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My musical journey provided me an alternate world - common app essay about music


icyasher 1 / -  
Jan 2, 2017   #1
Prompt: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

sensibility for sounds



The sounds of steel strings that once echoed throughout my household were replaced by silence with the occasional sounds of flipping textbook pages. I became immersed in books and numbers and lost the drive I once had for playing the guitar. In the summer of freshman year, the melodious tones of the guitar beckoned at me once more, reigniting my determination to become a musician. This time, without a mentor, I found my way back into the world of music by purchasing my own guitar and practicing on my own accord. My self-taught journey as a musician proved to bolster more than just my musical abilities.

The young guitarist in me desired quick improvement with minimal effort. I played the same songs and plucked with the same two fingers for months, expecting immediate improvement. The frustrating plateaus I couldn't overcome, along with the overwhelming workload I faced, led to the stagnation in my music career. Not wanting to relive my past mistakes, I approached the renewed journey with a new mentality: progress is gradual and continuous effort precedes success.

For the first few practices, my primary goal was to retrieve my lost abilities. I started with basic chords, or a group of notes, to strengthen the fingers on my left hand. As my left hand formed the shape of a C-chord on the fretboard, I strummed down with my right thumb only to produce a buzz: a sign of failure. I pressed on the strings with all my might, yet they failed to elicit the sound I desired so greatly. Nevertheless, with the determination to improve, I practiced until my fingers begged for mercy. In each session, a newfound inner voice seemed to mock me as it repeated 'redo' with each failed attempt. However, there were times where this conscience encouraged me with phrases like 'just a few more' or 'you've progressed so far'. Within a month, my fingers grew accustomed to the roughness of the strings and danced around the fretboard effortlessly once again.

As I continued my musical journey, I obeyed the conscience commanding me to practice after a long day of work. Every day, I set aside some time to play the guitar. The discipline rubbed off onto the nearing school year. Rather than cramming hundreds of terms the day before an exam or leaving a presentation for the last minute, I divided each task over multiple days. With this new approach, the sounds of the guitar continued to brighten up the day as the pile of papers stacked higher. Each day would be met with minimal stress as the workload became manageable. Without music, the rigorous classes and extracurriculars would've been too overwhelming, and I would never appreciate the importance of time management.

My progression as a guitarist soon grew tedious. Unlike before, techniques now required months of practice to master from just a single day. Thumb-slapping, a percussive technique used in guitar music, took two years worth of drills, along with the frustration and moments where I would contemplate on giving up, to finally master. When I learned the technique, the satisfaction was greater than ever and altered my mindset completely. Previously, the new mentality I had for music didn't apply to the other aspects of my life yet. However, accomplishing this feat proved that I had the potential to achieve my goals as long as I provided the effort. As obvious as this was, I didn't believe in this ideology until I witnessed it firsthand.

My musical journey provided an alternate world where I could experiment with a new persona. From strumming chords to plucking melodies that replicated the songs, I was exposed to a multitude of obstacles to overcome. Every wall that I broke provided me with more evidence to adopt the new mindset. As I embark on my journey to college, this mindset will guide me every step of the way.

Any criticism would be nice

zumbastrol - / 6 3  
Jan 2, 2017   #2
@icyasher
Firstly, your intro seems deceptive.
You said you immersed in books then suddenly began with guitar again.
For any normal person like me, it seems you're just framing this thing and actually you never left guitar. There must be a strong incident which had to take you back to the musical journey even if you're framing this whole story, whichever the case maybe. I'm not aware about the safety schools but for the top notches this doesn't do the work at least in terms of intro and conclusion. You also mentioned ......" every wall I broke..." that is the worst way to phrase the things up. I didn't read the middle paragraph which I probably think would describe again how much problems you faced or your new journey with music but again I would say it is because of your intro which made me skip to conclusion leading to much disappointment and worse scenario for college, a rejection.

Sorry for such a harsh critique but it tells you where things go wrong.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,297 3340  
Jan 2, 2017   #3
Justin, you need to clarify why you lost the drive to play the guitar in the first place. You can't just tell the reader that you decided to pick up the books and lost interest in guitar playing. What was the reason behind it? What motivated you to go for academic pursuits instead of your musical inclinations at the time? These reasons will form part of the foundation for the explanation as to why you decided to pick up the guitar again later on. Basically, the essay should reflect the two sides of your personality as a background. The side that felt a need to stop with the music in order to develop academically and intellectually, and the side that sought freedom of expression through music. If you can edit the essay to better reflect these two personalities, then this background essay will be more interesting and revealing to the reviewer in terms of getting to know you as a person.


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