A More Beautiful World with Music
by Heidi M. Pascual

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 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 win 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 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
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
the 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 to enter
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
more enjoyable
and lovable.
My youngest grandson, Deejay, is
learning how to play the ukelele.