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How to Write a Winning Common App Essay About Music

If you’re passionate about music and looking for a way to stand out on your college applications, then writing a Common App essay about music might be a great choice for you. Here’s how to write a winning essay that captures the attention of the admissions committee and highlights your unique musical perspective.

Key Takeaways

  • The Common App essay is an opportunity to showcase your personality and unique experiences.
  • Music is a powerful tool for self-expression, emotional connection, and personal growth.
  • When writing your essay, focus on specific examples that highlight your passion, creativity, and adaptability.
  • Be authentic, vulnerable, and honest, and don’t be afraid to share your successes and failures.
  • Finally, use this essay as a chance to demonstrate your curiosity, critical thinking, and long-term potential as a scholar and musician.

How to Write a Winning Common App Essay About Music

Step 1: Brainstorm and Reflect

Before you start drafting your essay, take some time to reflect on your relationship with music. What role has music played in your life? How has it helped shape your identity, values, and worldview? What specific experiences or interactions have been particularly memorable or impactful?

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Make a list of specific memories, moments, or songs that come to mind, and try to think about how you can use these to illustrate different aspects of your personality and character. Also, consider the context of the prompt, which encourages you to write about a topic of your choice that showcases your individuality and uniqueness.

Step 2: Choose a Focus and Structure

Once you have a list of potential topics and examples, it’s time to start organizing your thoughts into a clear and compelling essay. Start by choosing a focus or central theme that ties your ideas together and creates a sense of coherence and purpose.

Some possible themes include:

  • -The transformative power of music
  • -The intersection of music and identity
  • -The role of music in social justice and activism
  • -The relationship between music and emotion
  • -The challenges and rewards of learning a musical instrument
  • -The value of creative expression and exploration

Once you’ve chosen your focus, decide on a basic structure for your essay. You might start with a personal anecdote or reflection, use specific examples or stories to illustrate your theme, and wrap up with a broader reflection or call to action.

Step 3: Use Specific Examples and Details

To make your essay memorable and engaging, it’s important to use specific examples and details that bring your experiences and perspectives to life. For example, instead of just saying that you love playing the piano, describe a particular song or moment when you felt particularly connected to the music.

You might also use metaphors, analogies, or other literary devices to create a more vivid and memorable picture of your ideas. Just make sure that your writing is clear, concise, and easy to follow.

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Step 4: Be Authentic and Vulnerable

One of the key goals of the Common App essay is to give admissions committees a sense of who you are as a person beyond your grades and test scores. To do this effectively, you need to be willing to be honest, vulnerable, and authentic in your writing.

This means not being afraid to share your struggles, failures, and weaknesses, as well as your strengths and successes. It also means being willing to explore and reflect on your own motivations, biases, and perspectives, and to consider other perspectives that might challenge or expand your own.

Finally, be sure to show your enthusiasm and passion for music throughout your essay, even as you acknowledge the challenges and uncertainties that come with pursuing a creative passion.


Writing a Common App essay about music requires you to tap into your creativity, authenticity, and passion, and to use your writing skills to persuade and engage your readers. By following these tips and guidelines, you can create a compelling and memorable essay that showcases your unique musical perspective and potential as a scholar and artist.

Useful FAQ

What if I don’t have a lot of experience with music?

You don’t need to be a professional musician or have years of training to write a compelling Common App essay about music. Instead, focus on the ways in which music has impacted your life, even if you’re not a performer yourself. You might write about how listening to music has helped you cope with stress or anxiety, how playing a musical instrument has taught you important life skills like perseverance and discipline, or how attending concerts or music festivals has exposed you to new cultures and ideas.

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How can I make my essay stand out?

To make your essay stand out, focus on specific examples and details that highlight your unique musical perspective and personality. Use metaphors, analogies, or other creative writing techniques to create a more engaging and memorable essay. And don’t be afraid to take risks, be vulnerable, or share your authentic voice and experiences.

Can I write about multiple aspects of music in my essay?

While it’s possible to write about multiple aspects of music in your essay, it’s often better to choose a single theme or focus that ties your ideas together and creates a sense of coherence and purpose. This will make it easier for you to develop a clear and compelling argument, and for your readers to follow your line of thinking.

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