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Musical Exploration - An obstacle can become an impetus growth.


Jarose 1 / 6  
Dec 29, 2010   #1
Please let me know any thoughts, comments, suggested changes. Thanks!

Musical Exploration

Music is a large part of my life. I love hearing new artists and discovering old ones. I love watching a performance and contributing to one. The physics of instruments, how a sound is created and how it can be subtly altered, is a concept of my perpetual intrigue.

I live with a degenerative neurological condition that limits my exploration of more complex and conventional instruments such as guitar or piano. In spite of this, I have studied many, albeit less common, instruments that fully satisfy my current level of creative exploration; several of these required my attempts to repair them from a state of dysfunction. As a result, I have become inclined to explore more deeply into the aesthetics of the sound I create. As a consequence of my condition, I have become a more varied and versed musician.

It was four years ago, and about 2,500 miles from home, that I first laid my hands on a djembe. This West African drum, shaped curiously like a large hourglass, allowed me to improvise musically for the first time. Until then I had never felt competent enough to make something up on the spot, and had consequently turned away from truly expressing myself through music. With the Djembe, I was put at ease by the simple movements required to make full, beautiful sounds. This led me to experiment with other instruments, including the harmonica and didgeridoo.

I grew to absolutely love everything about music, which made the repeated reminder that I was incapable of learning an instrument such as guitar more upsetting. Over time I studied new instruments alongside the previous ones, but I longed for something with which I could more fully express feeling and emotion. In came the balalaika, a three-stringed Russian guitar which I received from an antique store that was going out of business. I should say two-stringed guitar, as the bali was in disrepair. It was falling apart and missing large portions of its basic structure, so I set out to fix it. After about a month of looking for parts and a small country's annual import of superglue, I had a fully functional classical folk instrument. I decided not to look for any resources on balalaika technique. I wanted to learn entirely by exploring the instrument myself.

Since then I've had an explosion of creative energy, where I've improved existing skills and made first attempts at developing new ones. Understanding the physics at work in the balalaika as well as the djembe and didgeridoo has been incredibly beneficial to my studies in AP Physics. Energy and waves make sense to me from a practical view, as I have experience in using them to make music. I've begun collaborating with a friend of mine who is a professional guitarist. Despite being limited from developing skills in traditional instruments I am able to explore my creativity with even more variability.

In the future I plan to continue studying a diverse assortment of unusual instruments. I am currently in the process of actually learning the guitar, as slow as it may be. In the face of a debilitating disease, I have, ironically, expanded my archive of musical skill and knowledge. I've used my experience in music to help my understanding of physics, and hope to combine these passions in my college studies. I know it is important to never shut your eyes to learning something new, as you cannot know how it could benefit you. Through my experiences I've realized what may seem like an immovable obstacle can become an even greater impetus for growth.

P.S. I'm not quite sure if this should be under choice #5 or #6

#5: A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

#6: Topic of your choice.
perplexity215 3 / 17  
Dec 29, 2010   #2
Music constitutes a large part of my life

I think "is" is weak and can be replaced by a stronger word.

how a sound is created, and how it can be subtly altered

instruments to fully satisfy my current level of creative exploration

several of these required my attempts

I'm not really sure what "these" is referring to. Maybe try rephrasing the sentence to like "Many times, I have attempted to repair these instruments from a state of dysfunction."

I grew to love absolutely everything about music

I finally had a fully functional classical folk instrument

Despite being limited from developing skills in traditional instruments, I am able to explore my creativity with even more variability.

I think its amazing that despite your disease, you still have a passion for music. I think you have a good essay here. One other suggestion I have to to vary your sentence length. Many of your sentences seemed long.

I wish you the best of luck learning the guitar and working on your college apps!
OP Jarose 1 / 6  
Dec 29, 2010   #3
Thanks for your help! I made several of the small changes as well as added some shorter sentences here and there.


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