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Teen Discovers the Universal Language of Music

Chords 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 thing 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. The 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.

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.