Teen Discovers the Universal Language of Music

Chi_Music Showcase 2012 120413_227_squarecenterChords and melodies are one language that everyone can understand and appreciate.

My passions are playing guitar and drums, breakdancing, and learning and discovering new things, especially engineering.

As a lower class emigrant from Macau who came to the United States at the age of three, knowing no English, I faced a language barrier with my classmates who ceaselessly attacked me with racism. I was extremely frustrated that I could not use my voice to defend myself against the constant sneers of “Chinese boy” and mockery of my native language. I learned English quickly in order to adapt, but then it became more difficult for me to speak in Chinese.

Lost and alone in a foreign country, I certainly faced my fair share of obstacles. The only things I knew in life was my family. My only source of identity was being a “Chinese boy.” That all changed when I was 11-years-old, and I decided to have my first guitar lesson at the Music Clubhouse.

Guitar soon grew to be my first passion. I began to play it every day, at any opportunity I could find. Guitar was my escape and connection to others. In fact, playing guitar is what brought me and my best friend together. Like me, he also learned English as a second language. We bonded over this while practicing the guitar and preparing for many shows at the Music Clubhouse and at the Strand Theatre.

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Chi receives SunLife Rising Star award and college scholarship at Boston Celtics pregame ceremony. Photo by: Christopher Evans / Boston Herald

From playing guitar, I immediately learned that I love to make music. Listening to music has always been enjoyable (headphones helped me block off the rest of the world), and I learned that creating music gave me a sense of bliss. Soon after learning the guitar, I picked up the drums at the Music Clubhouse. Now, I work at the Clubhouse teaching guitar and drums to younger members. Chords and melodies are one language that everyone can understand and appreciate.

I love all of my passions because they allowed me to recreate myself. Even though I had so little to begin with, I was able to become someone I am proud of. The most important lesson for me is that one can achieve great things even when being dealt poor cards. I carry this with me every day. Through every obstacle and whatever the circumstances, I know that I will find success and happiness.