Finalizing my PS for Fordham. Edits for grammar and style?

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tombnorton
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:25 pm

Finalizing my PS for Fordham. Edits for grammar and style?

Postby tombnorton » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:05 pm

As a professional guitar player, I’ve done some thrilling stuff. I’ve nailed killer licks. I’ve laid down a track in the studio with one perfect take. I’ve found myself entranced by a melody and high on sound. The biggest thrill, though, comes when I’m in a five-by-five-foot lesson room with a student. Usually, professional musicians consider teaching lessons a necessity to make ends meet. I consider it the best part of the job.

Students are like complex puzzles. Once I have discovered the nuances in a student’s personality, I can teach him or her in a focused, personal way. For instance, one notoriously reserved student opened up after I began each lesson by asking her about her day; over time she became an excellent guitarist, and she now performs solo concerts. Another student would chatter incessantly about video games instead of playing his exercises, but we compromised that he could talk about his games for the last three minutes of each lesson if he stayed focused; he improved quickly and significantly thereafter. For a dyslexic student, I altered my teaching methods, and taught him to play songs by ear instead of by reading music notation. For one very talented student, I assigned a difficult piece that pushed the boundaries of his ability. It drove him to a point of extreme frustration, but he persisted and learned the piece well, and it eventually became one of his favorite pieces to perform.

The success stories of these students rank among my proudest achievements. There is nothing quite like the smile on a student’s face after he or she had finally mastered a tough passage or chord change. To the students, the smiles were an irrepressible display of personal pride and a sense of accomplishment. For me, me they were tacit acknowledgements of my own success.

As a teacher, I watched my students grow from adolescents to young adults. When I was their age, I had few musical peers and little opportunity to share my love for music. My bedroom was my stage, and my parents my only audience. My students, however, were too talented—I did not want them to be confined to only their bedrooms or to my lesson room. Instead, I wanted to provide for them a forum where they could join together to share their skills and ideas, while learning and playing music.

To realize this goal, I created and directed two student programs: a guitar ensemble and a summer jazz band. The start was bumpy. Though every ensemble member was skilled, each had a different specialty: some students were strong music readers, others were more adept at improvising, and many played best by ear.

To equalize these differences, I created custom, individualized music arrangements. This way, each student was responsible for learning a part written for his or her personal strengths. In an effort to ensure that the ensembles be fun for my students, I arranged well-liked rock and pop songs. In initial rehearsals, there was cacophony where melody and rhythm should have been. But as I honed my rehearsing techniques and helped students master their parts, noise transformed into music.

Both groups performed publicly, and I often organized concerts at local colleges and high schools. To develop my program I recruited prospective members from the audiences of our concerts. I also asked existing members to convince their brothers, sisters, and friends to join. I recruited capable students from other teachers, and advertised using internet-based social media applications. At the start of each new session, new faces joined the groups. Ultimately, I increased enrollment in the ensembles by 300 percent. Most importantly, though, I succeeded in creating the forum for music and community that I had envisioned.

It could be said that passion, ambition, and creativity are the recipe for success. For me, this couldn’t be truer. My passion for music led me to become a music educator so that I could share my talent and skill with others. My love for education gave me the ambition to create a music program so that my students could learn from one another. My creativity helped me to develop my program so that it would thrive.

In law school, I will engage this same passion, ambition, and creativity to master law as it relates to music, musicians, and the music industry. As a professional musician, I sharpened my skills and found fulfillment in sharing them with a community that I created. As a lawyer, I will combine my passion for music, my ambition to share my skills with others, and my understanding of law so that I can share my specialized skills with a larger music community.

llachans
Posts: 597
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:54 pm

Re: Finalizing my PS for Fordham. Edits for grammar and style?

Postby llachans » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:40 pm

tombnorton wrote:I’ve found myself entranced by a melody and high on sound.


For some reason, this sentence really bothered me.

Other than that, I think it's written really well. I remember you posting a previous draft and this one is much tighter. Good job!

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Trex
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:04 pm

Re: Finalizing my PS for Fordham. Edits for grammar and style?

Postby Trex » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:44 pm

I like it, I remember reading one of your previous drafts and you've come far since then! =)

tombnorton
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:25 pm

Re: Finalizing my PS for Fordham. Edits for grammar and style?

Postby tombnorton » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:58 pm

Thanks, everybody, for the input, and for reading these drafts as they've come up. As far as that "high on sound" statement--a few people have mentioned that it's a little off-putting. I'm thinking that I may change the phrasing of that part in the next draft to eliminate any negative connotations that it might read into. Any suggestions for rewording that part?

llachans
Posts: 597
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:54 pm

Re: Finalizing my PS for Fordham. Edits for grammar and style?

Postby llachans » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:18 pm

intrigued/elated/moved by/inspired by

i'm not entirely sure what you meant by "high", but i think it carries a more negative connotation than other alternatives. it also sounds more elementary than the rest of your PS, which is written very well.




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