College Essay: Mount Holyoke

3. What activities make you lose track of time? – Hsini (Monterey, CA)

“It’s amazing how music alters your perspective of time”

Perhaps Einstein’s theory of relativity would have offered a more impressive explanation, but the words of my high school choir director above capture my experience with music, my love of it, and my addiction to it. When I was five, my mother would sit me at the piano bench for what seemed like an eternity of Bach Sonatas, but in actuality it was an hour of frustrated tantrums and dissonant mistakes. After feeling the cathartic effects of finally playing well, a single run through of Khachaturian’s “Toccata” or Wyman’s “Silvery Waves” became an exciting roller coaster that I impulsively wanted to ride again and again. I would get lost after school, wandering off into the notes of my music, goading my tired fingers to limp over the unfamiliar chords of a new piece one more time before dinner.

After I completed level 10 in sophomore year, I decided to sacrifice my relationship with piano for a heap of AP classes. Two months and a summer vacation later, I spent a free afternoon shedding tears over my stiff fingers, unable to play the very pieces that I performed for my classmates. It was as if I hadn’t touched the keys for years. The emotions that once ran through me as I played were trapped, and once again, I was a five year old throwing a tantrum at the piano bench.

I pushed this frustration aside for several months until I realized that I had neglected music entirely – I had neglected the years spent developing both my technical skills and my emotional connection with music. So I decided to restore my relationship with music by joining the school choir. After tackling 39 pages of Schubert’s “Mass No. 2.” with our schools’ orchestra and soloists from the Los Angeles Opera, the sacred text and echoing dynamics sent me back to an era of cathedrals and simple reverence, and what should have been a half hour Mass felt no longer than ten minutes. Music returned, and it reminded me that it is capable of sending me not just into another time frame, but another place entirely.


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