Author  DRBU Staff

Alex Valdes BA ’24

Alex with piano

“When words leave off, music begins.” – Heinrich Heine

Xuan Ooi TC ’21

My musical offering for this month is my cover of “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles, which I showcased when I graduated from my Master’s degree at DRBU back in June 2020. It’s a sweet song that used to play on a music box in a shop that my family and I used to frequent when I was younger. It’s a song of hope, but it’s also just really fun to sing and jam out to with other people.

I have played other instruments before when I was younger, violin and piano, but there always seemed to be a mental block, especially since I never became proficient in reading musical notes. I find it to be completely different with the ukulele. I’m not sure that I have a musical process, but I always turn to songs I enjoy. I’ll look up a song’s lyrics and ukulele chords and play it through once and jot down and adjust the chords to what sounds right to me. I’m still more or less a beginner, so each new song I learn is a new challenge, whether it be more advanced chords or trying out fingerstyle playing. Enjoy!

Ken Cannata BA ’09 & MA ’18

guqin and incense

Ever since learning the chinese character for joy and music were the same, 樂, something awoke within me.  Music returns harmony, it is truth in tone.  You can’t fake your presence, skill, inspiration – it is all in the sound you make.  Like a text, it is a mirror from which there is nowhere to hide, and yet it is a window into untold wonder and possibilities.  After having a year of lessons with a classical Guqin teacher at DRBU we really got into the heart of music as a way to reveal inspired structures, or “divine mathematics” as integrated with our subjective character cultivation.  History comes to life through music, and we get the wonderful privilege of being witnesses to past masterful humans through song. We even put ourselves on the stage, as possible makers of mastery, but only if we rise above and beyond our current state of skill and self – transcending and including the magnificence of the past into our “edge of the universe” creative expressions.

There is a secret to excel in playing the guqin.

Pluck not intensively, but from your heart.

Although technique is secondary, it helps to express your true self.

If we are natural, we make fine sound.

If we have an open mind, our sound will be mellow.

If we have right attitudes toward life, our music will be acceptable to everyone.

Take care of your sound as you would care for yourself.

by Masayuki Koga