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Music: My Greatest Teacher (CommonApp Essay- Topic of your choice)

whocares3725 1 / 1  
Sep 18, 2011   #1
Prompt: Topic of your choice.

Many students would say that the greatest teacher in their lives has been a quirky math teacher from middle school, a fun uncle at the family reunions, or even just their own parents. I guess it explains the odd looks I get when I say I've learned the most from my guitar.

It all started with an introductory music class where we learned a couple basic chords and "Smoke on the Water." This soon escalated to me begging for a guitar for Christmas, allowing me to practice daily and scouring the internet looking for songs I would like to learn to play. This process started right around the time in adolescence where I was looking to find my personality, who I was, what were my strengths, etc. It was through this music that I started to get a sense of who I was. The first thing I noticed was every song I could play was a low-paced soft song with meaningful lyrics. I started to find more and more that in my life I'm a pretty easygoing guy, but one who loves to find the meaning or inner workings behind a process. After discovering this about me, I started to look for other things in my music.

The ferocity at which I read tabs and learned songs showed me that when I'm presented with opportunity to learn about something I am truly interested in, I take full advantage of it. Looking back, I realized the reason I love and do so well in science classes is simply because of that opportunity to learn about how and why natural phenomena occur on earth, why evolution can explain the diversity of life on earth, and most of all, my fascination in how the human body operates.

Another thing music taught me was humility, believe it or not. After learning some of my first songs, I was so proud of what I could do and thought I was pretty good...until I saw some videos on YouTube of a 10-year-old Asian kid playing "Billie Jean" flawlessly on guitar. This taught me that no matter who you are in the world, there will always be someone who is better, so be proud of what you can do, but not arrogant.

Among the most important things I learned through music, however, was what I wanted to do with my life. One of the first songs I learned on guitar was The Fray's "How to Save a Life." To keep my feelings on this song short, it showed me that in life I have the ability to reach and positively affect as many people as I can. What better way to do that than to become a doctor or surgeon, where I can find people with their problems and fix them, literally.

Unfortunately, these lessons I've learned from music are just a handful that I was able to cram within 500 words in an essay. It excites me to think of how much I could learn from a college when I've been taught so much by some tones and beats put together in rhythm.

Right now my biggest concerns with this essay is it seems almost too structured like a 5-6 paragraph essay, with like point, support, analysis kind of format. I didn't mean for it to end up like this, but after years of having to do it I guess I'm just naturally inclined to structure it like that. I feel like the college essay readers are looking for something more creative than this, or just more free-flowing at least. This seems kinda stiff to me.

I also originally intended for it to try to answer the prompt "Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you" but I felt that since learning guitar wasn't a singular experience or event it fit better as a "open topic" essay. Do you think I should try to reformat it as the "Evaluate" prompt?

Any suggestions/reviews/opinions are accepted. Thank you!

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