Saxophone Colossus

The essay was not prompted question by a particular. It is the common application essay, required for all undergraduate applications.


I remember in kindergarten, during my troubled sleeps, my mother would come in and sing the Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday”. I didn’t know what the lyrics meant then, but I do know that in her voice I found a universe of meaning. By first grade I was playing the alto saxophone. From there I went through all the woodwinds: clarinet, flute, bassoon, and the tenor sax. I was pretty skilled with all of them, but my teachers would complain that I didn’t have a specialty. That was okay with me as I liked to experiment. I used music to escape domestic turmoil as my parents were going through an ugly divorce. By eighth grade, I was living in both homes and enjoying the variety. When I went to my mom’s house, I ate Italian food, watched National Geographic, and played Monopoly. At dad’s, we watched 24, bet on soccer, and tried to remember all of his girlfriends’ names. It was the best of both worlds. She lived in the suburban apotheosis, Westfield; he, DUMBO. But this world of balance and multiplicity started falling apart when I entered high school.

The first day of high school marching band practice was ridiculously hot. Adding to my misery was the sheer volume of participants. I was scared to death, wondering if I had the temperament and the...

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