College Essay by MB, 2010

I thought it was nothing more than pure noise, and I could not understand what anyone heard in it.  The first time I listened to it, its dense mix of obscure influences ranging from contemporary classical to electronic dance music confounded me.  I thought it was nothing more than pure noise and I could not understand what anyone heard in it.   It was unlike any music I had ever heard before, and I did not know what to make of it.  Lying on my bed wearing headphones, listening to Radiohead’s album Kid A for the first time, I never thought that it would completely change the way I view music, art in general, and life.

Radiohead had always been one of my favorite bands, and since I knew this album had been hailed as a masterpiece, I decided to stick with it.  Listening through the first few times, I was still unable to glean any value from the aural assault that was Kid A.  However, my instincts told me to give the obscure song structures and unorthodox rhythms a chance.  I compulsively listened, desperately trying to make sense of the sonic clutter that was hitting my eardrums.  And then something changed.  After repeated listening, the melodies began to surface.  I began to hear music, rather than an arbitrary collection of notes and sounds randomly sequenced together.

Coming to appreciate this wildly original and brilliant masterwork has made me a more sophisticated consumer of all art forms, as well as a more mature, interesting, and open-minded person.  I have come to realize that greatness in art, music, and other aspects of life is not always easy to recognize.  Often, some of the greatest creative works can be the most difficult to understand.  Before I came to appreciate Kid A, I would discredit a book or painting simply because I could not understand its significance upon my first encounter with it.  However, when I encounter an obtuse piece now, I wonder what more there is to the work that I am missing.  I wonder what is preventing me from wholly understanding it, rather than dismissing it as inaccessible or illogical.

My experience with Kid A also taught me that life, like art, is often difficult to appreciate without the proper perspective.  Many times, people I who have not gotten long with at first have ended up becoming some of my closest and most reliable friends.  Similarly, events in my life that I once viewed as negative have greatly contributed to my personal growth and were highly beneficial to me in the long run.  I do not think I would have had the serenity to realize this had I never encountered this ground breaking and idiosyncratic work.

Looking ahead to college and beyond, I think that these subtle changes in my perspective will continue to enhance my experiences, both as a student and as a person.  I feel I have gained the maturity to be open to the different types of people and ideas which I will surely encounter in college.  As a musician, this growth will benefit me because I have learned to be open to music which may be vastly different from anything I have previously heard.  I will not judge a piece upon playing or hearing it for the first time simply because it is complex and difficult to appreciate.  Rather, I will embrace the uniqueness of each encounter and do my best to understand the brilliance that often lies beneath the surface.


Class of 2010

College Essay by M. B.

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