October 24, 2023

The deadline to apply to MSM is Dec 1. Here’s our guide to writing the two application essays in 30 minutes!

We’re thrilled that you’re applying to Manhattan School of Music!  

As you know, the application process requires submitting two short essays.  This can be a daunting assignment. We suggest first of all that you keep in mind this very useful rule-of-thumb for getting anything done: “start, the rest is easy.”

The exercise we offer on this page will help you get your college essays sketched out in 8 minutes and completed and polished in approximately 30 minutes.   

Follow these easy steps to quickly curate your personal story so your unique qualities shine through.

You’ll need:

  • a timer (most phones have one!)
  • a piece of paper and pen or a blank Google doc, MS Word file, etc. to write your notes and draft.

Minute 1: Review the MSM’s Essay Questions 

Essay 1 question:

  • Tell us about a transformative musical moment that has shaped the way you perform, influenced the way you interact with the musical community, or helped you imagine your career trajectory. How will your time at MSM help you continue on your musical journey and allow you to realize your professional and creative goals?

The maximum length of this essay will be 500 words.

Essay 2 questions (pick one):

  1. How do you see yourself as a person? MSM values the entirety of a student’s educational experience.
  2. An MSM education develops students’ understanding of their own worldviews and how it influences their actions. Tell us about your lived experience and how it has influenced your musical journey.
  3. What is a non-musical community with which you are involved with, and why is it important to you?
  4. MSM believes that musicians have an important role to play in the world at large. How will you create positive change through your music?

The maximum length of this essay will be 250 words.

Minutes 2-3: List key ideas to describe yourself 

  1. Write down 10 words, phrases, or sentences that best describe you as a musician.
  2. Write down 10 non-music-related words, phrases, or sentences that best generally describe you as a human being.
  3. Now circle three key musical and non-musical categories you feel are the main points you want to get across.

Minute 4: Jot down some key thoughts you have about: 

For Essay 1 

  • What has been your musical journey so far and how it has prepared you for MSM?
  • What do you hope to get out of an MSM education?

For Essay 2 

  • How will you make the world a better place with the skills you gain at MSM?
  • What else are you involved in that is meaningful to you that is outside of music?

Minutes 5-6: Do a quick draft of Essay 1 using the points you’ve jotted down in an order that makes sense to you 

Minutes 7-8: Do the same for Essay 2

Voila! Your essay is now planned, and it only took you 8 minutes.

Now take a quick break and spend about 20 minutes fully developing the essay and make edits.   

Now you can get back to doing what you love, music!

Questions? Just email the Admission team at admission@msmnyc.edu

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