My passion for music started when I was in Grade 3 — I was 9 years old then. A campaign was held at our school asking those who were interested to join the school rondalla (a group of musicians playing instruments that have strings, i.e. banduria, octavina, laud, guitar, etc.), and I did volunteered without having any knowledge nor background in music.
Our school’s rondalla, then, was composed purely of banduria players. The banduria traces its roots from Spain, brought here in the Philippines by the conquerors somes 400 years ago. It’s like a small guitar (ukulele) but instead of having just six (06) strings, the banduria has 14 strings — whichgives it utterly distinctive and unique sound.
I fell in love with playing the banduria — not to mention that I was the only male in the entire rondalla group — that I had begged my parents to buy me my own banduria. A school quarter after I learned how to play the banduria, my dad and I went to a Lumanog branch in Pasay City (it was at Holiday Plaza then) and got myself a brand new banduria (we got the high end, glossy finish one made from maple wood at PHP600 –that was around 1989).
A year after, my classmate & rondalla buddy Ellaida invited me to be part of the parish rondalla … and the rest was history.
When I was 10 years old, an uncle gave me a Casio MT-45 as a birthday present. This is when I started to self-study how to play the keyboard (piano). I begged to my parents again — this time, for them to buy me a book about piano playing. The one that we got proved to be the best self-study guides out there at National Bookstore, then. I learned how to play the piano in a month’s time, and a couple more weeks later, I was able to memorize the chord table already.
Then came one Sunday morning, the church organist was absent. The parish rondalla was left without an organist that morning, so I braved myself and volunteered (again) to play using a double-decker Technics organ. That was the start of a weekly commitment — to play during the Sunday mass — that I still do up to this day (20 years now).
When I met Rose (who is my wife now), the very first Christmas present I got from her was a Casio CTK-49 keyboard:
The Casio CTK-49 was my very first keyboard (in my collection) that comes with an LCD screen. It’s a self-teaching keyboard, that my son (who is 2 years old now) actually enjoys playing with. The downside with the CTK-49 is that it only has a MIDI OUT port.
Then came a time when I got a client in website development, who encountered financial troubles in the middle of the project, thus she opted to give her Yamaha PSR-100 as token for me.
This is my very first Yamaha keyboard. Though still part of my collection, this unit is now part of our parish rondalla’s instruments inventory. The only downside with the Yamaha PSR-100 is that it does not any MIDI ports.
A couple of years ago, I was able to acquire a pre-loved Roland E-16 — the very first synth in my keyboard collection.
As the pro musician’s say, you can never go wrong with a Roland. Indeed, with it’s crisp sounds (thanks to the dual speakers on board) and wide array of instruments, coupled with its capability to be expanded and connected to the PC via MIDI, the Roland E-16 — though considered to be vintage already today — is still my favorite. I use it during thanksgiving masses at the office, whenever I jam with my band, and when the church organ is uncooperative.
Just a couple of months ago, before 2009 ends, I was able to acquire from the master Pepe Manikan a Kurzweil K2000.
This synth uses VAST (Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology) which allows you to take any multi-sample, noise or waveform and process it using just about any synthesis technique. It has a built-in floppy disk drive, so that you may record/save your samples into a diskette. Now, how cool is that?! This is the very first Kurzweil in my collection.
My next target is to acquire a Korg (X3 or X5) to be included in my keyboard collection.