I really need feedback and some commenting on my Personal Statement. Thank you so much.

by Rafael
(Brazil, Rio de Janeiro)

This is Für Nelson. Despite his caress, grandpa was incredibly harsh and used to say that an 8-year-old kid like me would have no future on music if I didn’t perform gently with both hands. During his first Beethoven’s lesson, expectation consumed and made me play too fast. I quivered with grandpa’s harsh criticisms. Nevertheless, by accepting his demands and facing his challenges, I immersed in a motivation which accompanied since then.

Every subsequent downfall was a new source of strength to me. As my grandpa developed Alzheimer, I was first devastated, but I knew then, more than ever, that I had to become a better musician for him. First, I had to find a good professor, someone as demanding as my grandpa, but how would I afford my city’s well-renowned Conservatory of Music? After days of barely eating, keeping flat on my bed, my father, Moacir, rekindled the inspiration inside me. On the scorching Friday evening of that week, he arrived from work giving me warm hugs to cheer me up and announcing “Today, I only sold six chocolate bars, but tomorrow I will do better for you, Raff.” In his shimmering eyes, I recognized that same spark, that same motivation with which my grandpa would teach me Beethoven. Once again, I reconfirmed to myself: I can’t give up.

One month after the success of my father’s efforts as a vendor, I faced a black Fritz Dobbert piano in a store. My new professor told me I needed one and I felt immediately lost after hearing his words: how would I pay for such an expensive instrument? Once again, the downfalls enlightened my inspiration – I took it as a trigger to take my father’s instance, selling candies at my High School’s street. Wearing my uniform, I stood up and smiled, but my “friends” kept mocking, instead of supporting me. Even an old, bearded and unknown man slammed my hands while I standed, telling me to “stop acting like a dummy” and to “do myself I favor and stop this.”

The odyssey of storing red strawberry lollipops to earn money for that beautiful piano and for the realization of my grandpa’s dream took me almost a year. Yet, it was my first victory! I earned 3.000 Brazilian reais and finally had a brown, beautiful Lux piano at home, with its keys as white as my grandpa’s hair. Christmas' eve weeks were filled with excitement and compassion for that new instrument. When I touched it, I floated to the moon like in the lyrics of "Beautiful Blue Balloon" of my favorite Brazilian singer, Guilherme Arantes. "I always live/somewhere in the clouds". Finally, the piano was the voice against my downfalls. Afraid of all the mocking? Not anymore. The more I practiced, the more powerful I felt.

A week later, I was playing Für Elise and my father came closer, slowly and almost painfully. He held my shoulder tightly and stood without saying a sentence. He didn’t need to talk, though: I instantly understood what he would say. However, the words were there, giving me goosebumps like a thousand needles stabbing me.

In my grandpa’s funeral, among the smell of roses and the sweet dance of atoms consuming my grandpa, I tried not to be overwhelmed by pain. Memories swelled and I remembered my first Beethoven class, my grandpa criticizing the fast way through which I played and then our last lesson, when he smiled as I played in the right rhythm. All those memories were immensely comforting after all, and they gave me, once again, strength instead of grieve.

After the funeral, I was sad, but not devastated anymore. Flooded by an epiphany, I found a way through which I could intermingle my love for grandpa, music and science. That was it! As I left the funeral, dressed in black, still smelling roses and hearing Für Elise smoothly echoing in my mind, I told myself I wanted to work with music therapy and chemical medicine. I believe Beethoven and science could have cured my grandpa’s dementia. Do not worry, grandpa Nelson; I will honor your Memory as you honored the pianist inside me.

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