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My History with Music

Piano

I've been playing this beloved instrument of mine ever since I was four years old. At first, Teacher Edith, my piano teacher (duh), wouldn't accept me, because she said she didn't accept students as young as four years. But she reconsidered, and asked me to recite the alphabet, and also gave me a few words to spell. I remember she asked me how to spell "mountain", and according to her, I spelled it so cutely, though I got a few letters wrong. Either way, she accepted me.

Teacher Edith also had this "activity" for all her students. Every time we finish memorizing and perfecting a piece, we record it onto our piano blank tape. But sometimes, we forget to do so, so now, a few of my best pieces were not recorded, and I greatly regret it.

Anyway, in my first recital ever, (I forgot how old I was then; maybe about 5 or so), I played "Popcorn" and another piece I can't remember. I got a few notes wrong, but I remembered what one student of my piano teacher told me: you can make mistakes in a recital because the audience (who, more or less, would only be your relatives) wouldn't know the difference between the piece played without mistakes and the same piece played with mistakes. So that comforted me.

All that happened while I was living at our former home close to my piano teacher's in Parañaque. I used to go to her house for my lessons, but now that I live in Alabang, she goes to our house for my lessons.

Anyways, at my second recital, (the last one I had), I played Sonatina I by Kabalevsky, (that was one piece I wasn't able to record on my piano tape), and another piece I can't remember again. I know I also had a duet with Egay, a guy that's also a student of Teacher Edith, and a close friend of my brother.

Oh, yeah, just last year, we had a small "recital"/"concert" at Alabang Town Center, a mall near our house. The ones who played were moi, my brother, and two other students of Teacher Edith's. It was for exposure, she said. Oh, yeah, in 5th grade, I joined a Yamaha Concert-Contest in school, but won only second place to Princess Huang. My piano teacher said it was only because I played a New Age piece while Princess played a classical one. She told me in music contests, classical music is the way to go. So now I've learned my lesson. I won a Parker ballpen, by the way.

I joined another contest last year(1998) Only this time, it was a village contest, and my brother joined too. I still didn't win first place, but that's okay. I got second place in the Classical Music category with my "Sonatina I" by Mozart, and had 3rd place in the Modern Music category with my "Neverland" by Suzanne Ciani. I got PHP (Philippine Peso) 1, 000 as a second place prize, and PHP 500 as a 3rd place prize. The contest was on Halloween night, just in case you were wondering.

Of course, we can't forget the time I went with my brother and another student of my piano teacher to St. Paul's College when they had their music week. We were invited by the president of their music council (which just happened to be a student of my piano teacher)to participate as the "young pianists". I did pretty well, though I did skip a part in one of my pieces, Fantasy in D Minor by Mozart, 'cuz I had a sort of short mental block. Here're the pieces I played then:

1. Sonatina I by Mozart
2. Fantasy in D Minor by Mozart
3. Mozart by Suzanne Ciani

Now ain't I a die-hard fan of Mozart? :o) Actually, my piano teacher told me to play those pieces at St. Paul's College. We didn't quite realize how amusing it was that all my pieces were connected to Mozart 'till we dictated them for the emcee to read. Also, we were excused from school from 11:50 am onwards, 'cuz of that. I liked that part! ;o)

Our latest piano recital was last April 25, 1999. It went very nicely. I played two classical Mozart pieces, Sonatina I and Fantasy in D Minor, and two New Age ones: Neverland and Mozart, both by Suzanne Ciani. Our piano teacher gave an introduction about the composers too. We had a good time. I made several mistakes in my pieces of course (to tell you the truth, I made mistakes in ALL my pieces), but my father told me they didn't notice it. That's a relief. My piano teacher said we were all on performance level... even though we made mistakes, our faces didn't show it. That's good.

Last November 27, 1999, I went to my piano teacher's music studio/C.H.I.L.D.'S. Haven School to play the background music on her organ for her nursery and kindergarten pupils' reading recital. They read these short funny poems and parables and I, together with 3 others played the background music. It was really funny though, 'cuz the audience (parents, friends, and relatives of the recitalists) never knew there was actually someone playing music. They thought the music was on tape. At least, that's what they thought until the organ we were using almost crashed. The stand got loose and the organ almost fell. It was a small accident but still.. it was a bit of a commotion. It was pretty nice watching the recital. It was cute, really.

And just last December 5, 1999, we played at a small coffee shop in Festival Mall. The pieces I played were Mozart by Suzanne Ciani, Neverland, also by Suzanne Ciani, Fifth Nocturne by Leybach, and a duet with my brother: Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven. I did okay I guess. Together with my parents and my little sister, my grandparents and my cousins and aunt and uncle watched us play. I think they enjoyed it. Although it was actually just a very informal recital. The only reason we played was to attract people to the coffe shop :o) There were no introductions (just one very casual one in the beginning to inform the audience we were starting), no sound system, no nothing... just a piano and the pianists. The piano wasn't even exactly excellent. It was a grand piano... but there was a broken key which got stuck whenever we played it. All in all though, it was great fun. It was funny especially in my Symphony 5 duet. My brother and I totally messed up and though we made several obvious (or so we thought) mistakes, we continued with the piece. And after the recital, when the last piece was being played, my piano teacher came to my brother and me and told us the audience was resquesting that we play Symphony No. 5 again. I laughed because I thought it funny that should happen with all our goof-ups and stuff, and told her so, and she laughed too and said she knew and that was why she just kept quiet through all our mistakes because the audience liked it anyway. So we played again for the finale and we made even more mistakes than before, but hey, teh audience loved it just as much! It was really fun. And my grandparents, aunt, and parents all said we were getting really good. It was one of the most fun... though now exactly most grand... recitals I've had. It was really cool.

Hope I have more fun sharing my musical talent in the future. I'll keep 'ya updated!

Organ

After a few years of playing the piano, at age 6 or so, I joined the choir in church (with her as the moderator and organ player). But then, I kept missing choir practices and I was almost always late for mass. So at age 7, she asked me if I wanted to play the organ in church. I agreed. Of course, I couldn't play all the pieces in a mass, so she gave me only the traditional songs/responses. I had lots of practice 'cuz the organ was the kind with two sets of keyboards, and the pedal below. You should know I was a small kid. Anyway, when she finally got married (I was about 8 or 9 yrs. old then), I played the Our Father! Sure, it may not be much, but at least I was able to be a part of her wedding! I remember one time, in a mass, while I was playing the Our Father, I slipped out of my seat trying to reach the pedal. I forgot what the reaction was. But I don't think it caused that much of a commotion. I don't play the organ in church anymore, 'cuz as I have mentioned, we moved, so now, we have a different parish church. But I volunteer playing the Clavinova, a sort of smaller version of a piano, in school,everytime there's a mass and our batch's the sponsor. So that's good.

On our Cheering Competition last November 17, 1999 on our school's Foundation Week, I was the keyboardist of my batch (Grade 7). It was a band actually. And I must say, we were HORRIBLE. I'm never going to play for another Cheering Competition with a band that goes totally wacko. We were disastrous. But that's done. And at least our batch beat the Freshmen, even if it WAS only because almost 8 points were deducted from them 'cuz they went overtime. :o)

Chorale

I had an overwhelming experience when I joined this in 4th grade, because that's the first time I found out I actually had a talent for singing. Ms. Panaligan, the chorale teacher, was the one who helped me discover that. Being a part of the chorale is something to be proud of, because Ms. Panaligan is a very dedicated person, and even though we had lots of practices when a contest or concert was coming up, it was all worth it. That's why I miss being part of that family. I quit in 5th grade because my parents didn't want me to join anymore. You see, the year I was with the chorale, about a month or so before the end of the schoolyear, we had a school play, and we were supposed to sing backstage. Well, the director was very strict, and practices lasted 'till 11:30 pm. And that's a schoolnight. My parents are also strict about school, so you can imagine how they felt about me missing weeks of school just for singing backstage. They watched the play anyhow. Anyway, that's why in 5th grade, I joined the...

Recorder

I had great fun here. Ms. Literte, the teacher, was nice and humorous, so music became my favorite subject. Come to think of it, though, music always has been my favorite subject! Anyway, I got really high grades with Ms. Literte, specifically, three straight 99s and one 98. And I really enjoyed playing the instrument. Even though my classmates studied it way ahead of me (they were playing it in 4th grade, when I was with the chorale), I caught up real fast 'cuz I self-studied playing it.

Flute

I just started playing this this schoolyear (Grade 6), but I already know how to play several good pieces. Sure, playing it can sort of be a little hard sometimes, but everything needs work, right? It's easy to play once you know how. I just love how it sounds! It's like birds singing! We've already had a few concerts, and all of them turned out great! We have Saturday practices, but sometimes I don't attend them 'cuz I wake up late. *sheepish*

We had our very first pure Beginning Band concert last November 16, 1999. It was entitled: The DLSZ Band in Concert.(I study at De La Salle Zobel). I was a flute soloist and I played "On My Own" from the Broadway Les Miserables. Okay, I admit, I wasn't exactly great. One lesson I learned from that concert: never be a flute soloist. I mean, being a solo pianist is one thing, but a flute soloist? No way. But hey, I have good reason for not playing it all that wonderfully. I was swarmed with activities that day. I had one activity in the morning, another in the afternoon, and the concert was in the evening. And we were supposed to practice the whole day for the concert... which I hardly got to do. See why I played as I played? Well anyway, besides my flute solo, I also had a double trio with my classmates. We played Trio Elegante. I'll have to check who the composer is, but I know it's classical music. Of course, us, the beginning band, played several other pieces wherein the crowd hooted at some, namely Hawaii Five-O and Carnival. It was cool. I was trying hard not to smile while playing. :o) After that, we, the advanced beginning band, played with the Concert Band (the High School Band).

On our last concert for the schoolyear 1999-2000... my last year in elementary since I'd be going on to high school the next schoolyear, we played and every music group in the school did a number, from the Symphony Orchestra to the Rondalla Group, to the Recorder Ensemble, Violin Group, and even the Angklung class. In my part, I think we, the Beginning Band, played horribly.

In one of our pieces, "March on the King's Highway", my music piece (actually, I was sharing with the girl I was seated next to, a friend of mine, and either of us didn't have a clear book) kept falling off while we were playing and we couldn't see any notes, so we practically didn't play the piece at all.

And in the last part where everyone, in unison, as in all the music groups, would play (the pieces were "Perpetual Motion" and our school's Alma Mater), I and about three to four more band members didn't get to play. We were in teh band room then and we didn't know it was time to play. After a while in the band room, I told them maybe we should get back. So we walked, then we heard the first few notes of the piece, and we went beserk. We ran like crazy but it was too late. Imagine! The last piece we were going to play in our elementary life, and we missed it. *sigh* Oh, well. Hope when I join the Symphony Orchestra during high school all my memories of our concerts won't be horrible. :o)

All in all, it was an okay concert. There'll be more to come. We'll make mistakes, but we'll learn and have fun. And that's what matters!

Awards

In all the years I've been playing music and in all the contests I joined (which are scattered in the topics above), the most I got were certificates of appreciation... although once in the Yamaha Contest I got a Parker pen. :o) Well anyway, last November 16, 1999, I received my first trophy. It wasn't exactly for music... although it was, in a way. It was for our Poetry in Motion English Week competition. I was the leader of our group, and I made the poem and the melody. In short, I made the song. And we all pitched in with the choreography. So it wasn't exactly my award... it was my group's... Paula Sun, Miguel Borromeo, Henry Flordeliza, Carla Ui, Melissa de Rivera, Kristoffer Adrias, Kirk Kimseng, Rhonda Reyes, Bertha Lina, Andre Leong. So it was kind of a musical competition. Anyway, we won (unexpectedly) first place. We were so surprised. None of us expected it. Maybe we thought we had a chance at second place, but never at first place.

The next trophy I got was a big one. (I'm not bragging... I'm just real proud of it). It was an Antonio Montemayor Anievas Award... in other words... the AMAFI Awards. It's given once a year to a graduating batch. There are 6 AMAFI Awards. One for Rhetoric, Music, Academics, Athletics, Art, and the over-all number one, the Achievement Award. I won the Music one. The Board which decides who gets the award judges all the applicants of the whole La Salle System. Not just our one school. But all the La Salle schools in the Philippines I think. And I won the music one! It was unbelievably great. It was presented on our graduation day last April 1, 2000.

I try not to let the awards get into my head though. :o) But that doesn't stop me from seizing the opportunities which come my way!