Final Draft for Fordham...getting ready to submit!

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Final Draft for Fordham...getting ready to submit!

Postby tombnorton » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:45 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 moved by 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 has 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 asked existing members to convince their brothers, sisters, and friends to join. I solicited 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.

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Re: Final Draft for Fordham...getting ready to submit!

Postby sasuke » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:09 am

I didn't read your statement in its entirety but I think it's unique, and it isn't terribly written. That has to count for something.

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