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Describe a setback. How you resolved it. How it effected you.


Llamapoop123 7 / 442  
Aug 6, 2009   #1
So yeah, this is my essay for the Michigan Setback 500 word essay.
I'd be really thankful if you guys could give me some feedback.

A Note.

Each key plummeted as though self-propelled, irrepressible. Each note echoed through the dark room. Each error seemed to linger, and any break in the music would be fatal. A man sat beside me with a clipboard on his lap, his hand curved around a thin dark pen; these items unnerved me to the point of utter desperation. They were the testament, the judges of my skill. Even so, I persisted through the piece; eager to navigate this labyrinth of black and white; the colors that have defined nine years of my life. Nine years of crawling through arpeggios and stumbling on chords. I had finally gotten to the note. The note that would decide, the key that seemed would judge the entirety of my musical skill. It was wrong.

I was violently ripped into consciousness, as the wrong sound cracked as though from a gun. Now sitting in a cramped study room I waited. A thin lady with square glasses raised her head in what seemed like hours, her face unforgiving and lined with agitation. I braced for the confrontation that would surely follow. The lecture that I would soon be listening to would be vicious and unrelenting. The wrong note had appeared again. I had once again failed to impress my teacher. After receiving that remarkable mental thrashing I staggered home drowned in somber defeat. Slamming the front door, I quickly climbed onto my bed, unable to recount the day's events.

The next day, I sat with my hands resting on the faded white of my piano. As I scanned the butchered, abused music score I saw the note again diverting my attention, mocking my determination. I decided to lay waste to its attempts to foil my proficiency. I practiced. I practiced for the betterment of my piano teacher so that she would feel at rest when I played the piece before my judge. I practiced for the benefit of my parents who I needed to improve for. Yet I was constantly unsatisfied. Piano had become an obstacle to overcome.

I played the piano more and more each day, slowly reducing time for other activities. My friends left one by one, irritated by my lack of time. I explained again and again that I had to please my piano teacher in order to have free time. I clarified that I needed a certain amount of hours of practice. One of them scoffed at me and told me harshly that my piano wasn't made for my teacher to play. Piano was my hobby, yet I had never practiced for my own satisfaction. I finally understood that I had never been successful because of this.

I eyed the man with the clipboard and pen. My fingers sprang into a lively movement. A melodious tune emerged from the keyboard. The music was under my own control at last. I became more confident with each note. This was a confidence that I would exhibit in my future activities. I no longer bore the task of meeting the expectations of others. I came to enjoy the music I had been producing for half my life.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Aug 6, 2009   #2
This is lovely: Vivid, insightful, and precisely to the point of the question. You've just got to clean up the odd error and this will be a very strong entry for you. Study up on the difference between commas and semi-colons before making your final proofread.

Now sitting in a cramped study room I waited.

As I scanned the butchered, abused music score, I saw the note again diverting my attention, mocking my determination.

One of Chopin's most treasured pieces emerged from the keyboard.

The way you have phrased this indicates that the piece was one of Chopin's favorites. If it is, rather, one of your favorites, then you will have to rephrase.
OP Llamapoop123 7 / 442  
Aug 6, 2009   #3
Thanks, you just gave me a whole lot more confidence. :]
Liebe 1 / 542 2  
Aug 6, 2009   #4
Each key plummeted as though self-propelled, irrepressible. Each note echoed through the room as it would from the peak of a mountain. Each error seemed (...)

^I have made it to the top of a mountain actually. Given my experience, I did not understand the echo simile.
I also do not get how hunger 'lingers'.
Why is the man's hand curved around a thin dark pen? Is he showing off how flexible his wrist is?
Your writing style is quite good actually. You have made some grammar mistakes here and there, but overall, your introduction is quite good.

Your second paragraph is also well written. This paragraph also has some grammar essays. With the ending however, I kind of understood how that one screwed up note was impactful. I did not need another two consecutive

reminders, adding to something I already understood.

I sat with my hands resting on the faded white of my piano. As I scan the butchered; abused music score I saw the note again diverting my attention; mocking my determination. I practiced again and again for the betterment of my piano teacher so that she would feel at rest when I played the piece before my judge. I practiced for the benefit of my parents who I needed to improve for. Yet I was constantly unsatisfied. Piano had become an obstacle to overcome.

^You had just mentioned nine years in your earlier paragraph. Then you suddenly say 'I sat' etc. When did this happen? When during those nine years did this moment take place?

There should be a comma after butchered.
How can you see a musical note by the way? I am sure that they are HEARD.

Piano was my hobby, yet I had never practiced because I wanted to satisfy myself.

^Yea, this needs to be reworded. You are saying that piano was your hobby, but you never practiced playing it because you wanted to satisfy yourself. I am led to believe, that you did not play piano even though it was your hobby, because you were too busy masturbating.

*This is the second essay Ive read where a reference to masturbation can be interpreted.

I finally understood that I had never been successful because of this.

^Well, if this is continuing on from the previous point, two words.
O dear.

I was prepared, for conquering this note was no longer my goal, neither was satisfying my piano instructor nor my judge. The goal was so unimaginably simplistic. I had nine years of piano experience, and now I was going to let it go to waste for one note? I eyed the man with the clipboard and pen. The frost had retreated from my fingers. They sprang into a lively movement. One of Chopin's most treasured pieces emerged from the keyboard. I became more confident with each note, right or wrong. I came to enjoy the music I had been producing for half my life. This confidence and pleasure would stay with me in my future activities as would my desire to fulfill others expectations be purged. (Reword)

^What is your goal that you ramble on about for two sentences?
Frost between your fingers? Was the air conditioning really powerful? Also, how does frost retreat, and spring into a lively movement?

Your essay is generally good but seeing as how you are a good writer, then this needs to be tweaked quite a lot. A lot.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Aug 6, 2009   #5
It would be nice if you could end on a high note, pardon the pun, and talk about how you finally mastered the piece (assuming you did). Otherwise, the point of the essay seems to be that after nine years of practice, you still can't hit one particular note in one particular song, a point that sort of detracts from the impression you want to give of yourself. Otherwise, though, this is a strong and original essay.
OP Llamapoop123 7 / 442  
Aug 7, 2009   #6
Thanks everyone, I'll focus on fixing it and submit a revised copy.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Aug 7, 2009   #7
Good! We'll look forward to seeing your revisions.
bmw 2 / 8  
Aug 8, 2009   #8
This essay seems very well written, I would just dab on the few punctuation errors that the moderator mentioned. Overall, excellent essay!
sarahstu 2 / 3  
Aug 9, 2009   #9
I am also applying to Michigan and doing the same essay, so I thought it would be good to read this! It is very well structured and organized, it keeps the reader going and that is exactly the kind of writing that people look for. You have very good vocabulary and writing skill, good work and good luck!
bboysmiles 1 / 5  
Aug 18, 2009   #11
After you corrected my essay i wanted to see how you wrote, and wow you are a great writer haha. anyways thanks for your suggestions I will fix it and i hopeyou will critique it again haha


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