Music's Expanding Bubble

Using a quote as a jumping off point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values.


“No student ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him: it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required, that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction.” –Charles Kendall Adams

I will not speak for all applicants, but as a child I loved blowing bubbles. Each pinkish-yellow ball frolicked in the breeze, flighty with girlish fancy. Closed, small, and naïve, those iridescent spheres paralleled my childhood.

Studiously diligent since ABC, my life revolved around school. ‘Fun’ meant recess, reading, or anything within asphalt schoolyards. It mattered little that peers elsewhere won awards or knew three languages; I complacently reveled in straight-As, never desiring challenges beyond homework. Regardless, in eighth grade I considered myself “accomplished” and “mature.” I had secured principal clarinet in band and hosted a sleepover. Back then, watching Shrek at midnight was cool.

Then I discovered Minnesota Band Directors’ Honor Band, an audition-only ensemble for middle-schoolers. Overconfident, I inadequately prepared my audition and placed fourteenth of fifteen, a failure. Embarrassed, I hid behind my stand during practice as my pride-bubble popped. “Honor Band was okay,”...

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