Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Love affair with music

As I write this column, Barry Manilow’s mellow songs are softly drifting through the house. I am playing his songs for inspiration. The music you love to hear usually reflects the genre you like and naturally the period. Ouch!

Let me ask a question. When did your love affair with music start? For the music lovers who read this column, you can revisit your younger years and answer the question in a flash. No sweat.

My love for music started at a very young age. My father was always singing at home; plucking the guitar and playing his favorite records on stereo. Yes records! Do you remember those long playing albums and 45 rpm records? I bet you do. I bet you still have them stacked somewhere. My father had lots of them. He kept on buying new records each time a new album is released. Talk about passion huh!

I remember at one time, my mother invited a family friend-guitarist to teach my elder brother and me how to play the guitar. Naturally my elder brother learned it quite fast. I was the slow learner when it came to guitar playing. My brother Angelus studied some more until he specialized in bass guitar and eventually played with a band in college until he passed his electrical engineer board exam and worked professionally. He was a musician at heart and electrical engineer at the same time. He only stopped playing bass and acoustic guitar professionally when he got married.

Even if I did not become a musician like my brother, my love for music stayed. How can you not love it? When my brother fell in love with the guitar, we had to listen night and day to his music choices which were blaring loudly on the stereo. Talk about freedom of choice! So we had to listen to the Beatles repeatedly for weeks and weeks until the newest choice came along, and on and on the cycle goes.

And then on my short trips to Valencia, my father’s hometown, I got acquainted with jazz. At first, it sounded strange to my ears. Eventually, I liked it. I remember my first taste of Michael Franks’ music. It was cool and soothing. It was a hit for me. I decided then that I would love jazz.

But when you love music, it will always pull you back. Hmmm like first love? In college, I had the chance to work as disc jockey in a local radio station. Ah what pleasure! Finally, I had the chance to listen to my choice of music. I listened to all sorts of music, from Tagalog to English; mellow to fast; jazz; instrumental, everything under the sun. That was so much fun.

The coolest thing was I had free hand on music selection. There was no pre-programmed music repertoire. I was given freedom to choose my music. It was an exhilarating experience.

I worked for three years at the radio station until I graduated from college. Let us just say I was earning while I was in school. I had a one-hour radio show every day and a four-hour radio show every Sunday. I like Sundays better. I had longer time to linger in the radio station and do other stuff like having a boyfriend on the side sans my protective parents’ knowledge. Now it can be told. But hey, I have no more parents. I have lost them both remember?

My love for music grew with my radio station stint. Who would not when you were given free records every single time new ones were released by the recording companies? I had to bring my allocation home each time. I had stacks of record at home while in college.

But that was only the shallow reason; the deeper reason was I needed to listen and appreciate different types of music because I was catering to an audience of varied tastes. It was a must for the profession. It was fun, entertaining and educational. I studied the artists; read and appreciated their backgrounds; played their music and got paid my wages. Hmmm not bad for a college student. No wonder I can have a secret boyfriend on the side, I had money.

I left my radio job when I graduated from college. But music has significantly played an important role in my life. Do you have songs that labeled your life experiences? I have plenty of songs that categorized my life experiences. In college, I remember crooning over “Someone That I Used to Love”, “Something New in My Life”; “Separate Lives” and some other memorable pieces that bring back good memories whenever I hear them played on the radio all over again. You know, the hit backs. Yeah, yeah, it is the age.

But there are songs that stick with us right? Until now, I still love “Something New in My Life”. For me, it is endless. It is probably the title. It speaks of something new each day; always. Or it might just be the romantic Belinda speaking huh!

Fast forward to 2007 when my son started guitar lessons. He started to add his brand of music into the house which already hosted a variety of music wafting in every corner. Then 2008 came and my son moved to bass guitar as suggested by the dad. It was also in 2008 when my daughter started drum lessons. With all these musicians thriving in the house, one had to invest in instruments. So we slowly provided the musical instruments. The acoustic guitar came first. I bought it and carried all the way from Bohol to Gen. Santos City in 2005. That sparked my son’s interest to play the guitar.

Bass guitar came in second, a gift from the dad. Then my bass guitarist brother - the original musician, bequeathed his prized electric guitar to my son. He shipped it from Bohol. And since we now have a drummer in the house, the drum set followed inevitably. So now, the house is practically filled with instruments and when the teenage kids play, the mother pays attention, or rather enjoys it.

A house filled with music inspires creativity and imagination. Musicians are creative, sensitive, highly imaginative and soulful people. Just talk to musicians and you will know.

Now, we listen to different music genres when all the musicians congregate in the house to play. By musicians, I mean the father, son and daughter. They jam and I enjoy it.

What’s the gist of this story?

Simple. When you love music, you will allow music to complement your life. Without so much effort and without you knowing it, you open the greatest opportunity for your family, your children most especially, to benefit from the same passion.

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