WBU-AP Otsuki Award
“Music - A Challenging Battlefield”
Philippines Lucita R. Manarpaac(23/Female)

photo: Lucita R. Manarpaac 

Sound - it is one of the factors that makes the World lively and beautiful!Indeed, It encompasses every activity around us - The ring of a telephone, the roar of a car, the whistle of a policeman, the cry of a baby!Sounds serves as a channel for us to express our feelings.
In fact, people with visual impairment are very much dependent on Sound through their sense of hearing.Witht the help of Sound they can identify people or the things around them and this enables them to live a normal life.This may be the reason why many of those with visual impairment are inclined to Music and they love to sing or play a musical instrument.Hence, many visually impaired persons aspire to be Musicians even though this may mean facing tough challenges and much discouragement.
In aspiring to be a Musician despite my visual impairment, I have had to face the financial challenge.The schools offering Music Courses charged very expensive tuition fees which I could not afford to pay.However, this did not deter me from making applications to various sources which eventually paid off. I was offered a scholarship to pursue my Music Career.
Another challenge that I often encountered was the reading of a Musical piece.Whenever I was asked to study a particular piece, I had to rely on a sighted person to read out the notes as no Braille Music Notation was available in the Philippines.Besides possessing the ability to read, identify or describe the musical symbols and show how they are used in the piece, the sighted assistant had to be very patient and committed.For the long musical pieces, in particular, the visually impaired person could not afford to make mistakes or she would be forced to skip the piece in the examination.
Competing against persons with normal vision was another huge and rocky challenge I had to face.Even though sighted people were aware of the fact that visually impaired persons could sing or play a musical instrument, they still had the perception that lots of limitations prevented us from doing many things.
Thus, I faced discrimination in the Music Industry.They would not give me the chance to prove my capabilities and favoured those with normal vision instead.I felt deprived of the right to be treated equally as persons with normal vision.This lowered my self-esteem and filled me with great discouragement.
Fortunately, this threw me into a state of reflection and I thought deeply about the possible solutions to my problem.Firstly, I knew that I could not be a quitter in spite of my visual impairment.I had to persevere and be determined as a soldier in battle if I were to succeed.
I decided that I had to look upon my competitors in a new light - rather than being a hindrance, they were actually a source of inspiration for me to excel in aspiring to attain my goals.I had to look on the brighter side of life;I had to turn every discrimination that came at me like an arrow and render it harmless while at the same time yielding something that was good and positive.Not only was I like a soldier in quest of victory but I was also like a pilgrim journeying towards the achievement and fulfilment of my life.
In the final analysis, I always had to be open to opportunities and find whatever means possible to enhance my Musical skills.This would be the only guarantee for me ultimately to gain a favourable spot in the Musical Industry.
The study of Music is like going into a battle - it seems very easy at the start but It becomes increasingly harder as the struggle progresses.But you must let your strong passion spur you on to remain steadfast in pursuing your goals instead of escaping from the battlefield.Once you have proved that you are a capable Musician, you will be able to transform the attitude and perspective of society from negative to positive.
Certainly, learning Music can be a very tough and long battle.Nevertheless, your persistence and true endeavours will definitely see you through to the end and bring you victory at last in the battlefield of life.

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