This sample SOP is for applying to a master’s program in Music in the USA.
My life’s passion has been music ever since I was old enough to sing. As I have grown and matured, I have been on a constant quest to explore new musical vistas and hone my own technical and composition skills. Now, having earned a degree in music and acquired teaching experience, I desire to challenge myself further by pursuing additional studies overseas. The music education in my native country is somewhat limited and not nearly as open or developed as it is in the USA, which is why I am attracted to the enriching, inspiring environment of your master’s program. In addition, I look forward to experiencing a new culture and interacting with diverse groups of people, which will broaden both my personal and musical horizons considerably.
As a young child, I often played the piano and sang songs with my mother. After learning the basics of piano, I soon began playing pop music by ear, and I gradually began adding my own flair to these songs and exploring my creative side. I was fortunate to have a mother who supported my passion for music, and she got me a composition teacher, which led to me focusing on composition in junior and senior high school. During this period, I mainly played classical music, which gave me a good foundation for my university-level studies. The numerous undergraduate classes I took on harmony, theory, music analysis, counterpoint, and composition opened my eyes to the vast possibilities I could continue to explore in the musical world. I especially enjoyed the regular one-on-one classes in the university, in which I got advice from instructors while discussing pieces from contemporary composers.
Many of the most instructive experiences have come outside of the classroom. For instance, in high school I participated in the Music Club as the lead singer and arranger, and I joined the Musician’s Association in the university, holding instructional camps for elementary school students. Throughout these years, I also performed solos and orchestral pieces at music festivals and concerts, playing various instruments and gaining invaluable experience. Meanwhile, I have also regularly taught private students in everything from composition and theory to ear training and technical skills. Such experiences have taught me to devise different teaching methods as appropriate for students of varying levels. For instance, I may let the students listen to J.S. Bach’s Chorale or Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale, then give them a chance to practice conducting in small groups with classmates. This has shown me firsthand the value of teaching, which makes me yearn for more teaching experiences in my future career.
My musical experiences have molded me into a multi-talented musician with teaching talents and a keen understanding of my own strengths and interests. This is why I feel well prepared to enter your graduate program of music. If accepted, I will devote my efforts to enriching my knowledge of music and composition, and I hope to focus on the area of contemporary music. I understand that studying at the graduate level overseas will present me with certain challenges, but based on my past accomplishments and struggles, I know that I have what it takes to overcome these and excel. After completing my studies, I plan to return to my country and seek a teaching position, with the goal of nurturing the next generation of musicians and inspiring others as my teachers inspired me.