Personal statement.

I walk into the darkened nave of the church, ascend the steep incline between the pews, and stop at the vacant and quiet sanctuary. At the top of my climb is an illuminated room full of lively preschool children chattering with one another and busy with crayons. As I sit trying to make sense of the paper, scissors, and glue placed before me, my teacher attempts to quiet the classroom while talking with a pen in her mouth, causing her words to emerge in a loud, incoherent hum. None of the children seem to understand what she is saying but I intuit the sounds and shape them into words for her as I announce to the class that the teacher wants us to be quiet. Right away, my teacher identifies my talent for listening. She knows that she had not been talking in a clear and articulate voice and yet I was able to decode her mumbling. Even at the young age of four, I had an affinity for sound. This aptitude has stayed with me my entire life and helped me negotiate difficulties and grow as a person.

Throughout my life, I have tried out several different musical instruments. Whether I was plucking on strings, tapping on keyboards, or banging on drums, I was seeking to channel my emotions, speak a language, and create a space in which I...

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