College Essay About Music

Writing your college essay about music? Read how music influences lives in these college admission essays. Your essay should be unique and demonstrate your passion and unique influence with music in your life.

Last updated on September 24, 2022 by College Financial Aid Advice.

Here are a few examples of college essays about music to give you some ideas.

Music Made Me Who I Am

University of Virginia circa 1914

College Essay About the Influence of Music in My Life by Alessandra from Virginia

The flames burned with a scorching heat, bright and ghastly upon the look. Inside the burning barn wielded many great treasures. The owners of the barn were able to save only a few of their belongings, one being a precious instrument, a beautifully hand-crafted violin, made from the finest dark colored wood. This violin, which belonged to my great-great-great grandfather, has been passed down my family for generations.

Music plays an enormous role in my life. The piano, guitar, singing, and especially the violin make up a huge part of who I am. When I was in fifth grade, my elementary school held an assembly. As the group of mingling and curious children, walked through the halls, I spotted a woman carrying a large, beautifully crafted bass just a few feet ahead. I thought it was amusing how such a small woman handled such a large instrument, but I felt jealous that the woman was able to play that instrument. After being seated, a quartet of women began to pluck the tune for “Bingo”. Once the violinist began to bow out her part, I was warped and drawn to her melody. I was in love with the violin. Upon arriving home, I bothered and nagged for my mother to allow me to attend weekly orchestra classes at school.

One afternoon, my mother called me and announced that she had a surprise. Getting giddy and excited, I quickly perched myself on the couch and awaited for her news. My mother reached behind the couch and pulled out a worn-down case with a lock that was dangling off the side, barely attached. Excitement and curiosity flowed through me as I opened the case to reveal an old, slightly wore-down violin. Once I received that ancient violin, I knew my life would change forever.

From that day on, music has been a part of my life. Without music, I wouldn’t be who I am today. From playing the violin, I acquired an interest for other instruments such as the piano and guitar. I even began to sing. Having the chance to play such a cherished family instrument makes me feel so honored, especially since I am the first female in the family to continue the tradition of violin playing. This violin made me who I am today; a fun, loving person who enjoys music and expressing myself through the notes of my violin.


A Musical Experience

College essay about music by Brandon from Maine

The hard work and practice is over, and now it is time for the curtains to open, the first note to be played, and the show to begin. No longer nervous, I stand there waiting for my final chance to transport the audience to a fictional world. As the lights go down, my mind wanders and I reflect on the gifts musical theater has given me. Confidence, self-satisfaction, courage, maturity – these were the unexpected benefits for a young boy who simply wanted a small part in a high school production.

I remember waiting for my first audition as a seventh-grader. The seniors towered over me and I cowered in fear. I awkwardly opened the door to the audition room and saw the judges glaring at me with their piercing authoritarian eyes. The lights were blinding me and making me feel microscopic. I opened my mouth to start singing and nothing came out. A dead silence descended upon the theater. Realizing that this was my only opportunity to demonstrate my ability, I took a deep breath and made a second attempt. This time the melody took shape and glided toward the critical ears of my evaluators. Lightheaded and slightly nauseated, my shaking legs guided me toward the auditorium exit. Unknowingly, I had just been given my first lesson in overcoming anxiety.

The atmosphere of my final high school audition was completely different. I marched into the same audition room with a noble stride that showed the adjudicators that I was ready to prove my worth. With a smile embossed on my face, I opened my mouth and began singing as I had never sung before. Unlike my first audition, this one ended with a line of smiles from the evaluators. I walked off feeling proud of what I had done and my success was reflected in the cast list posted the next day.

Then, of course, it was time for the hectic schedule of a musical orientated life. It started right after school with a two-hour music rehearsal. After we learned the song, we gathered on the stage to learn blocking. The next day brought blood, sweat, and tears with the five hours of dance. With the extensive hours of theater concluded, it was time to study for the English test, help our class raise money, and put in some hours at my part-time job. I decide that studying for the vocabulary quiz must come first. This routine continued day after day until the musical performance was perfect and we were backstage on opening night preparing for the show.

I can hear the first chord playing and I know that this is my time to shine. The nervous seventh grader threatens to resurface and ruin my achievement, but after my final note, the little boy disappears and I know that I am ready for whatever life throws at me.


All That Jazz

College essay about music by Sharon from New York

With the steam of humid August still clinging to my shoulders, I walk into the Jazz Standard. The hostess leads me to a table for two, directly in front of the stage. As I sit and take in the view of couples sipping champagne and suit-clad men chatting over ribs, I imagine the people around me thinking, What is this teenage girl doing here? Why is she sitting alone? A waiter plops a glass of water on my table. “Can I start you off with a drink?”

“I’ll just have a coffee,” I say. “And your pie of the day.”

Suddenly, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Nonet, a nine piece band, spills onto the stage. The lead saxophonist parks his instrument mere inches from my face. After Dr. Lonnie’s raspy-voiced opening remarks, the band swells into explosive action.

In my Moleskine notebook, that August 6th will be remembered by Dr. Lonnie’s “tangy, funk-inspired organ” and Jonathan Kreisberg’s “poignantly brewing guitar chords.” But a far more poignant chord was struck that night. Alone at a table for two, between bites of cheesecake and sips of too-strong coffee, I stumbled into the alluring clutches of New York jazz.

It wasn’t love at first sight. That summer before my senior year, the instructor of my after-school music criticism workshop graciously offered me a contributing writer position in his newspaper, The New York City Jazz Record. As the only prior experience I had with jazz was through the odd Miles Davis tape in my mother’s dusty cassette collection, I was intent on becoming a thorough jazz whiz to prepare for the job. Every night of the week, I sat in the sweaty confines of the Lower East Side’s hole-in-the-wall jazz venues, furiously taking precise notes. To blend with the crowd of college students and middle-aged jazz connoisseurs, I lightly moved my feet and tapped my hands against my knees, in search of that rhythm that made everyone around me sway. My wee morning hours were spent struggling to write catchy opening lines and sharp critiques of the countless guitar riffs, trombone solos, and brassy alto saxophones. And though I churned out witty, astute review after another, I was yet to find my true jazz groove. After two weeks of seeing three concerts per night and jolting awake to a late afternoon, inner-head hum of shrill trumpet variations, I decided to end my concert escapades.

At the suggestion of my music criticism instructor a few weeks later, I reluctantly slogged out to the Jazz Standard to see Dr. Lonnie’s band. Between Vincent Herring’s slurs of tenor sax and Dr. Lonnie’s “wah-wah” organ flares, my knees started to bob, my head swayed, and I finally felt it. It was that can’t-describe-it, don’t-wanna-describe-it something that filled my shoes, soul, and every last strand of hair with cathartic bliss. Perched at my laptop that night, I spilled sentence after sentence onto the screen—and I haven’t stopped since.

Whenever my mother sees me typing on my laptop to the sound of Miles Davis’s “Someday My Prince Will Come” or Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma”, she asks about my “serious” career plans, outside of journalism. “In this economy, go for biology. Writing can wait,” she says. I exclaim, “But all I think about in genetics class is the opening line for my next review!”

We eventually agree to disagree, but a hint of doubt crosses my mind. Is it truly enough to be passionate about music journalism? Is passion ever enough to take the place of making money? As Dizzy’s wild trumpet buzzes through my ears, I think about the upcoming Festival of New Trumpet Music at the Jazz Standard, about Mary Halvorson’s fizzling guitar solo at the Douglass Street Music Collective, about that giddy feeling I get after hours spent crafting a review…and my heart fills with sheer joy. Writing about music makes me happy. That’s more than enough.


In the Key of 'C'

College essay about music by Shayla from New York

In The Key of ‘C’ - Love: controlling, sacrificial, dangerous, necessary, denied and accepted. How could such a small word be so powerful? Love, monosyllabic in tone, yet explained, expressed, and explored with so many words and actions. Love, an emotion so explosive and raw, it overflows into every fiber of, potentially dominating the physical being. Love such as this, is synonymous to the feelings I have for my one true love: music.

It began many years ago when my mom recognized I was more special than the average first grader. Always the quiet and shy type, I never wanted to be in the spotlight. Although I wasn’t interested, she decided piano lessons would be a great outlet to help me improve my social skills. Back then the concept of “music” meant nothing more to me than an arrangement of notes on a staff. I remember my first lesson; Mrs. Robinson, my music teacher, asked if I had ever played before. I shook my head no, too afraid to even speak. She struck the first chord, I followed, then the second and third. She exposed me to a grand new world, and my love affair with music began. In only two weeks I memorized the entire beginners’ book of songs. It was almost like a game for me, running through the book, perfectly executing every song with ease. Three months later in my first recital, I performed Minuet in G Major. Music gave my mind a voice, and my soul a personality that magically exploded through my fingertips with every note played. Through music I developed a sense of pride in my talents and abilities that I still carry with me today.

In music I hear:

Symphonies explode, abruptly followed by the flow of everlasting surrender to that milk and honey melody. Notes in the clefs of the treble and bass kind all march with the same drum line to unwind the hidden beauty of a song. Sing a song with vibrato. Play a song in staccato; it seems to get me every time.

Every word in a song seems to tell me more about myself, leaves me breathless, and envelopes me. Music sustains me. It makes my emotions tangible, and amplifies my senses. It has transformed me into a confident young woman, more aware and accepting of my culture, spirituality, and all the things that make me unique. I can now internalize foreign thoughts and opinions, and learn to create my own from them. And I owe it all to music.

Music sparks an emotional connection to all my life’s ups and downs. It inspires my doubts and makes me happy to be alive. It transcends me to a world of peace, my ultimate escape. In my world, music conquers all. It’s a force that can never be given one specific and all inclusive definition. My love of music: eminently powerful, life changing, passionate, unyielding, wanted, welcomed. Music.

We hope these college essay examples about music can help you write your great college essay. Read more from our collection of College Admission Essay Examples and Scholarship Essay Examples.

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