Beautiful Mind Music Academy Story
Angel Lawrence Gabriel Villar
Lawrence is an 11-year old boy, with visual impairment. He was enrolled into Beautiful Mind Music Academy, the music unit of Beautiful Mind Charity, in January 2015 as one of our beneficiaries to receive free music lessons. He receives one-on-one weekly lessons on flute provided by our former teacher Ms Miran Kim, and since September 2015 by Ms Sharon Lee.
Mr Larry Angel, Lawrence’s father has the following to share about Lawrence’s journey in his pursuit of music and how BMMA’s programme is helping him to realize his dream -
“Music is a common thread that runs through the family. Each member either performs in a choir or plays an instrument in some musical group. Lawrence is no exception. But his is a special case because there aren’t too many music teachers who are equipped to provide instruction for someone with visual impairment.
In primary school, Lawrence was taught to play the recorder and some piano pieces along with his other schoolmates. However, these instruments did not resonate with him. For some time, he dabbled with the classical guitar but the absence of a suitable guitar instructor caused the interest to fizzle out. We thought that even if we did find someone to teach Lawrence to play the instrument, the whole venture would surely cause a dent in the family budget. At that point, the prospect of getting professional instruction for him looked bleak.
Then, along came BMMA offering free music instruction to the children at Lighthouse Primary School. The nice thing about the offer was that the children were given a choice of instrument that they would like to learn. The flute seemed a natural choice since we already had one at home.
And Lawrence took to the flute as fish would to water. Here, finally, was an instrument that he could connect to. The instrument gave expression to the music that was yearning to come out from within. Suddenly, he had something to look forward to during weekends.
Personally, I don’t think the passion for playing the instrument would have been possible without the initial nurturing of the interest by teacher Miran and the care and innovative instruction provided by teacher Sharon. And for this, we are grateful to BMMA.
Truly, BMMA is God-sent to our family, particularly to Lawrence. Performing with the other children in the Ensemble provides him with opportunities to share his love for flute music with other people.
Thanks to BMMA, Lawrence can ‘see’ that the Lord, indeed, is present in the world.”
Lawrence’s music teacher, Ms Sharon Lee speaks of her great fulfillment in helping to grow and develop Lawrence’s musical talent. In her own words -
“Despite the challenges of visual impairment, Lawrence submits himself to his lessons with maturity and earnestness. Not only does he conscientiously complete his weekly assignments, but he also exhibits evidence of having agonized and endeavoured over parts that need improvement. Lawrence is rather shy and reserved, but I can feel his sense of achievement and joy when he grins every time he learns a new piece or his performance improves. I am very proud of Lawrence and find it admirable that he overcomes with diligence his difficulties, such as having to commit the entire piece to memory or finding it difficult to correct his posture as he cannot see himself playing the instrument. I am especially moved by the untiring support of his father who watches every practice as if he is the one taking the lesson.
It is a blessing to me and a reason for gratitude that I can accompany Lawrence in his journey of growth as a musician. I eagerly await our lesson every week with anticipation.”
BMMA is glad that the programme is able to make a difference in Lawrence’s musical journey. The success of our students depends largely on students’ own hard work and discipline, the teachers’ dedication and commitment, and more importantly parents’ love and encouragement for their children.
The result of this partnership is clearly evident when we saw how Lawrence played his heart out in a flute solo and a trio music piece at our 30th April 2016 BMMA Concert. Not only were the 560-odd audience enthralled by his performance, it was also a proud moment of milestone achievement for Lawrence, his family and Teacher Sharon!
BMMA’s music education programme is sponsored by our corporate and individual donors. We are very thankful for the voluntary donations and continuous support we receive each year. This is the most important catalyst in keeping our programme running for the benefit of musically gifted and special children.