Sample Scored Essay: 5
Question: Music often plays an important role in our lives no matter whether our tastes are classical, country, jazz, rock, or rhythm 'n blues. This music may merely be in the background when we drive or study, provide a refuge from our problems, offer a trigger for our memories, or be an integral part of our lives, memories, and culture. Write an essay of approximately two pages in which you explain the role that music plays or has played in your life.
Score: 5 (Untitled)
Everyone knows that music can set the mood in various settings. Music also has the power to help in studying for some, and even sleeping, or both for people like me. Music plays a bit of a bigger role for me, it was one of the main factors that helped me get through a tough situation about two years ago. Music is probably one of the most influential things throughout my life.
Music helped me through my high school years and is still helping me in college. I have ADHD, and if I’m studying in a room with silence, I have to do something to stir things up a bit. I’ve found that I don’t like taking medication for this problem, and listening to music helps take my mind off of everything else.
Another way that music helps me through life is it helps me sleep better. For some reason, if I have something playing in the background, I can fall asleep in about ten minutes. There is some scientific reasoning behind this; scientists have found that rock music makes you mentally tired. Unfortunately, if you would have music playing all night, most people would not go into the NREM sleep cycle, or deep sleep. Fortunately for me, Apple has my back by making the iPhone, which turns off after a designated time, helping me fall asleep and reach the deep sleep cycle.
Also, music has helped me through some rough times. I hit rock bottom about two years ago. I reached the most amount of debt in my life. I worked a job I hated and my girlfriend left me after being together for about five years. To me, it didn’t seem like anyone around me knew what I was going through. I kept having the same old crap about how it was going to get better. That’s when I started listening to the lyrics to some of my favorite songs. Before, I more or less listened to the catchy beat and the chorus. I became less self-centered when I found that a lot of people went through this, and in most cases, it was a lot worse.
Sometimes music can bring up memories, some happy, some sad. When I hear “Bad Moon Rising” by Credence Clearwater Revival, I remember the drives I went on with my dad to some land we own. I always remember the vivid fall colors out on the farm as we would go scout for deer. Music can also bring up tough times in my life. A lot of the songs I listened to when I had a “rough spot” in my life I can’t listen to anymore. Almost every time I hear one of those songs, I go right back to how I felt at that moment.
Even though there are some negative aspects of music, I believe the good far surpasses the bad. Without music, this world would be a horribly dull place. Music stands to be one of the most significant things in my life. I’m not sure where I would be without it; with the way that I was thinking, I probably wouldn’t be alive today.
Strengths: Like the “ essay, this essay is adequately focused and organized. In the introduction, the writer presents the points of the “case” he will make for the importance of music in his life, and he follows the same order of those points in the body that follows, with a separate paragraph for each point. (This is not to imply that such introductions are always the best way to begin, of course. Writers often state the thesis at the end of the introduction, and appropriately so, because this is a position of emphasis, and the thesis should be clear, but writers can do more in this paragraph than simply state the ideas they will develop below. For suggestions about writing introductions, click here.) Development is better in this essay than in the one scored “ When explaining how music helps him get to sleep, for example, the writer refers specifically to the NREM sleep cycle and to his use of the iPhone, details that are informative in themselves and improve the writer’s credibility (and thus, his argument), since we trust that this writer has actually experienced what he is talking about; he isn’t speaking in generalities that everybody already knows. And when he discusses how music can trigger memories, he includes a concrete example, explaining that listening to Credence Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” triggers memories of the drives he took with his father. He begins each section in a way that achieves coherence (“Another way that music helps me . . .” and “Also, music has helped me . . .”), and he varies the patterns of his sentences to good effect (“Even though there are some negative aspects of music, I believe the good far surpasses the bad.”). He uses signal words effectively (e.g., “Unfortunately,” “Before,”). There are few, if any, errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and the style is highly competent. In summary, the essay is competent in terms of focus, organization, development, style, and correctness. Compared to the essay scored “ this essay is better in terms of development, style, and correctness. It received a “
Weaknesses: Development could be improved. For example, after stating that listening to music helps him study, the writer might have given an example of the music that helps him study or possibly refer to a specific time he studied while listening to music. Discussing how listening to music helped him recover from the pain of breaking up, he might have given an example of one of this “favorite songs” that helped him realize he was not alone in this experience. It is not possible to go into great detail about every point, of course, but good writing achieves an effective balance between generalizations that present ideas and specific details that back them up. The details make for vivid and interesting writing. In deciding which points to bring up, writers should also consider whether they have enough to say about them—in terms of specific detail—to fill a complete paragraph.
Method | Criteria | Scale | Sample graded papers
Importance of music in my life
March 11, 2010
Image Credit: Sandy H.Music is one of the most important and powerful things in my life. My life without melodies and harmonies would be totally empty. Listening to and playing different tunes helps me to de-stress, relax and it can also help to motivate me in trying times. I love listening to music while on my way to school, as I feel it helps me to prepare for the day that waits. I think it is like the memoirs to my life as it has been there throughout everything with me.
When I was younger, I didn’t have the great love for musical as I do now. I mainly listened to whatever was playing in the background or what my parents were listening to. I didn’t have much of a care for musical compositions. There was sometimes a little bit of pop music thrown in to the mix here and there, but that’s really all I liked back then. Whether I was in the car, the house, or anywhere else there was sure to be some Beatles, Buddy Holly, or the Dubliners constantly playing somewhere in the background. At the time I didn’t care for that genre of music much, but now as I’m older, I enjoy it as it allows me to reminisce on memories from times of my childhood. Once I hit my teenage years music became my life and gradually started to inhibit my soul.
I believe music has the ability to convey all sorts of emotion. Whether the emotion is joy and happiness or sadness and despair through rhythms, harmonies and the lyrics music shows it. The song “A little bit longer” by Nick Jonas is such an emotional and inspiring song that when I hear it, I always come close to tears, especially when I watch it being played live. The effect that music can have on our emotions is tremendous, as it can bring people to floods of tears or bursts of laughter.
The musical images that music and song are able to create are amazing. Music has the ability to transport me back in time just like a time machine. It lets me revisit lost and forgotten moments in life. Songs can paint a picture, for example in classical and country music where a story is being told. The music in classical music tells a story without lyrics which is an immensely powerful thing. I feel that this applies to the saying “music imitates life and life imitates music”.
Recently song writing has wandered its way into my life. I believe there is no better way to express myself than through song. After a bad day, it’s nice to be able to sit down and write about it. It can make all your problems just disappear and float away. Listening to other musical artists that I like gives me inspiration. My guitar teacher also points me in the right direction and gives me guidance as I need it. I love to just sit with my guitar and make up random lyrics about past experiences or what I’m going through at the moment.
I started learning how to play the guitar last year and within the past few months I have fallen completely and utterly in love with it. Once I start playing, I find it extremely hard to put the guitar down again. It’s very addictive and can also be distracting sometimes. It distracts me from my homework since my guitar sits right next to my desk. Playing guitar is one of the only things in my life in which I don’t feel pressurized to do well in. I think this is because I have a great teacher and she doesn’t push me to the music exams.
This past summer my grandma taught me how to play the piano. I had always heard stories about how my great grandfather, her father, was brilliant at the piano. He would sit at the piano for hours on end playing different well known songs as making up his own little tunes. He had taught my grandma how to play and I felt it was about time that I learnt. So when I was staying with my grandma and grandpa during the summer, I asked her to teach me. She was delighted to and now it’s something nice that we can both do together and bond over.
I believe music effects people in many different ways. To me music is more than just something to listen to or play, it’s something to feel. Music is extremely important in my life. I think it brings me closer to my friends and family. I also feel that it helps me to get through things. For example, I remember doing the twenty six kilometre gaisce hike and the whole way along the hike we sang songs. Music is an immensely powerful thing and has a huge place in my life right next to my heart.