Seeking Constructive Criticism..

here’s my essay…and here are some of my many worries: is it too boring? not revealing enough? too cliche? ahh help me >__< also, it’s a bit long, so which part do you think is unnecessary that i should take out?
any comment is appeciated…thanks! :]


Music is emotion without words; it’s expressing exactly how I feel without having to think about it. Competitions, on the other hand, are a clash of emotions; anxiety, exhilaration, the pressure of showcasing in five minutes my two-hours-a-day for twelve years regime of metronomes, repeating every two notes, alternating rhythm, etc. There’s only one chance. I’m either a musical genius for having a perfect mixture of luck and skills at right moment, or I’m just another waste of the judges’ precious time, allowing the butterflies in my stomach and the sudden weakness in my cold fingers to render me to the level of a beginning pianist. I love music, but music competitions? Not my thing.

Unfortunately, the summer before my junior year, my teacher convinced me (or did she almost threaten me?) to enter the Southwestern Youth Music Festival. Alas, there was no way out, and worse, the competition fell on my mom’s birthday. Hesitantly signing my name on the entry form, I reasoned that the only way to prevail was if I won the competition. With this goal in mind, my schedule for the rest of the month came naturally: practice, lessons, and more practice. I had to pass on outings to the beach and movies until I had completed my three hours of practice for the day. And for a month, the Khachaturian sonatina and the Chopin waltz on my repertoire replaced Brian McKnight, Usher, and the fifty-three other artists on my Winamp play list.

On August 5th, I woke up at six to make my mom her favorite breakfast before I practiced for the last time prior to the competition. Moving my fingers furiously on the imaginary piano on my lap, I got helplessly lost on the way to Cal State LA and arrived just in time to be ushered into the plain room and perched on the cold, hostile bench ready to play. But I was far from ready. Pushing thoughts of highway exits and no U-turn signs out of my mind, I began my piece. I couldn’t feel my fingers. My legs were shaking. Then I thought about my mom. How she had given up sleeping in, drove the most she ever did on the freeway, risked numerous tickets for illegal U-turns while panicking about not getting here on time: all on her forty-second birthday. Suddenly, as my fingers met the black and white keys, I was electrocuted by the amalgamation of my feelings, the music, and my appreciation for my mom. Forgetting about competition, I regained control of my fingers, my hands, my entire arms, and closing my eyes, I poured out my soul, transferring all my gratitude and love for my mom to the keys, the notes, the music. Before I felt half done, I was done.

Silence, then deafening applause. I gave my mom the best birthday present yet.

When the balding judge handed me my first first-place trophy, I realized that not only have I gained a deeper understanding of music while expanding my relationship with my mom, I had overcome my fear of competitions. I love music, and now competitions are no problems either.

Just yesterday, a friend asked me upon leaving our AP statistics class, “Why are you still taking piano?? You should’ve quit years ago like me.” I thought about it, and I’m glad that I’ve persisted through the years while most of my friends gave up. Sure, life would be much easier if I didn’t have to do homework, study, and practice two hours a day on top of taking weekly lessons and having a social life, but life would also be much more ordinary, somehow lacking, empty, if the only way to express my emotions is through words.

<p>You can easily cut out the whole first paragragh. The rest is better without it.</p>