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After I had mastered the note of “C,” she promised, I could move on to “D.” It took a few years of theory and repetition before I was presented with my very first full-length classical piece: a sonatina by Muzio Clementi.I practiced the new piece daily, diligently following the written directives of the composer.Muscle spasms spread throughout my body, and I briefly passed out.
I poured my happiness and my angst into the keys, loving every minute of it.
I pictured things, events, and people (some real, some entirely imagined— but all intensely personal) in my mind as I played, and the feelings and melodies flowed easily: frustration into Beethoven’s Sonata Pathétique, wistfulness into Chopin’s nocturnes and waltzes, and sheer joy into Schubert.
The music director gave me a binder full of 1-2-3 sheet music, in which melodies are written as numbers instead of as notes on a music staff.
To make things a bit more interesting for myself—and for the congregation—I took to experimenting, pairing the written melodies with chords and harmonies of my own creation.
Instead of clapping, however, my teacher gave me a serious look and took both my hands in hers.
“Music,” she said sincerely, “is not just technique. It comes from the heart.” That was how I discovered passion.Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn: the arcs and passages of intricate notes are lines of genius printed on paper, but ultimately, it is the musician who coaxes them to life.They are open to artistic and emotional interpretation, and even eight simple bars can inspire well over a dozen different variations.Practice was no longer a chore; it was a privilege and a delight.In high school, I began playing the piano for church services.Our students show us a great deal more in their applications than just academics—and we care about a lot more than their numbers.In these pages, meet five of our students in the way we first met them: through the personal statements they wrote for their law school applications.EDUCATION: University of Northern Iowa, BA in Economics and English, magna cum laude (2009) LAW SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: Student Admissions Committee, flag football, Tony Patiño Fellow The turning point of my college football career came early in my third year.At the end of the second practice of the season, in ninety-five-degree heat, our head coach decided to condition the entire team.Throughout this issue, countless examples show why we are so proud of the students at the law school.One might think that we get lucky that the students the admissions office chose for their academic accomplishments also turn out to be incredible members of our community, but it’s really all by design.