their horn. I realized that if played with enough certainty, to your audience it would sound like you were doing it on purpose. And as I began to recognize these subtle aspects, more and more became apparent. I began to value the patience and time that goes into perfecting a piece; the small, playful interactions between a soloist and their rhythm section; the control and vigor that accompanies expressing your emotions when performing. These insights translated into the molding of my character during my years of adolescence. I began to speak with confidence, hold high my own convictions, and commit myself entirely no matter what I did. And as I continued with my learning, I came to the realization that Shirley herself was beautiful. Just like a sculptor transforms a block of marble into a work of art, Shirley gave me the tools to mold complete silence into an existence of creativity. She took me, a young, unassertive boy, and gave me a foundation to build myself upon. But more than anything, she gave me the backbone to do all the things I never would have had the courage to do.

I am now entering my senior year, become the secretary of my class SGA, lead trumpet in our jazz ensemble, and youth leader in my Boy Scout Troop. Much of my success I accredit to Shirley, and how can I not? Throughout these years I have gained self-confidence, motivation, perseverance, and reason to brag a little. I have not mastered Shirley yet, and at the age 17 that is expected. The two of us are still yet to run our course but no matter who I am at the end, I'll know that she will have been with me every step of the way.

sonya15 4 / 29  
Oct 30, 2011   #2
and to commit no matter what I did.

and to commit to everything I did?
Is that what you're trying to say?

Rather than attacking these notes (half-heartedly) and making it sound like a mistake

I think overall this essay works very well. I think you should talk even more about yourself specifically. I mean, you list some extracurriculars, but what if you posted an anecdote or something? That would make this even stronger.

Would you mind looking at mine?

Thanks and good luck :)
OP crackhamster 5 / 10  
Oct 30, 2011   #3
i agree with comment on simply listing off my extracurriculars, but i think i covered the other 2 in my latest revision didnt i?
sonya15 4 / 29  
Oct 30, 2011   #4
haha cutest essay ever.

look at mine?

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