By: Francis Lloyd Sauza
Photos by: Rofel John Parreño
WE’RE ALL here on this earth for a reason. Some of us know when we are young what we want to become, and some of us may need more time to discover themselves.
Just like the case of the 36-year old Ilonggo pianist and the Regional Marketing Manager of Robinsons Malls for Panay and Eastern Visayas, Rofel John Parreño. For him, he would not be where he is today if not for the love, friendship, and support of his amazing mother. “Looking back, I am now forever grateful for the guidance of my mom. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have any talent to share to the world.”
His mother has always believed in him even when he didn’t believe in himself. That sense of belief in him has given him so much courage to chase and live out his dreams. His mom has taught him how to spend his days wisely, and to focus on what matters. He realized that he’s extremely fortunate and blessed to have such an amazing mom.
“It was actually my mom who forced me to play the piano. Yes, forced is the most apt term since I don’t want to play the piano, anyway. Imagine an eight year-old boy being nagged to practice piano! My playtime with friends has been shortened because my mom would see to it that I practice at least two hours a day. If Facebook would have been present during that time, I would like to imagine filling your feeds with ranting. That’s how I abhor those moments. Talking about the frustration of parents being handed down to their kids! But I’ve got no choice but just to face the music. From there till I reach my early high school, that rehearsal routine continued. When other kids perform on top of the table to sing when house visitors come, my mom’s version is to let me play the piano. Along that time also, I play in church as a soloist or accompanist. So, basically, if I’m just in Iloilo, I have free concerts every Saturday in our church (Jaro Adventist Center). I don’t have regular gigs. I’d rather go home straight after a long day’s work and read my favorite book. [And] my weekends are usually spent at church and with my loved ones. But if my time allows, I do accept invitations to play in some occasions. Maybe this generation’s parents can learn lessons from what my mom did. The world now has many distractions, and a strong-willed mom might be helpful for a child to have focus on a certain craft or skill, whether it be in music, arts, sports, etc.”
CHERISH YOUR VISIONS AND DREAMS
Ever since he was little, Rofel John knew he wanted to sing and perform. What he know now that he didn’t fully understand as a child was that the visions and dreams he began having at such a young age were paving the way not only for his success, but more importantly, for his happiness. He’s so thankful that he listened to those feelings, dreams, and visions at such a young age.
“I enhanced my musicality when I joined singing contests during my high school and college years. Yes, I also sing and I think that’s also one of the reasons why I am also passionate when I play the piano. Most people would notice that, and I agree. There seems to be an advantage when you’re an instrumentalist and a singer at the same time because you get to empathize and be sensitive on the nuances of both parties. In my younger years, I had been a finalist of MTV Philippines VJ Hunt and got shortlisted to Pinoy Dream Academy (Season 1). This explains why I just feel so comfy on stage. Piano-playing introduced me also to my girlfriend as she is also a pianist. We usually play duets and cliche as this will sound but we definitely make good music together.”
No matter how old you are it’s never too late to live the life you have always dreamed of.
EXCELLENCE THEN IS NOT AN ACT BUT A HABIT
Anything you want to be wonderful at requires patience and practice. It’s as simple as brushing our teeth, which we hardly think about because we do it three times a day. By repeatedly doing a healthy habit we make it a regular part of our routine. For Rofel John, when you strive every day to be better, eventually you will be. “From the start, you should just be determined that you will become the best pianist [or musician] that you can be. Make sure you want to be one and that you will love what you are about to do. Be ready to give your best, your effort, your all. A pianist should really be disciplined. Being disciplined encompasses all. Disciplined to devote a time to rehearse, disciplined to perform correctly and perfectly [even the posture and fingers are of equal important], disciplined to involve the heart on the song he’s playing. And having piano at home is also helpful. As this will hasten your learning especially as you practice perfectly constantly.”
Just like Rofel John, figure out what is good for you and make it a habit. It’s good to have healthy habits; the more you have, the better you will become.
WHEREVER YOU GO, GO WITH ALL YOU HEART
If we all act on things we are passionate about, we have a stronger chance to achieve our goals. Just like what Rofel John does. “I put my heart in all songs I play, no matter what it is. My style is a mix of classical and pop. Yet I’m always open to explore genres that I haven’t played yet. But there has to be musical piece ready. I’m a strict sight-reader and I rely mostly in pieces. Give one to me and I can play no matter how hard it is. I don’t play ouido (play by ear), but my full admiration goes to those who can.”
Our world needs more people who lead with their hearts like Rofel John. As long as we let our hearts lead us we will always make honest and authentic choices that we can stand by.
FIND THE BALANCE
Creativity is so much more than just producing art. It also allows you to purge toxic emotions and thoughts in a positive, healthy way. For Rofel John, it’s singing and playing music. When he perform, he’s able to express his emotions without engaging in self-destructive behaviors. “Making music through playing the piano or singing is always a good outlet for creativity and stress-buster from a day’s work. Along with my physical exercise (going to the gym, swimming, yoga) this is also one of my therapies to keep my mind sane!”
Just like Rofel John, find a hobby that allows you to release strong emotions in a healthy way.
YOU ARE HERE FOR A REASON. USE YOUR GIFTS.
For Rofel John, each of us is born with our own inherent power to accomplish extraordinary things in life. That whatever gifts you’ve been blessed with, use them to make the world a better place. “You need to use your talent for the greater glory of God. Remember, this talent, [all talents] is a gift. We have the responsibility to share this and to give credit to the Giver.”
It can feel very scary sometimes when you realize what you are capable of in this world. They say with great power comes great responsibility, so own your responsibility to do something wonderful with your life – cherist it. Use what you have, your resources, to do something meaningful today.
Like the writer on Facebook.com/FrancisLloydSauza