I was a naughty boy in kindergarten.

So, in my primary school, I studied hard and I made it to top 5 of the 1992 graduating class of Sta. Ana Elementary School (SAES) in Manila.

SAES days were the best part of my life.

I discovered my passion in public speaking and love for music.


Young musicians at work! Ang Tinig ng Sta. Ana is the official school paper of our school. I was the only boy at the top of the regular class and a bajo de arco player in our Rondalla group. This photo was taken during one of our performances at Sta. Ana Elementary School (SAES).

I was part of the Rondalla group in elementary. I was a bass player (bajo de arco) because of my big built.

We played during fiesta, special programs (recognition, etc.) at school and joined division-wide music workshop.

Mrs. Josefina Nolasco was our Rondalla adviser. She was a committed teacher who paved the way for younger children to appreciate music.

How do you engage children to love music?

1. Remember that every child has musical aptitude from birth. I don’t know what my mother did when I was young. Children are inherently musical. Very young children can internalize and respond to musical stimuli before they can speak or read. They can also produce sounds and music through a very important natural instrument—their voice. The voice is the ideal basis for early musical expression, so go ahead and invite children to sing out strong!

2. Introduce children to music as soon as possible, preferably before birth. The period between the ages of zero and three is critical for brain development and growth. Research tells us that musical experiences occurring in this window of time can cultivate general brain development, increase musical aptitude, and facilitate bonding. Everyone has the capacity to learn music from birth if their potential is properly nurtured, so engaging with music at a young age is essential to establishing the proper foundation for later development.

3. Engage in musical play activities. Early musical experiences should be informal in nature and occur within a supportive context. Musical play and conversation are critical to increasing musical aptitude, and young children can learn many skills and build relationships through play.
Present ideas and concepts in activities that come naturally to children. Singing, dancing, and vocalizing are enjoyable, natural interactive activities, and they strengthen relationships and encourage children to musically converse with each other and their parents.

4. Don’t set stringent expectations for performance. Establish an environment where children feel free to be themselves and take risks. You’ll be amazed at the development that occurs when children learn through play and are not pushed to be perfect. Don’t set stringent expectations for your own performance, either, which brings us to the next tip.

5. Sing with your child. You may have been told that your natural singing voice is not good enough, but don’t let that stop you from singing, as children treasure their parents’ voices above all others. When you sing with your child, you create positive, engaging musical experiences that build confidence and self-expression, in addition to encouraging your child to experiment with his or her voice. When children reach the age of 2, many parents switch from singing to reading, but it is best to do both and continue fostering a shared love of music, as well as a willingness to be creative and take risks.

6. Create musically enriched environments. Offering children early exposure to high-quality musical stimuli will encourage and enhance their development. One way to use environmental music is to set up musical cues to provide reminders and structure. For instance, slow, soft, and simple classical music could signal a transition from an energetic activity to a quiet activity requiring focus, while upbeat music could facilitate the opposite transition. In general, we recommend that you engage your children with live music, but you can also use recorded music to effectively guide transitions.

7. Use community resources to provide the best possible musical models like the Rondalla. This lays the foundation required to make children more open to different musical experiences as they grow up.