500 words is actually a lot. The more words you have to work with, the more astray you are likely to go. People think that there is soooo much to get into an essay, but actually, the tighter it is, the better the impression....
Here is an essay from my book, which has a topic similar to yours. Without the lead-in and end quotes, it's only 240 words. Even with the song lyrics, it's only 300 words.
BTW, pardon the age of the song reference (from another generation). The song is a bit out of date, but it's the one that came to mind when I was helping a student with his essay. He knew the group and the song and also thought it was perfect. [If you aren't familiar with the Eagles and this song, sample it on iTunes.]
Notice how much this says about the person and the way he uses music to overcome bad things that happen in his life. It SHOWS him as a strong person, getting stronger by invoking the music.
"Well I know it wasn’t you who held me down. |
Heaven knows it wasn’t you who set me free.
So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key..."
- Eagles, “Already Gone”
Why were those lyrics repeating themselves
over and over in my head? Driving away from
breaking up with my girlfriend of 3 years, I
had every right to be depressed. Even the
weather - a dreary, drizzly day - should
have brought me even farther down. But the
slapping of the windshield wipers was
perfectly timed to the song I couldn't stop
hearing. And it was at that moment I
realized why I was hearing it: I was using
it - using the music - to bring me strength
at a time I needed it. A wave of realization
crashed over me, and I saw how different
music came to me and either mirrored my mood
or helped me move on from bad situations.
My mind flashed back to the week my sister
was in the hospital, very seriously ill. She eventually
recovered, but during that time, I was so
worried about her that everything else began
to be of secondary importance. As I spent
hours sitting by her bed, my choice of music
on my iPod gradually evolved to songs which
helped buoy my hope. I look back now and
see how music helped me through that rough time.
As I drove on from my girlfriend's house, I should
have been miserable, but instead, a smile started to
creep across my face. And I broke into song,
singing more and more loudly as my smile
"And I’m already gone
And I’m feelin’ strong
I will sing this vict’ry song,
Woo, hoo, hoo, woo, hoo hoo...."