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  • Writer's pictureТимофей Милорадович

Examples of successful admission essays / Music as My second language

Updated: May 30, 2022


Jean Gan




Music has shaped my personal and intellectual life in many ways. Music is a common language that connects me to others who share my enthusiasm for creating it. Furthermore, I learn about my own preferences and personality through the pieces that intrigue me. As I expose myself to a wider array of styles and eras, my musical tastes grow more complex. Through music, I welcome opportunities to expand my friendships as well as my instrumental horizons.


I began studying piano at age six. For the next five years, my mother lived vicariously through my musical education, which her family had not been able to afford. In fifth grade, as I was becoming an earnest piano student, I was selected to commence violin lessons and play in my elementary school orchestra. From that day on, I saw life from a violinist’s point of view.


Although I am a seasoned pianist, an ambitious solo violinist, and a fledgling cellist, I am, above all, a passionate chamber musician. My experience in a chamber quartet has had a strong impact on my character. When I was the second violinist, I simply enjoyed making music with my friends. Only after I became the first violinist did I feel the responsibility of leadership settling uncomfortably on my shoulders. However, the burden soon became a part of me and transformed into enthusiasm. Now, as the quartet leader, I use the small group setting to channel each of our individual creative instincts. Each member of the quartet shares her musical interests, bringing favorite repertoire to the table, so that we each participate in the learning and playing experience. The quartet is also an outlet for my musical fancy. Ever since I discovered the Finale music writing software, I have delighted in arranging works for our quartet to play and perform. This year, my goal is to arrange and perform the Ferrante and Teicher version of the love theme from The Godfather for a piano duet and orchestra.


As my aspirations grow, I aim to arrange music for a greater variety of instruments and to explore jazz, pop, and other styles of music on the piano. I desire to join others with similar talent and passion at Duke. However, before I leave my high school, I hope my appreciation for music will leave a mark on my community.


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