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The Guitarist Admissions Essay

The lights dimmed; the crowd began to hush. As I walked onto the stage, I saw that the club was packed with people. The butterflies in my stomach awoke and began fluttering about, and I felt the urge to turn and run off. In a dreamlike trance, I picked up my bass guitar and strapped it around my neck. A spotlight cut through the darkness and focused upon the stage, blinding me momentarily. I heard the drummer begin a four count. Suddenly the club came alive, and resounding music filled the Whisky-A-Go-Go, where twenty-five years earlier, The Doors had begun their musical career. An exhilarating sense of humility and wonder came over me as I thought, "How did I get here?"

My career as a bass guitarist in a rock and roll band has had the greatest impact on my life. Playing in a band was important to me because it represented a challenge: transcending the familiar confines of my life and entering completely unknown territory. I wanted to meet people from different backgrounds and go to places that I might never have gone otherwise. The dark, mysterious atmosphere of a Hollywood night club was a far cry from the neat and tidy math and engineering classrooms I had been accustomed to.

A year and a half before our appearance at the Whisky-A-Go-Go, bass guitar was about as familiar to me as Swahili. When I started playing, it was hard for me to believe that I would ever play for anyone outside of a garage, much less at a world-famous Hollywood club. I began playing bass at the age of twenty, with only a rudimentary knowledge of music theory. My only experience playing any kind of musical instrument was limited to two years of piano and one year of violin during elementary school. When some of my friends formed their band, they convinced me that I would make a fine bass player. (I believe their assessment was based more on our friendship than on any real evaluation of my musical ability.) I consented, and we started our first band.

We rehearsed in a friend's garage. Learning to play an instrument was difficult; learning to play an instrument while learning how to play with a band was a test of sheer endurance and willpower. However, through persistence, patience, and constant, never-ending practice, my playing ability developed rapidly. We would practice three...

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