On August 24, 1994, the day that I was born, is where my story begins. Since I can’t remember my early years when my mother was breastfeeding me or when I took my first step or when I uttered my first word, let’s jump to the time when I was nine, where I learned how to value time. The time where things were so slow, fun and exciting. The time where dreams were formed and acknowledged. Also, It was the first time I held a guitar. I remember it just like yesterday. It was my tito Omar’s guitar. It was a black coated lumanog acoustic guitar. In that time, I didn’t know how to play it but when I strummed randomly, without even minding the time signature, I realized that music was calling me in a way where I would formulate melodic tunes inside my head that only I can hear and couldn’t express it out.
It was a warm summer evening, not minding what time it was or if we already ate, me with Aya—my electric guitar—and my father with Aico—his acoustic guitar—were jamming, exchanging pentatonic scale based leads, singing, trying to play all the songs in his music book, in our living room.
“Gregory House, M.D.” (played by Hugh Laurie) a recently famous series that we watch together. In one of the episodes, Dr. James Wilson (played by Robert Sean Leonard)–House’s best friend, kidnapped his guitar, my father always jokes and says the dialogue of the two in every jamming sessions we had.
The joke went like this:
House: “Where is she?”
Wilson: “So, IT is a she?”
House: “Of course it’s a she. Would you caress a neck of a dude?”
Because of this, I named my guitar “Aya” my favorite girl anime character.
Ever since I was little, I could remember hearing different songs with different genres every day and still even today. From Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” to Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold as love.” I was able to adapt to my father’s ear in music. Being open-minded not just in the different genres of music but also in real-life applications.
From then on, I was determined to learn more about music and playing guitar.
My father used to be a folk singer. He got a lot of gigs, from performing in bars to singing at weddings. He was one of the best folk singers here in CdeO. Knowing this, I did not hesitated to take the opportunity and asked him if he could teach me.
He asked me “unsa imung gusto El, makabalo lang ka ug gitar o gusto ka na makabalo jud ka ug ayo?” (What do you want El, do you want to learn just a little about playing a guitar or you want to master it?) I answered him that “pa, gusto ko na pareha sa imu ka maayo.” (pa, I want to be as good as you.) He smiled and told me to get his guitar. I was very excited to learn how to play guitar because I wanted to be as good as him.
Before anything else, we must start with the basics.” he said.
The instrumental guitar piece “Forbidden games” by Eva Vivar and a chromatic scale from F until my fingers reached the higher octave note of it and then do it backwards were the first lessons that he taught me. The piece was for developing my timing and for maintaining a concise inner metronome and the scale was for my fingers to be calloused enough for me to make sweet and clear notes with less tension on my fingers.
Practicing every morning before I prepare for school and every night before I sleep, my fingers ached for weeks. “Before you taste sweetness, you must suffer in bitterness,” he said.
Convinced that I perfected his training, I asked him for futher lessons but he would just watch me do what he taught me and then say “kulang pa na El, balik-balika lang na hangtud mahasa na ka ana, pa tan-awa dayun ko pagkuha na kaayo nimu, haya pa dayun taka tudlu-an ug chords ug uban pa.” (It’s not enough El, just keep on continuing until you mastered it fully and then let me see you play it then I would teach you the other chords.)
I was very excited and I admit that I got bored by doing the lessons over and over again that I did not follow his instructions and jumped into learning through songhits with illustrated basic chords in the last page.
I never knew at that time why he wanted me to practice those boring lessons but after he discovered that I disobeyed him, he said that he was just trying to test my patience.
Patience, other than musical lessons, is one of the virtues that I gained from his teachings.
After that, he stopped giving me lessons and let me explore music on my own.
Music, eversince I began to develop my sense of hearing, has been the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
My father, Cong B. Corrales, taught me how to play and further encouraged me to dig deeper into my inner music. It is in every moment that when I jam with him, I really hear music.
Now, half of my life is music. I can’t say that I mastered the guitar but now, I know how to play it and express what I feel through music.
As a Development Communication student, I want to use my music as a form of communication for the progress of out nation.
I know it will take years or even impossible for me to surpass your level of playing music Pa but from now on, every note that is coming out of my guitar is for you and I just want to tell you that I consider you as my hero for giving me this oppurtunity to know, learn and love the “bridge between heaven and earth”—music.