Since my childhood I really love music. I heard this first in the midst of the jungle through the sweet chirping of birds and the simultaneous rivaling sounds of insects and cicadas day and night. It’s such a lovely opportunity of communing with nature and all the species thriving and living within a harmonic relationship.
As an indigenous tribe, we also have our distinct instruments basically played by women when they go to the farm. We call this “piwpiw” made of a bamboo tube with a cleave and a split and a little whole just rightly fit for the thumb holding it. It is played by spanking on the palm. Women take with them and while along their way to the farm and back home play to relax.
For men, they have the “dulili” but not like the piwpiw that is played along the way. This can be played both by women and men by blowing air from the nostrils to produce a sound that is controlled by the fingers.
As the community continues to develop, it was exposed to the lowlander merchants it was an opportunity to experience a more convenient procurement of domestic needs. Salt, sugar, cooking oil, bread, and items of clothing were brought up carried by strangers. These goods were bought and mostly bartered with commodities such as beans, coffee beans and other products that they can bring down to the market for sale.
Not only confined to kitchen needs but merchants had seen the need of rural people of information and communication. They brought with them transistor radios, phonographs and played them freely to fill the air with music.
In fact, in the early 70s, only our teachers in the elementary grades have the radio to which we used during the dance rehearsals for Christmas and Closing Exercises.
Gradually, people learned to love local dramas aired on the radio, music played through the phonographs and the importance of having access to the information on what was happening in distant places, and weather forecasts had convinced families to have their own which they love to carry with them to their farms and back to their homes.
Guitar for Fellowships
Early in the elementary grade, I was able to learn basic guitar chords and I loved it. I remember there were rare occasions in rural communities to gather and sing together. No birthday celebrations, not even Sundays during worship I seldom saw a guitar was played not because it’s a taboo but we were still learning the chords and rhythms and we didn’t have the confidence to engage in accompanying a song or a hymn.
On the other hand, as teenagers, we gather in the evening learn playing the guitar and sing together basically for relaxation and fellowship. Most of us were singing out of tune. I can say nobody among us in our contemporary was gifted with good vocals.
After ten years and more exposure for us to other communities, our youth were able to learn to play the guitar with the bandurria. Singing out of tune but they can render a musical piece which everyone can enjoy listening. This time I still have the interest in playing the guitar but I need guitar chord chart. Because I love music I sing always and continue to develop my voice. Age is not a hindrance if you are interested and you enjoy doing it.
I Fall in Love with the Piano
From my birthplace which was beyond transportation accessibility, we moved to a different region. As usual, we love to be with nature so we settled in the mountain area where my parents love to do farming. I was able to have the opportunity to continue my High School education in a State College in the town which is a more developed community. Music is everywhere, you can hear it from the neighbors with their advanced paraphernalia, radio, TV, Karaoke, and Videoke.
I learned to love going to church on Sundays and there where I first saw and hear the piano played by the musician. I was so impressed and it laid a challenge to me personally.
The time came when I have to decide what course, what vocation will I be taking in my college education. Definitely, I was not thinking of taking Sacred Music, it was far from my choices. There was a college that offered AB-CE, meaning Bachelor of Arts with Christian Education. Tuition fee is minimal and so I went and enrolled that three-year course program.
One of our teachers was a pianist and was offering a free two hours tutorial every week. I enrolled with my hope that I will soon become a pianist one day. To my disappointment, I was not able to finish the training, until this time, I cannot remember the reason why I was not able to complete the training. I graduated in that institution with my frustration in the piano lesson.
After a decade I decided to continue my studies in the Seminary taking Master of Divinity (MDIV). Again one of the instructors was a lady pianist offering a free tutorial. For the second time, I enrolled telling myself I will finish it to the recital. However, I graduated in that Seminary without the piano recital.
It was really my frustration because I really love music, I want to sing, I want to play the piano but the piano doesn’t love me. This time I can say that I’m a frustrated musician. But it doesn’t negate my appreciation and interest in music as well as my love for the piano. It fascinates me more than any other instruments. If only I can bring back the past I will give an opportunity for mastery of this special vocation.
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