A College Essay

4 April 2019

Sometimes I view myself as a neurotic person. Negative thoughts build up in my head as the anxiety grows and I find myself shaking. Most people would not regard this as beneficial; however, during these stressful times I have generated most of my creative works. I find it helpful to have “the fire lit under me” as it forces me to sharpen my mind by focusing all of my energy on one issue while all the fuzziness and static that is the rest of the world fades around me.

A defining moment throughout my experience as a percussionist was the opening night of my high school’s musical revue, Remember 11. Just three days before opening night, my band director volunteered my services. Although the pit had a pianist, the theater director also wanted a drummer. Previously, the most music I ever had to learn were two or three jazz pieces over several months’ time. This time, however, included learning over an hour of unfamiliar music in just three run-throughs.

A College Essay Essay Example

Not only was I understandably nervous about learning so much in so little time, but also I was completely out of my element in musical theater. Even though I consider myself an eclectic musician, (my repertoire includes playing Sousa marches on a snare drum, playing along with the Beatles, rocking with van Halen, jamming to Frank Zappa tunes, and switching from Rush, Slayer, and Parliament Funkadelic to Neil Young songs) musicals were something I had never viewed as “real” music. Yet, there I was, ready to meet the challenge!

And meet the challenge I did. I soon discovered that musical theater also was to be respected for its level of difficulty. I had to learn how to take cues from the stage and when to shift to different sections. I was used to keeping time myself or to a conductor, but now tempo was decided by the many performers who varied night to night. Having no sheet music meant that I had to frantically write notes about how to play certain songs and how to meld those songs into each other since half of the show was a medley. I began to have some serious doubts about my abilities and my anxiety grew, and predictably so did my creativity.

My performance on opening night was one of the most incredible moments of my life, not only surprising the audience but also astonishing me. As the minutes passed, I focused on the task in front of me, tuning out the distractions surrounding me. Gaining confidence, I really opened up and played straight from the heart, doing my best and enjoying every moment. At the end of the show, complete strangers made a point to congratulate me. “Was I really that good?” I asked myself. Those around me used words like “phenomenal”, “fantastic” and “outstanding”.

The rush of the success of opening night did not fade with time. In the days and weeks that followed, I noticed that my self-confidence, both as a musician and as a person, was growing, and that the anxiety I once had was fading. My personal outlook was more often positive and even my grades were improving. My success was seeping into many aspects of my life and I was worrying less about unimportant things. Most importantly, while reflecting on these moments, I realized that being a percussionist and performer were not just extracurricular activities; they had become an integral part of my life and were now a future career goal. I had “the fire lit under me” and I am now ready to attain my dreams.

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