"There is something intimate, almost profound, in m..."
Successful students at Johns Hopkins make the biggest impact by collaborating with others, including peers, mentors, and professors. Talk about a time, in or outside the classroom, when you worked with others and what you learned from the experience.
300 - 400 words
There is something intimate, almost profound, in mirroring the movements of about 14 people around you.
From paralleling the idiosyncrasies of a vibraphone player’s smile to the nuances of a marimba player’s wrist movements, it is difficult to achieve total nonverbal communication in a band’s front ensemble. The result, however, is an infinitely rewarding one; the visual mosaic we design — whether inside the confines of a gymnasium floor or on an expansive stretch of turf on a football field — is akin to the aural one we create as well. This tapestry, while ostensibly uniform, is woven with the gradations of every player’s physical form, their quirks quickly adopted by the whole ensemble.
Indeed, pantomiming and performing become one in the same in the stationary percussive marching arts. This mimicry demands a sacred conviction that every player will commit to maintaining the mosaic that we’ve worked so hard to build. The tense moment when each player waves his or her mallets above the board permits no hesitation; there is no room to confirm the camaraderie between players before striking the keys. We are forced to trust that everything will fall into place, and the tapestry will unfold as it should to captivate our audience.
I’ve learned a lot from playing mallet percussion across the ensembles offered at my school, but the most important thing I’ve learned is to relax, and allow the hours me and my peers have put into rehearsal take their course. I am a notoriously anxious person, obsessed with precision and perfection. Performing is anything but precise; it’s fluid and expressive. When the drum major counts off, I cannot worry about my stance behind the board, or if how much torque I am applying to the first stroke is the same as the person next to me. I must be unapologetically confident.
The faith that I’ve cultivated in my peers in creating this musical tapestry has translated to an increased faith in myself and my own abilities. No longer am I afraid to explore new talents, or take intellectual excursions into fields unbeknownst to me. I am free to teach myself anything, from the entirety of Claude Debussy's works on piano to the John Cena theme song on recorder. Indeed, contributing to something greater than myself has fundamentally changed who I am for the better.