Tempo Giusto

Write about an experience which changed your views on something. Common application essay prompt - 2016


I glared at the plastic contraption before me and tried one last time to summon any telekinesis powers.

Nope. Nothing. The device’s arm stubbornly oscillated at a regular pace, like a mocking tongue across a palate. I sighed dejectedly and shut the piano’s cover. At seven, I was partial to the dramatic.

The Metronome. Causer of anguish from the day it arrived from the Jumeirah Centre. It first coldly informed me that my playing was too fast and erratic, lagging obstinately behind. Later, it declared that I wasn’t playing fast enough; my notes were falling over themselves, struggling to keep up. It paid no heed to my attempts to will it to match my fingers, and my teachers’ faces grew longer the more I practiced.

The word ‘Gifted’ is thrown around unsparingly amongst the Indian diaspora. Seeing the remotest competence in a child, adults are quick to brand them as one of God’s chosen and immediately set them to work, lest the world should lose out on such prodigious talent.

That unforgiving object spared no punches in proclaiming that I lacked such talents and that pursuing music was therefore futile. I had seen Gifts firsthand; when certain older students performed at the Embassy Concerts, they weren’t just playing.They were...

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