Hey guys, I would really appreciate comments on my commonapp essay!
At thirteen, I was given an instrument that equaled my height. Lost as I was staring at the bulky chunk of wood that produced only grunts when I bowed its four thick silvery strings, I was persuaded by my teacher nonetheless to accept its intimidating stature. According to him, taller people have an advantage as they can more easily stretch their arms to reach the higher notes. Back then, I dreaded dragging this cumbersome instrument to every rehearsal while ensuring its safety through the narrow doors that threatened its very infrastructure; I hated the low tones that are constantly ignored by audiences. Now, I have completely changed my view. Seeing my diploma in Double Bass Performance laminated at the centre of my display cupboard, memories flood my mind and remind me of the difficulties I faced to reach where I currently am. Ultimately, I know that my journey with the double bass has shaped me into a confident, stylistic and assured young man.
My life was never quite the same after taking up the double bass. It became one in which I accept the odds and challenge the unknown. Like many musicians, I was an attention seeker. I wished to showcase my most charming, most dazzling side, and the best of my skills to gain approval of others. I wanted people to appreciate my music. I auditioned for the National Youth Orchestra, only to be rejected due to lack of experience. Biting my teeth, I endured through the days of incessant yelling from my teacher and bulging blisters on my hands, and eventually received admission into the main orchestra after one more attempt. I was overjoyed that my efforts had paid off, yet more than anything, I knew that I did not let my teachers and friends down after all their encouragement.
When I was sixteen, the quote "With great power comes great responsibility" (albeit from the Spider-Man movie) was still vastly popular among my peers in school. Coincidentally, I was appointed the Associate Principal of the Double Bass section, reporting directly to the conductor regarding my section's welfare and shouldering the responsibility of conducting sectionals. I was also tasked with leading entries, as well as marking bowings and fingerings during rehearsals. It was strenuous adapting to each person's musical style and technical flaws, yet with passing time, I gained respect from my section mates and grew fonder of my newfound leadership skills. More than an instrument to show off to others, my instrument brings me joy in playing, and also connects me to others with similar passions.
Today, the double bass never leaves my side even when I am engaged in volunteering work. In junior college, I opted for the International Service Learning Elective, an overseas volunteer program, to leave my comfort zone and experience different cultures, particularly to serve those less fortunate than me. I vividly remember presenting my life experience to my team one evening. Handing out pieces of paper, I asked everyone to draw a life-changing experience on them. On my own paper, I drew a double bass. I spoke about my encounters and transformation, how I grew from a shy kid to a confident performer, and how the detested double bass soon became my life-long companion. Passions are never crafted, and pers
During that hectic yet exciting year, I represented Singapore in the Florence International Music Festival. Performing in a foreign land was refreshing and sensational, and I could feel my national pride overflowing as I strived to display the best of Singaporean music. Still, I was never alone, as I was always accompanied by the melodious tunes and the encouraging smiles of my friends. Eyes closed, I swayed to the rhythm, both of my arms cooperating in perfection.
As I reached the final note, my right hand bowed gracefully, descending to a soft ending while my left hand played out a gentle, soothing vibrato. Rounds of clapping erupted, my conductor bowed, and my heart swelled. Each time I laid my bow on the sparkling silvery strings, my emotions soared, wafted by the beauty and artfulness of the music, bringing goose-bumps to my skin and a wondrous feeling to my soul. Whether it is the slow, romantic melodies of Brahms, or the fast, light-hearted passages of Mozart, the rich, deep tones of my instrument always excite me. No matter what challenge I face, I am now ready to adapt to the circumstances, for making music is a path without limits.