A quote by Louis L’Amour, an American writer of the 20th century came to mind as I reminisce my fun and worthwhile summer adventure. “Some say opportunity knocks only once, that is not true. Opportunity knocks all the time, but you have to be ready for it. If the chance comes, you must have the equipment to take advantage of it.” This quotation teaches us that our talents and abilities should go hand – in – hand with every opportunity that comes our way. During the summer, my mom and I went to Binondo to visit the Center for Pop Music Philippines because it was said to be an institution that shaped a lot of great and talented Filipino artists. It was only then when we went to see the place that I discovered that not only singing lessons were offered in the center but also training on different musical instruments. The Center for Pop also told and emphasized that it is the place where stars are born. That line of theirs really caught my attention and stimulated my interest and curiosity of finding out if it really is the birthplace of “stars”.
My mom was certainly convinced that she would enroll me there to have my singing lessons given the fact that I, too, was interested to study and learn the basics of singing and performance. Ever since I was a small boy, my mom would tell me that she would make me enroll in voice lessons so I can discover my hidden talent in singing. I was very young and scared back then hence I did not grab my mom’s offer. My mom did not stop there. She tirelessly repeated the offer every summer and she gets a “NO” answer every time. Now the same deal was given to me by my mom, but this time the scary feelings turned into excitement – a feeling that can only be substantiated if only I would give it a try. My journey towards the Center for Pop Music Philippines – “Where a star is born” did not start only upon arrival but as soon as I set foot on the ground just outside our home. I knew that my travel will be a long and tiring one but I was pretty sure it is worth it.
I rode the jeep going to Tayuman – the same jeep I have to ride to go to UST. After I reach Tayuman, I strolled to the next place where I would have another jeep ride but this time going to Sta. Cruz. As I waited to alight from the jeep, I entertained myself by looking at people walking, waiting and eating along the streets. There, I saw children trying to find something to eat from the garbage, children wearing nothing but mud on their bodies and children crying reflecting the face of poverty. Suddenly, the entertainment that I thought it was became a realization – a realization that made me thankful and contented on what I presently have. Despite the challenges that a teenager like me faces, I am fortunate that I am still capable to do and achieve what I want in my life without hindrances mostly brought about by financial issues.
Under the scorching heat of the sun, I walked from Sta. Cruz going to Binondo. I chose not to ride the jeep going to Binondo because I wanted to see the views and different establishments. As I continue walking, I began to feel my feet and legs starting to ache. Then, I came across a food vendor along the street where I decided to rest for a while and eat Lumpia and Chickenballs to fill my rumbling stomach and refresh myself with a cold and sweet melon juice. As I went closer to reaching my destination, I noticed there is Starbucks Coffee beside the Center so I bought myself a cold frap and a piece of doughnut just to ease my tension.
There I was, standing in front of the door. “There is no turning back”, I said to myself. As I enter the door, cold air added to my shivers. I had to brace myself as I met my coach and my classmates. After introducing ourselves, we went straight to sampling out our favorite musical piece, mine is “Warrior Is a Child” by Gary V. I think I was at par with my classmates.
We were taught the proper vocalization techniques, how to present ourselves on stage and the proper handling of microphone and many others. I realized that singing is talking with melody – you have to pronounce the word correctly and clearly till the last syllable. I also learned that I have to feel the song and be one with it. After each session, my coach gives individual comments and suggestions on how to improve our overall performance. Modesty aside, my coach did not have a hard time of teaching me. My knowledge in oration and declamation helped me a lot in enunciation and expression. According to my coach, I exuded confidence and dedication to the craft such is the number one thing that the center develops among the students – CONFIDENCE IN LIFE.
At the end of each session, I felt exhausted but fulfilled. When I reach home, I had to present what I learned from school but this time with my mom and dad as my audience. It was a good feeling to hear positive comments from them and the motivation that they gave, inspired me all the more. My heart jumps with joy each time I see my mom smiles and applauds after my rendition.
Here comes our practicum – a pre – concert event that showcased what we have learned from the center. This was held at Elvinarios Bar. Each student was assigned two songs – one is slow and the other is a fast song. The songs assigned to me are “Ako’y sa iyo” by First Circle and “Smooth” by Santana. It was a successful performance though I had some average points; I got excellent mark in stage performance.
Our graduation was in a form of a concert which was held on Cowboy’s Grill in Quezon City. The place was jam-packed with friends and relatives of the graduates. The graduates presented by group with varying themes. Ours is about love and relationship. The highlight of our performance is the fast song entitled “It’s Gonna Be Me” by N’Sync and choreographed by me. It was a success! We were given our diplomas as graduates. Finally, we are ready to face life with confidence.
As I look back, this experience is another milestone in my life as a teenager, something that I will always cherish. I believe that summer of 2012 was just the right time for me to respond to the “knock”. The summer of 2012 will not come back but the lesson it gave will keep coming back. I certainly agree with Louis L’Amour that opportunity will keep on knocking until you are ready to open your door and show your knack. How about you? Will you open your door when the opportunity knocks?
Courtney from Study Moose