Musings that do not fall on specific categories :)

#MusicMusings – Beginning my formal guitar lesson, being in a band

Why play the guitar and jam with a band?

Like most of my friends, I learned how to play the guitar in an informal manner. My first guitar “teachers” were chord charts, music websites, YouTube artists, friends, and one of my female cousins.  It is a good hobby to take up – it helps connect with people, build relationships, an help someone be more in touch with his more creative side.

Music, particularly from OPM bands (Original Pinoy Music), was a significant part of my high school days. Although it was a time when the all-time famous Eraserheads already broke up, many bands started emerging (or re-emerging) – filling the airwaves. We watched Myx and tried to play songs from Hale, Mayonnaise, Sponge Cola, Bamboo, Sugarfree and Bamboo to name a few – sprinkled with Eheads, Rivermaya, and Parokya ni Edgar.  It was a good age to be if you’re a fan of the OPM brand of alternative rock.

Back then, I was contented to be able to play chords and strum along with the music I listen to. Jamming along the hallway or inside the classroom – that was a big piece of music embedded in my sweet teen years. I remember vividly the joy I felt when I was able to learn my first song – Rivermaya’s Kisapmata!  Down, down, up, up, down.  D – Em – A -G. Rinse, repeat.  “O kay bilis naman maglaho ng pag-ibig mo sinta!”  Lyrics and music apt for a teenage boy just discovering what it means to love.

As part of the student council organization in my high school, we were in charge of spearheading band festivals, concert parties, and competitions.  Since I was part of the organizers and I was a beginner guitarist back then, I never participated in one (Well, except one, in Baguio.  We won something in that competition, but let’s just say some things are better left unsaid! Haha!).

Fast forward to today, I am fortunate to have good opportunities to play music. With my girlfriend, Mika, we play cover instrumentals of songs.  One of our covers, Up Dharma Down’s Tadhana, fortunately was well-received. Although not as popular as other videos, we are proud to get 9000 views with 100 likes at YouTube!

 

Also, to satisfy our more “rock”-y cravings, I’m playing with a band mostly composed of my high school friends.  I’m excited that we are now doing sessions with a female vocalist who can sing some Paramore and female-voiced OPM songs.  Hopefully in the not-so-long future, we can post covers or compositions via Soundcloud or YouTube.

However, we must acknowledge that we still have ways to go – improving our musical senses, building chemistry and letting it show with the way we are synchronized during our rehearsals.

Little by little, I realize that what was once a hobby is now becoming a more vital chunk of my life.  Hence, like how I took basketball seriously during my high school years, I think it is only fitting that I honor music better by studying it in a more formal sense.

That’s why I enrolled under the Yamaha School of Music (or Yupangco Music Academy), which is fortunately near my house!  Upon recommendation of a well-respected jazz-musician friend and the teacher there (who, admirably, studied at the UST Conservatory of Music with jazz background), I took up Electric Guitar lessons versus the Classical Guitar course.  Although it costs quite a bit, I treat it as an investment.  Hopefully I can incorporate my learnings in covers of songs or compositions!

I had my first lesson yesterday, and I had a great time appreciating the theory behind my intuitive feel of music back then.  Getting to know chords and notes better, appreciating scales, and just grasping the beauty of music as an amalgamation of science and art, yet flexible enough to make it one’s personal burst of expression.

Playing music is fun – with every chord strummed or strings plucked, with lyrics written and sang, it provides a liberating experience that is similar or even greater than the itch to scratch one’s creative expression.  But now, instead of treating it as a hobby, I think I should pay closer attention to the process.

If I should choose one learning from Kobe Bryant, it is the appreciation of the process.  I want to apply this to learning music.

No shortcuts.

Impatience not for the reward, but impatience to constantly improve one’s self.

Working for a reward.

And should it be possible, even if just a microcosm, hopefully I can enjoy my music journey the same way Kobe enjoyed his last game.

The dribble and the beat of music synchronizing with heartbeats – feeling more alive.

The pass and assists or taking music rests to let others put imprint in the songs and life we experience.

The swish of the net or the sweet note played – savoring the indescribable eargasmic feeling it provides.

And finally, diving for the loose ball- amidst mistakes or playing wrong notes and chords, having the tenacity to recover and play the game of basketball and music, the way it’s supposed to be played.

The mind appreciating the intricacies and complexities.  The heart appreciating the elegance in simplicity and the emotions roaring to be released.  The soul eager to transcend worldly and heavenly existence, even for just a split second.

Picture courtesy of www.reverb.com – Epiphone ES-339 P90 Pro

4 lessons in pursuing my version of CSR—a Career of Sustainability and Responsibility

I have been fortunate to have the opportunity in trying many things in terms of internships and jobs, spanning from my college years up to this day where I am finishing my Master in Business Administration degree.  I have tried working for multinational companies, nonprofit organizations, a startup, and currently as a member of the higher education academic community.

 

Viewed in the traditional perspective, this smorgasbord of experiences may raise red flags from seasoned HR practitioners.  They might say this is typical Gen Y or Millienial mentality—fickle, selfish, and to some extent disloyal to an organization.  However, the overarching theme emerging from these career decisions revolve around picking the best aspects of each stint and reconciling them with my goal of living a holistic career, imbued with money, mission, and passion harmonizing with the way I think life should be lived.  I believe that the key to living a career featuring sustainability and responsibility is how a person is able to reconcile these aspects with minimal tradeoffs.  Below are four initial lessons or reflections I would like to share.

 

Point 1: Desire for flexibility

 

I acknowledge that I do not have the most concrete ideas on what the ideal “CSR” career will look like.  Hence, I have this great desire for flexibility that allows for inflection points and shaping my vision as it emerges.

 

This is what I found challenging in highly structured organizations with concrete goals and visions, usually prevalent in multinational corporations.  There are set goals to be met – quotas, number of projects, maintaining clients, etc.  Your performance and rewards are basically measured by how well you execute these mandated goals, and if one executes and even exceeds these targets, usually big rewards await.

 

However, the flipside is critical: one must be fully dedicated to the company goals or else he cannot maximize his productivity and will be stuck in a conundrum of always second guessing one’s self.  Ideally, one’s personal vision should be tightly aligned with the company goals.  If one should pursue a CSR career in highly structured organizations, it is vital to integrate your personal CSR goals with the company’s mechanisms.

 

In my personal experience, this is hard.  A corporate career with great personal flexibility is like capturing a lightning in a bottle.  It will take tremendous alignment between your immediate stakeholders to make things work.  Hence, I found it beneficial for me right now to work in an organization that allows me to be a kind of “intrapreneur”—leveraging resources of the organization while aligning it with my personal and emerging visions of what an ideal personal CSR could be.

 

Point 2: Maximizing opportunities

 

The environment or context we live in is very dynamic and eternally changing in a very fast pace.  As a result of this, I think gone are the days where personal and organizational visions should be fixed; rather, they must be agile enough to maximize whatever opportunities may arise along the way.

 

Since personal CSR is somewhat relative and can be changed, it is vital for person to somewhat design his life that exposes him to many opportunities that allow for tinkering money, mission, and passion.  In my personal experience, after I attained my undergraduate degree, I was fixated on being very deliberate with my choices.  A leads to B leads to C leads to D. I failed to recognize that truly, only change is constant, and the happenings in my surroundings will undoubtedly influence my options.

 

Hence, I am now biased for positions and roles which allow many kinds of opportunities arising.  I am still not very comfortable with uncertainty, but I take peace in the fact that with uncertainty comes opportunity—steps that allow for better designing of a career that truly reconciles money, mission, and passion.

 

Point 3: Sticking to my key strengths

 

The challenge in trying many things is the danger of confusing one’s self in terms of answering the question: “Where am I good at?  What do I want to be known as great at?”  I have tried managing an organization’s social media, executing marketing activations, implementing various projects and events, designing paraphernalia, and improving operations and processes.  The fear was real – I did not want to be a jack of all trades, master of none.  At best, I wanted to be a jack of all trades, master of one or even some (because mastering everything is difficult, if not impossible).

 

And that pursuit of mastery of one, for me, turned to be writing.  Sometimes creative writing, in forms of simple songs, poetry, and blogging; sometimes technical writing, in forms of documents, formal letters, and scholarly research articles.  I wished to be competent in many areas concerning management of organizations, but I know that I am in my element when my activities involve writing.  I am not yet the best creative or technical writer I could be; and that is okay.  I will continue to grow and I can confidently improve because I know what my key strength is.

 

For this, I am grateful for my high school English mentor and my current research mentors.  Through them, I was able to affirm something that I know I have the potential at, and this allows me to frame sustainability and social responsibility in terms of my key strength.

 

 

Point 4: Staying loyal to my personal values and purpose – “personal legend”

 

Currently, what I really value is the ability to reconcile idealism and being practical, mission and money, dreams of what could be grounded on what can really be.  It seems that in all my previous stints in various organizations, I always challenge myself to think in terms of proving idealism need not be mere naivete, rather, it allows for ideas that help us make reality a much better place to live in.

 

Have I crafted already that ideal career that integrates money and mission, sustainability and social responsibility?  Not yet.  I dare say I am still far from it.  That is where faith comes in – a belief that every struggle is every knock that persistently opens that door.  “Knock and the door will be opened.”  And by all means, let us knock hard, bang hard, because the career we desire will not be given; it shall be earned.  And though God loves us, He will not open the doors just because He pities us.  He knows we deserve better than that.

 

We will knock.  We will shout.  Once He deems us as deserving, then the door will be opened to us.

As the Words Summon the Writer (Again)

After a year-long hiatus from writing stuff on the internet through a personal blog, I’m reviving my WordPress site.  I tried managing a more personalized site (www.patchaure.com), but the administrative backend demands and my previous projects prevented me from properly managing it.  I’m planning to recover some posts I wrote when I was a part-time lecturer for DLSU and post it here again.

To “re-launch” my site, which I think is now leaner and more cost-friendly (no more hosting fees yey!), I’m unveiling my personal logo… or emblem?  Or symbol?

Patch Aure's Blog

 

This was inspired by one of my favorite diagrams – the Venn Diagram.  For DLSU RVR College of Business students, this inspiration is familiar as the college’s logo also features a more minimalist Venn Diagram.  The diagram for me represents many things that I wanted to reconcile: idealism and being practical; mind and heart; what is and what could be; money and mission.

For readers of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, you may be familiar with the ambigram. This logo aspires to be a good ambigram.  (If you’re not familiar, better do a quick Google Search and I kid you not, you will be fascinated!)

And with this, I’m back.  I can’t promise to constantly write at a regular rate, nor can I offer a consistent niche which according to blog gurus is essential to running a good blog.  Right now, I find advertising on my site counterproductive (aside from default WordPress.com ads) because I don’t have big traffic and I don’t have “keywords” for it.

Instead, by going back to the basics, I’ll be focused more on what blogging is supposed to be all about: writing.

Hence, I offer miniscule yet evolving personal bits in this infinitely growing world of bytes.  To the few who will stumble upon the words I write, consider yourself (un)lucky to get a front row seat of my thoughts and ideas of what is and what could be – expressed through words, and sometimes (while trying hard!) through music and songs.

The words have summoned me, and here I am again.

 

 

On Fire – My Basketball Perspective

Swish.

Bank.

Fake, up and under.

Post fadeaway.

Unstoppable.

Every serious basketball player, be it in the streets, in the amateur league, and especially the professional league, has experienced being dominant in the court. Spectators have many terms – being on fire, being in the zone, red hot, shooting streak, etc.

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I’m Not Pine, Thank You, How About You?

For context, please visit this article: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/04/10/12/felling-trees-sm-baguio-sparks-online-wrath

At what lengths should profit maximization be pursued?  Is our current model of capitalism so distorted that one must indulge into great ruthless lengths just to succeed?  Do we need to murder trees, against the will of the community, to transform it to a measly parking lot?

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The Saviour of the Universe

The saviour of the universe.

I can still remember those days – imitating the strongest Kamehameha to defeat an evil villain. That time, if you’re a DBZ fan, Gohan was having a hard time defeating Cell while Goku is coaching him from the afterworld.

Those scenes for me describe what “epic” meant.

Fast forward to this present time. I realized that my dominant idealistic roots came from watching anime that feature good vs evil. Perhaps playing RPGs contribute to them. I fell in love with the story of the underdog good beating the overwhelming evil.

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The Accelerators of Growth

The world is a long journey towards perfection.

This is why I believe people innately pursues growth and learning. This is why there is a theory on evolution – living entities will find ways to grow and evolve.

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The Confessions of a Writer

I do not like IQ tests. I do not like puzzles. But ironically, I love to think.

Too much sometimes, that I tend to overthink or overanalyze things. And since thoughts trigger emotions, my thirst for thinking results in various bursts of my emotions. Then from emotions comes the need for creative expression.

This is why I write. The pen and paper, or the keyboards and monitor, are my symbolic brush and canvass by which I am able to paint the thoughts inside my head.

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Dreams and Teams

Which comes first: the dream or the team?

This question is like your chicken-egg – there is no absolute answer as to which comes first. But here’s my take regarding this no-beginning-no-end type of question.

The vision comes first. The vision is the catalyst that unites like-minded individuals into performing something greater than themselves. The destination stimulates the journey; and thus the vision is important so that the team has a common goal.

After all, what is a team without the common goal?

But then here comes a more important question. Which should be the FOCUS: the dream or the team?

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Idealistic to a Fault

My favorite band, Bamboo (now disbanded), once sang:

War of hearts and minds

Who will pay the price?

Does anybody care?

For me, the war of hearts and minds is simply the war between being too idealistic (heart) and being too pragmatic (mind). Most likely, people will choose to be practical and realistic. After all, what is ideal in: a corrupt system of governance; a former president having amazingly timely surgeries; a business setting where profit maximization is king; and a world having degenerating morals?

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