‘Maestro’ Cayabyab gives songwriting workshop

Posted on October 14, 2012

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Composer Ryan Cayabyab plays the keyboard on stage at the Benedicto College during the Cebu leg of his free songwriting workshop organized by the Philippine Popular Music Festival Foundation. (NORMAN V. MENDOZA)

Filipino composer Ryan Cayabyab gave hundreds of students in Cebu a free songwriting workshop last Friday as his way of encouraging the youth to write songs and develop their passion for music.

The 350-seat Benedicto College auditorium at A.S. Fortuna Street in Mandaue City was filled with students from at least nine Cebu City high schools and colleges for the workshop.

“They should be passionate about what they want and if they want something they should pursue it. That will make them happy and they will be able to realize what they can do,” Cayabyab said in an interview after the five-hour workshop.

Cebu was the third leg of the “Maestro Tour” which started in Manila, followed by Davao.

In the coming weeks, Cayabyab will visit Palawan, Naga, Cagayan de Oro, Legaspi and Baguio.

Cayabyab told the young audience to follow their passion in music even if they get discouraged by parents who see no high-paying job there.

He said songwriting was a tool to express oneself and had value for education, preserving culture, social change, inspirational entertainment, dance theater and commercial activities.

He asked participants to sing Matud Nila, Rosas Pandan and Pasayawa Ko Day , all Visayan songs, as examples of how music could preserve culture.

Music can also be an educational tool to know more about a country or a locality.

He cited as examples Cebuano songs like “Byahe Na” and even “One Cebu”.

Know the elements and limitations of music to have better control of the material, Cayabyab advised.

He likened a songwriter who doesn’t know the elements of music to a journalist who didn’t know the basics of grammar.

The schools which sent students to the workshop were University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF), University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJR), University of Cebu (UC), Minglanilla high school, Mandaue School for the Arts, Mandaue Christian school, Tabor Hill College, Canduman High School, Talisay City College and Mandaue Comprehensive high school.

Cayabyab, whose original Filipino compositions, pop songs, orchestra direction work and teaching career in the University of the Philippines have earned him the title “Maestro” in the entertainment industry, gave songwriting tips and shared how he started in the industry.

Cayabyab, who is the 2004 Cultual Center of the Philippines Awit awardee, said he started writing songs at 15 years old and composed his first song at 18.

He didn’t immediately start as a songwriter when he joined the entertainment industry but became a music director-arranger.

When he realized that he couldn’t make his name known by arranging music, he went back to writing songs.

“Hindi ko nalaman na dapat magsongwriter ako, sinabi ko talaga sa sarili ko na kailangan magsulat ako ng songs (I didn’t know then whether I would write songs but I told myself that I needed to write songs),” he said.

He has since written and arranged several hit songs including Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka, which won the 18th Awit awards for Best Musical Arrangement in 2001, Da Coconut Nut, and Iduyan Mo.

His desire to share his success and inspire the youth to write songs prompted him to hold the workshops.

“We are encouraging the country to write music, to make music,” said Patricia Hizon, administrator of Philippine Popular Music Festival (Philpop), which supports the workshops.

Joyce Natalie Yang, vice president of Benedicto College for academics and administration, said she found the workshop useful for the youths and offered the school auditorium as a venue. /Jucell Marie Cuyos, Correspondent

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