krinyapajti
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Hi guys I have 3 possibilities for essays that I'm thinking of submitting with my Oxford application.
I need your input on which ones you think would be the best topic to talk about?
Obviously I want something that can inspire a good academic conversation at the interview, but I'm worried about writing something too vague or too specific/niche?

Anyway here are the 3 topics:

• the history of Punk music (I've written this one already for coursework - its more like a research essay with a lot of quotes and facts in it etc)
• Wagner and the controversy around him about his anti-semitism (not written this one yet just have the topic)
• it's easy to be a "composer" now (because of music softwares and stuff) and whether this is a good or a bad thing (again not written it yet)

I need 2 essays so what do you guys think?

Thanks!
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hau28
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I think Wagner, because what you argue for the third one could sway Oxford's decision on whether to let you in or not, regardless of the quality. But that's just a hunch though, they might not care about the answer, but better to be safe than sorry.
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Noodlzzz
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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krinyapajti
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Hehe The_Lonely_Goatherd and so we meet again! :tongue:
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Hello

Am out atm but please quote me again later this evening. It's worth noting that only one of your essays needs to be music so if you have an essay from another subject that demonstrates your essay-writing skills well, you can send one of those
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krinyapajti
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Hello

Am out atm but please quote me again later this evening. It's worth noting that only one of your essays needs to be music so if you have an essay from another subject that demonstrates your essay-writing skills well, you can send one of those
Quoting you again just like you asked!
Since I'm on a music course all my subjects are Music I literally don't take anything else 😂
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krinyapajti
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(Original post by hau28)
I think Wagner, because what you argue for the third one could sway Oxford's decision on whether to let you in or not, regardless of the quality. But that's just a hunch though, they might not care about the answer, but better to be safe than sorry.
Thank you so much!
Is it important that you come to a definite conclusion then? I feel like they're such intriguing topics that I couldn't come to a well-justified conclusion at the end in 1500 words.. I was gonna sort of lean in one direction but explore both sides?

I agree though, I've been thinking that Wagner should definitely be one of them... however can't decide between punk and the composer one. Also worth noting that the Punk one is more of a research essay so there's not much to be said about it at the interview, I don't think?

Any thoughts?
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by krinyapajti)
Thank you so much!
Is it important that you come to a definite conclusion then? I feel like they're such intriguing topics that I couldn't come to a well-justified conclusion at the end in 1500 words.. I was gonna sort of lean in one direction but explore both sides?

I agree though, I've been thinking that Wagner should definitely be one of them... however can't decide between punk and the composer one. Also worth noting that the Punk one is more of a research essay so there's not much to be said about it at the interview, I don't think?

Any thoughts?
Hello

Leaning in one direction but exploring both sides sounds good. My hunch is that the Wagner and punk essays would serve you better than the composer essay (which has the potential to get into murky water/heated debate). That said, if you do submit the Wagner essay, you need to be able to robustly defend whatever argument you make. Do you think you can do that?
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hau28
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You should do the Punk one seeing as you've already done it, but amend it to make it more of a debate. Then do Wagner but have a clear argument. For uni essays, and for A levels if I remember correctly, they want you to take a clear stance throughout the essay. You can mention other sides and arguments but use them to show how your argument is stronger, rather than giving them equal weighting. I did English lit and History at uni.
(Original post by krinyapajti)
Thank you so much!
Is it important that you come to a definite conclusion then? I feel like they're such intriguing topics that I couldn't come to a well-justified conclusion at the end in 1500 words.. I was gonna sort of lean in one direction but explore both sides?

I agree though, I've been thinking that Wagner should definitely be one of them... however can't decide between punk and the composer one. Also worth noting that the Punk one is more of a research essay so there's not much to be said about it at the interview, I don't think?

Any thoughts?
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krinyapajti
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Hello

Leaning in one direction but exploring both sides sounds good. My hunch is that the Wagner and punk essays would serve you better than the composer essay (which has the potential to get into murky water/heated debate). That said, if you do submit the Wagner essay, you need to be able to robustly defend whatever argument you make. Do you think you can do that?
Hmm, both you and hau28 seem to agree that the composer essay would be dangerous, I believe you but I'm so curious as to why you think that?
Heated debate sounds like a good thing? (or well, kind of)

Also worth mentioning about the composer essay: I'd argue on the "it's NOT a good thing' side, which they'd probably agree with..?

I definitely can defend my argument, love me a good debate!
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krinyapajti
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(Original post by hau28)
You should do the Punk one seeing as you've already done it, but amend it to make it more of a debate. Then do Wagner but have a clear argument. For uni essays, and for A levels if I remember correctly, they want you to take a clear stance throughout the essay. You can mention other sides and arguments but use them to show how your argument is stronger, rather than giving them equal weighting. I did English lit and History at uni.
Hey btw, thank you to you both for helping my out with this!

I honestly don't know how to amend the Punk essay as it's so black and white: I did my research, quoted & cited a ton of books, and put together the outline of the history of the genre in like 1300 words.. there'd really be nothing to argue against if I were to make it more of a debate essay - who could disagree with things like "this performance by the Ramones would prove to be very influential: they met future members of the Sex Pistols, who cite them as their inspiration" or something along those lines.

Hence why I thought the composer one would be better, but it seems like you both agree that it'd be a too dangerous and controversial topic to explore. Again worth mentioning I'm on the "not a good thing" side.
Am I better off thinking of a whole new topic?
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Oxford Mum
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I wouldn’t even advise which essay, when you have an expert like the excellent lonely goatherd commenting!
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OxFossil
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(Original post by krinyapajti)
Hey btw, thank you to you both for helping my out with this!

I honestly don't know how to amend the Punk essay as it's so black and white: I did my research, quoted & cited a ton of books, and put together the outline of the history of the genre in like 1300 words.. there'd really be nothing to argue against if I were to make it more of a debate essay - who could disagree with things like "this performance by the Ramones would prove to be very influential: they met future members of the Sex Pistols, who cite them as their inspiration" or something along those lines.

Hence why I thought the composer one would be better, but it seems like you both agree that it'd be a too dangerous and controversial topic to explore. Again worth mentioning I'm on the "not a good thing" side.
Am I better off thinking of a whole new topic?
I'm not a music person. But avoiding a topic you know a lot about because you think they will be stumped for questions is to seriously underestimate your potential interviewers. Even a layperson could come up with questions - they aren't restricted to simply challenging statements made in your essay. Just off the top of my head - "I was interested in your essay on punk. Do you think the punk era is a significant movement in music? Why?" "Why should students at Oxford study pop music?" "Do you see the influence of punk in any contemporary music?" "Punk's dead isn't it?" "How far was punk a reaction to the political and economic situation of the 1970s?" I'd suggest submitting your best pieces of work, stuff you are comfortable talking about. Avoid second guessing your interviewers - submit a second rate piece of work and you won't get that far anyway.
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hau28
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I don't know enough about music to know the details, but I was just thinking that if you were to agree then it would devalue the nature of the course, however disagreeing may do the same thing if the course happens to involve a lot of music software. Do you know what kind of technology you'd be using? I assume as it's Oxford it would probably be more classical than modern, but I'm not informed enough to confirm.
(Original post by krinyapajti)
Hey btw, thank you to you both for helping my out with this!

I honestly don't know how to amend the Punk essay as it's so black and white: I did my research, quoted & cited a ton of books, and put together the outline of the history of the genre in like 1300 words.. there'd really be nothing to argue against if I were to make it more of a debate essay - who could disagree with things like "this performance by the Ramones would prove to be very influential: they met future members of the Sex Pistols, who cite them as their inspiration" or something along those lines.

Hence why I thought the composer one would be better, but it seems like you both agree that it'd be a too dangerous and controversial topic to explore. Again worth mentioning I'm on the "not a good thing" side.
Am I better off thinking of a whole new topic?
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by krinyapajti)
Hey btw, thank you to you both for helping my out with this!

I honestly don't know how to amend the Punk essay as it's so black and white: I did my research, quoted & cited a ton of books, and put together the outline of the history of the genre in like 1300 words.. there'd really be nothing to argue against if I were to make it more of a debate essay - who could disagree with things like "this performance by the Ramones would prove to be very influential: they met future members of the Sex Pistols, who cite them as their inspiration" or something along those lines.

Hence why I thought the composer one would be better, but it seems like you both agree that it'd be a too dangerous and controversial topic to explore. Again worth mentioning I'm on the "not a good thing" side.
Am I better off thinking of a whole new topic?
Hello, replying in haste as am very busy, and won't be able to reply again 'til Sunday afternoon at the very earliest due to a hectic few days.

It may just be that you've worded the title rather clumsily but the title "it's easy to be a "composer" now (because of music softwares and stuff) and whether this is a good or a bad thing" is rather problematic. Debate is good and nothing wrong with heated if you can hack it, but I suspect someone could very easily run circles around you and back you into a corner. Which is not a good look!

I'd send in the punk essay. It's worth me mentioning that your written work may not come up at all. It will be looked at and read, of course, but you may not get any questions on it at all. Or alternatively, the entire interview (save for an analysis exercise) might be about your written work!

Basically, I suspect you are overthinking this.
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