IT IS a privilege to have met a lady from the field of music whose name precedes her. That lady is Ms. Carmencita “Chit” Guanzon Arambulo and her contribution to the world of music in the Philippines is of gigantic proportions.
It is from Atty. Emmanuel and Joy Peña that I heard so much about Ms. Arambulo, who they fondly address as Teacher Chit. Little did I know that one day, I would actually meet this very accomplished musician and teacher to a long line of today’s accomplished and recognized instrumentalists.
According to Teacher Chit, every child can learn.
“More than fifty years ago, Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother-tongue approach. The ideas of parent responsibility, loving encouragement, constant repetition, etc., are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach.
“As when a child learns to talk, parents are involved in the musical learning of their child. They attend lessons with the child and serve as “home teachers” during the week. One parent often learns to play before the child, so that s/he understands what the child is expected to do. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.
“The early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to music should begin at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four, but it is never too late to begin.
“Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Listening to music every day is important, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the child knows them immediately.
“Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument. Children do not learn a word or piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.
“As with language, the child’s effort to learn an instrument should be met with sincere praise and encouragement. Each child learns at his/her own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered. Children are also encouraged to support each other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.
“In addition to private lessons, children participate in regular group lessons and performance at which they learn from and are motivated by each other.
“Children do not practice exercises to learn to talk, but use language for its natural purpose of communication and self-expression. Pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are designed to present technical problems to be learned in the context of the music rather than through dry technical exercises.
“Children learn to read after their ability to talk has been well established. in the same way, children should develop basic technical competence on their instruments before being taught to read music”.
If I could turn the hands of time, if somehow I could be a child once more, it would be my wish to also take up music lessons from Chit Arambulo using her Suzuki method.
In the 50’s my mother bought me a piano and got a very able teacher in the person of Inday Gonzales Sempio. Unfortunately, I did not pursue that opportunity open to me. “Sayang” indeed regrets come later in life.
But now, all is not lost and gone. I have the pleasure of sitting back to listen to many beautiful children playing music that never seem to stop.
With Ms. Arambulo, music will go on and on…..and playing a last note will never be possible!
Soon to be staged by the MMCO on October 22, 2016 at the Francisco Santiago Hall is “A Night of Passion,” featuring some of the best works of world Masters Giovanni Benedetto Platti, Frederic Chopin, and Franz Liszt, with Abelardo Galang II, a stellar concert pianist based in Berlin. Galang is a full-time artist-educator who concertizes throughout Europe, extensively in Germany, in the Middle East, Japan, and in the Philippines. He is a member of the academe in Berlin where he teaches students in masteral and doctorate studies in music, and in the Philippines he is a Consultant to the Philippine Women’s University College of Music.
talking of music and musicians. “A Night of Passion” is presented by the Metro Manila Concert Orchestra, BDO Unibank, Inc., the AY Foundation, Inc., and Via Mare for the benefit of the Street Children of Payatas, in coordination with Soroptimist International of Makati, in celebration of the MMCO 15th Crystal Anniversary.
For inquiries, please call MMCO: Tels. 216-6487, 727-1657, Mobile: 0917-5335747, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Francisco Santiago Hall is located at the BDO South Tower Corporate Center, Makati Avenue.