by Heidi M. Pascual
A More Beautiful World with Music
What is in music that enhances your view of life? For music lovers like me, music has
that magical effect in the innermost part of being that makes one feel that life is a
blessing and that love can truly be expressed through it. I can think of nothing that
beats music as a form of relaxation and at the same time a powerful force that can
make you either happy or sad, depending on the depth of your senses’ involvement.

I grew up learning how to play the piano, sing and dance, musical talents which gave
me lots of recognition in school and my hometown. Of course, it has been part of the
Filipino culture to teach kids a little music, but in my case, I had to try to be better
than my peers, because my mother, a school teacher and a singer herself, repeatedly
drilled into my head that I had the talent, the genes, and the interest to be better if not
the best.

Nevertheless, my late mom also emphasized that such musical inclination of mine was
simply part of the acculturation process, to shape a child’s whole personality, and
was not intended to be a future career. Accordingly, I had to focus on high academic
achievement on top of my music lessons (which were not easy, either).

My teacher in piano was a graduate of a well-known conservatory of music in Manila;
my voice trainer was a coloratura soprano in our church; and my dance instructor
was the coach of the province’s dance troupe. All had schedules and strict routines
that made my elementary-to-high school years extremely busy. I really didn’t have
time for idle hours with friends. My mom was…I should say, a “Tiger Mom” when it
was about my school performance and music sessions. I am actually glad I belonged
to that generation where kids generally were obedient to parents and school authority.
True enough, aside from being a consistent honor student and a college scholar, I had
successes in music competitions, including being chosen as a lead actress in a musical
My youngest grandson, Deejay, studies how to play
the ukelele and sing pop and Christian songs.
stage play, locally known as sarzuela, titled “Ang Bundok” (The Mountain), when I was in college.

I remember that when my mom passed away, my brother Rick in his remarks in church said that my mom’s legacy had three most
significant and important segments: Love for God, love for her children, and love for music. While the first two were a given, the third was
“inherited” by all of her five children. We all play musical instruments; we all sing; and we all dance. I think that love for music made
Felicidad’s children a bit ahead of their peers in our hometown.

Going back to my own story, I didn’t pursue music as a career/profession, despite my heart’s desire to exactly do that. I listened to my
mother, and I knew she was right when she said, “In our country, very few succeed as a musician. If you want to get out of poverty, pursue
something else. When you’re already settled, it’s up to you to get back to it.”

Anyway, I wanted to simply express that in my youth when I was into music, I was always very happy and honored that I am able to make
others happy, too. My daily routine as organist of our parish church gave me that feeling of closeness to God and of being able to serve
through my God-given gift. In school, I made my teachers, classmates, and my mom proud whenever I performed onstage or won some
awards for piano or voice. I also became the lead majorette of our high school band. I must admit that music had become part of me, and
without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

In my semi-retirement years, music has been my companion. I still play the keyboard once in a while, but most times, I just listen to songs
and instrumentals that have become my favorites through the years. I also attend ballroom dances not only to relive part of my past, but to
also exercise my bones and muscles for health reasons. What really makes me happy nowadays is the fact that most of my grandchildren are
music lovers, too. Two of the six play string instruments (guitar and violin) and they have been performing in school and church. The third,
the youngest grandchild, is learning how to play ukulele. The rest are active Spotify listeners and YouTube fans of musical performances. I
want to believe that somehow, they have “inherited” some of my dominant musical genes. I realize that watching the youth in my family play
music gives me that very special feeling of “having done something good” for the world.

In addition, I believe that there is another very significant positive that I derive from music, whether I play an instrument, sing, compose, or
listen to it: it surely prevents stress from entering my consciousness. I cannot buy the peace of mind and happiness I get through melodies
that speak of love for others, for nature, and for God. And when I am dancing, I feel getting younger (can you believe it?), getting back some
of lost energy, and getting fit despite my age.

Try getting into music; it’s a world that would surely make you feel that being alive on earth is beautiful, and that sharing your music with
others makes this world a bit enjoyable and lovable.