1st Draft PS..trying to get this done relatively quickly!

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Homelandsagreatshow
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1st Draft PS..trying to get this done relatively quickly!

Postby Homelandsagreatshow » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:23 pm

Hey guys, appreciate any help with this PS. I struggled so long to simply come up with the basic outline of this PS. I guess the fact is that there were so many things that I wanted to talk about. This is what I chose. Thanks!




Sometimes I feel as though setting my alarm is a fruitless endeavor. My arthritic fingers require no external power, and just may be more dependable at waking me up in the early morning. The calluses and swollen knuckles reveal my musical background the way the rings on a tree stump divulge its age. Twenty years of classical piano, paired with a poor habit of cracking my knuckles, and my fingers sometimes make me question whether my primary hobby has been a worthwhile investment. However, just as the pain in my fingers can be counted on to wake me up, these questions always subside. I know now that many of my most valuable traits are a direct result of my musical background. This realization always makes my swollen knuckles more manageable.

My first few years in college read like a series of unfortunate events. After attending one quarter at ****, I began experiencing panic attacks for the first time in my life. Anyone that has lived through these dreadful attacks realizes how debilitating they can be. I blame them partially on the departure from my suburban “nest”, and to a greater extent, on the overall atmosphere of the school. From ***, I transferred to ***, with the hopes of playing collegiate volleyball. While my time at *** was pleasant, I did not have any direction, or ambition. As a result, my grades were severely low. It wasn’t until my final transfer to ***, and the introduction of my new piano teacher, Natasha, that I learned how to correct my debilitating study-habits and goal-setting skills.

After performing for Natasha during our first lesson together (Pavane for a Dead Princess by Maurice Ravel), I remember my teacher remarking that, while she was impressed with the emotion I was able to display in the piece, the performance was lacking due to simpler issues, such as improper pedaling and sloppy articulation. “You’ve got to walk before you can run”, she would say, in her thick Russian accent, so in line with the cliché “drill sergeant” piano instructor from many current adults’ youths. Without having to explain her comment, I always knew what Natasha meant. After an especially poor performance of a Bach Invention, I realized that I must take the criticism to heart. How could I expect to play the piece at full-speed, if I couldn’t play it at half? How good could the piece possibly sound with both hands together, if I couldn’t even play the left hand perfectly? Every time sat down to practice, my mantra would be “walk before you run”. Instead of simply right-reading a piece until I memorized it, I would move from practicing one note, to a series of notes, to a phrase, to a section, and so on. Any weak link had to be fixed, or the final product would suffer. Although tedious, I was amazed at how much improvement I began hearing in the music. It wasn’t until receiving my first two semesters worth of grades that I realized what was happening. I had begun to implement this new method of studying into all of my classes. If I did not understand a piece of material in a given class, I would not move on to the next section. I found that, while I was reading noticeably slower, the added retention more than made up for the loss in time. I discovered that, just like in music, there are no shortcuts. Small errors always lead to large errors, which compound into even larger errors. The material being learned is largely irrelevant to the method of learning.

It is easy to look back at my twenty years of piano experience and wonder, “how much better would I have been at the instrument, and school in general, if I had developed this work ethic earlier”? However, often the easiest way is not the most rewarding way. By extensively modifying my work ethic around an age that many of my friends were graduating college, I feel as though I have a special appreciation for the transformation that I have undergone. While the four years spent with Natasha have flown by, her simple guideline of walking before I run has proved to be life changing.

meimei32
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Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:37 pm

Re: 1st Draft PS..trying to get this done relatively quickly!

Postby meimei32 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:46 pm

Intro: the theme of your introduction needs to be carried through the entire essay. your intro primarily talks about pain in your fingers, and that isn't referenced again anywhere else. your language is a little dramatic, "endeavor" and "external power", etc. should be simplified. I think this could be fine as an opening but should be cut down to a sentence or two on the finger pain, this is too much.

1st body paragraph: cut this out entirely. Your P.S. should not be devoting this much space, if any, to your academic problems in college. You should write an addendum about the panic attacks affecting your college grades, and be careful not to "blame" the university.

The rest, content-wise is fine, but phrasing needs work.

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Homelandsagreatshow
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:19 pm

Re: 1st Draft PS..trying to get this done relatively quickly!

Postby Homelandsagreatshow » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:20 pm

meimei32 wrote:Intro: the theme of your introduction needs to be carried through the entire essay. your intro primarily talks about pain in your fingers, and that isn't referenced again anywhere else. your language is a little dramatic, "endeavor" and "external power", etc. should be simplified. I think this could be fine as an opening but should be cut down to a sentence or two on the finger pain, this is too much.

1st body paragraph: cut this out entirely. Your P.S. should not be devoting this much space, if any, to your academic problems in college. You should write an addendum about the panic attacks affecting your college grades, and be careful not to "blame" the university.

The rest, content-wise is fine, but phrasing needs work.


Thanks for the tips. I'll definitely cut out that first body paragraph. I suppose that since the I've transferred twice, I felt the need to say something. Now that I think about it, I should just focus on the piano.
With regard to the fingers, would you recommend referring back to them throughout the main paragraphs (and especially the final paragraph) and then trimming the fat off of the first paragraph? The language is definitely a little "fluffy", and I'll work on trimming it down. I didn't want to end up reusing some words multiple times, so I switched them for some overly dramatic words.

Thanks for the help, and I'd appreciate any further suggestions. I'l submit my second draft tonight

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Homelandsagreatshow
Posts: 168
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Re: 1st Draft PS..trying to get this done relatively quickly!

Postby Homelandsagreatshow » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:56 pm

Alright guys, I've got a second draft here. I would greatly appreciate any feedback. I know some stylistic changes are needed. My style is so ingrained, that sometimes the problems are hard to see, so I definitely appreciate the feedback. Grammar changes are very welcome too! Thanks!


Sometimes I feel as though setting my alarm is a waste of time. My arthritic fingers require no electricity, and just may be more dependable at waking me up in the morning. The calluses and swollen knuckles reveal my musical background the way the rings on a tree stump reveal its age. Twenty years of classical piano (much of the time spent playing with poor technique), and the arthritis sometimes make me question whether my hobby has been worth the time. However, I now know that many of my most valuable traits are a direct result of my musical background. This realization always makes my swollen knuckles more manageable.

While one of the main reasons for my arthritic fingers can be attributed to simple wear and tear over the course of my piano career, improper technique certainly has played a major role, as well. In my younger years, I did not care enough to implement the criticism that my piano teachers tried to impart on me. I was more concerned with the immediate satisfaction of performing the piece (albeit poorly played), compared to improving techniques that would lead to better performances. It wasn’t until meeting Natasha, my latest piano teacher, that I began to see the errors of my ways.

After performing for my teacher during our first lesson together (Pavane for a Dead Princess by Maurice Ravel), I remember Natasha remarking that, while impressed with the emotion that I conveyed, the performance was lacking due to simpler issues, such as improper pedaling and sloppy articulation. “You’ve got to walk before you can run”, she would say, in her thick Russian accent, so reminiscent of the cliché “drill sergeant” piano instructor. Without having to explain her comment, I knew what Natasha meant. How could I expect to play the piece at full-speed, if I couldn’t play it at half? How good could the piece possibly sound with both hands together, if I couldn’t even play the left hand perfectly? Every time sat down to practice, my mantra would be “walk before you run”. Instead of simply right-reading a piece until I memorized it, I would move from practicing one note, to a series of notes, to a phrase, to a section, and so on. Any weak link had to be fixed, or the final product would suffer.

Although tedious, I was amazed at how much improvement I began hearing in the music. As an added bonus, I found that, while having not disappeared, my arthritis began to diminish, presumably from my more efficient and relaxed technique. It wasn’t until receiving my first two semesters worth of grades that I began to realize something even better was happening; I had begun to implement this new method of studying into all of my classes. If I did not understand a fact set in a given class, I would not move on to the next section. I found that, while I was reading noticeably slower, the added retention more than made up for the loss in time. I discovered that, just like in music, there are no shortcuts. Small errors always lead to large errors, which compound into even larger ones. The material being learned is largely irrelevant to the method of learning.

It is easy to look back at my twenty years of piano experience and wonder, “how much better would I have been at the instrument, and school in general, if I had developed this work ethic earlier”? However, often the easiest way is not the most rewarding. By extensively modifying my work ethic around an age that many of my friends were graduating college, I feel as though I have a special appreciation for the transformation that I have undergone. While the four years spent with Natasha have flown by, her simple guideline of walking before I run has proved to be life changing. Both my fingers and I will be eternally grateful.

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Homelandsagreatshow
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:19 pm

Re: EDIT--2nd Draft now...finishing this weekend!

Postby Homelandsagreatshow » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:34 pm

Bumping for the extremely kind and generous folks that get on here in the evening to read over the PS on the "recent posts" page




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