Live Performance

Every morning during our student days at Pasig Catholic College (PCC), we would recite the Panatang Makabayan or "Patriotic Oath" after the flag ceremony. When we reached high school, each one of us was required to lead the oath for the entire school. I think the way they picked the student was by section/class and students' last names in alphabetical order, but you wouldn't really know or care, so your teacher will just tell you right at that minute that it's your turn. If you were tapped on the shoulder, you would be directed to go to the Principal's office because that's where the microphone was. The oath itself was typed on a piece of paper and taped on the wall so you literally just had to read it. The Vice Principal would even point to the line while you are reading it so you wouldn't get lost. However, just imagine a high school kid who had never led anything before and would then suddenly hear his loud voice over the PA system for the first ti…


On days when I have time to think about it, I always ask the question, "Is it worth the hassle?".

To create a classical guitar music video:

1. Select a piece - 30 minutes
2. Study it - 8 hours
3. Practice it -  40 hours
4. Record it 25 times or until you are satisfied - 16 hours
5. Edit the audio/video to pretty it up - 2 hours
6. Upload and share in social media - 1 hour

Then wait for people's month later....

3 dislikes
1 share

Whereas if you post...

1. Stupid or brain-dead scenes of you making a fool of yourself - 99% effective
2. Other people's viral videos - stealing is easier and yet they call themselves content creators
3. Videos showing some flesh while dancing or playing a musical instrument - sex sells!!!
4. Pet videos - doesn't matter which animal
5. Reaction videos - why??? what for???
6. Gaming videos - really???
7. Travel blogs - by foreigners who know squat about the Philippines, but act like they do!!!
8. Top 10, Top 5, …

It's The Guitar, Stupid!

Why does my playing stink? It's the guitar, right? Right? Wrong. Playing well (or bad) is the result of many factors, but the guitar almost always gets blamed if the performance doesn't go well. When the guitar is deemed "at-fault", it is used as an excuse to buy a new one to feed one's GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome). 

That being said, someday I hope to be retired (or win the lottery, whichever comes first) and be able to afford the best guitar money can buy. I believe that a good guitar enables better technique and musicianship. However, if you are one of those people who are buying a guitar for the first time or haven't picked up a guitar in a very long time, do not buy a Ferrari if you'll only use it to commute to work. In short, the quality of guitar you choose to own should just be enough to serve your desired goals and skill level at every stage of your guitar journey. By doing so, as you practice and improve your guitar skills, you will recognize…

Magbasa muna tayo

Nung Grade 5 kami sa Pasig Catholic College, ang music teacher namin, si Tito Morales ang nagturo sa aming bumasa ng nota. Lagi niyang bitbit ang kanyang melodion at yun ang ginagamit niya para iparinig sa amin ang tono ng bawat nota. Hinihipan niya ang melodion habang tinutugtog ito kaya medyo laging kapos ang hininga niya pag nagsasalita. Isa sa mga exams namin ay kantahin ang mga nota na nakasulat sa manila paper at dinikit sa blackboard. Excited ako kasi parang natural lang sa ken ang magbasa at kumanta. Nung araw ng exam ay dala-dalawa kaming pinatayo at pinakanta sa harapan. Sa tingin ko ay ayos naman ang pagkakakanta ko ng piyesa. Kaso nung makaupo na kami, sinabi sa ken ni Mr. Morales na hindi raw ako kumanta at yung kasama ko lang daw ang narinig niya. Halos binagsak niya ako sa exam. Laking gulat ko kasi iba and inaasahan kong marinig sa kanya. Sa totoo lang, yung kasabay ko ang hindi nagbubuka masyado ng bibig o wala sa tono kung kumanta. Naisahan ako! Sa sobrang inis ko e …

How to train your brain

Back when we were in 6th Grade at Pasig Catholic College (PCC), our Science teacher Ms. Lara used to lug around these loose blackboards from one classroom to another. Listed in them are the topics or pointers for our Science class that she had filtered from the reference books. We would spend most of the 45-minute period copying them in our notebooks and we were also expected to memorize them. Afterwards, she would conduct an oral exam where she would randomly call each one of us to answer her questions. If we could not provide the right answer, we were to remain standing. We were young kids and our inherent fear of not being able to answer the questions became self-fulfilling. By the end of the period, everyone was standing. 
What I just described is the typical method of instruction that Filipinos undergo while in school. It is widely assumed that this impedes creativity and prevents kids from learning because they cannot question the data and/or challenge the status quo. Whatever th…

Level Up

A seasoned classical guitarist once told me that at a certain point in my guitar self-studies, I should stop referring to myself as a "classical guitar player" and start letting people know that I'm a "classical guitarist". It took me a while to comprehend it because the play on wordings are subtle and yet the implications are potentially huge. It's the difference between a DIY dad who can (read: barely knows how to) use power tools to fix a fence and a licensed contractor who can construct a house with the same power tools because he knows how it's done.

In very simple terms, a classical guitar player is someone who plays music on a classical guitar. That music can be a mix of classical music or other types of genre (jazz, alternative, rock,etc.). On the other hand, a classical guitarist specializes in the classics and uses the classical guitar as a medium for expressing the music. Still don't get it or don't agree? You're not alone.

While I …

Stages of learning and playing music

Like anything that we care for in life, music that we study should be nurtured and given the time and effort necessary to bring out its message and beauty for people to appreciate. When I choose a piece, I often try to learn as much about it and its composer as I possibly can. Any background information helps me understand the context of the music and how I should play it. This process can be quick (mostly for lack of info) or occur all throughout the time I'm studying the piece. At the same time, I go through what I call "stages" of playing which is pretty much a measure of how well I know the piece and how good I can play it. There is not a cut-and-dried criteria for judging where one stage ends and the other begins, but I tried to define what generally happens in each one. This is all from my personal experience and not based on any intense scientific study. 

1. Analytical - I slowly read the score while having a cup of coffee; no guitar in hand. At this stage, I try t…