The ubiquity of music as an art form has led many to consider it as a program. For those with God-given talents, music is a dream program, yet for one reason or another, few have really gone on to enroll—opting to put aside their dream program in favor of another. For Class 2020’s Batch Salutatorian, however, that dream became a reality. Let’s meet Michelle Rizza C. Ong, Summa cum Laude of the Bachelor of Music, major in Music Education program.

Michelle approached the program with her God-given talent and inclinations for music, but exits it with a determination to downplay the stereotype against those who take up Music. “Music is an easy program” is a common comment that Michelle hears—something that the arduous training in the Conservatory will easily refute. “I have encountered people who ask about the program I’m taking, and when they find out that it is music, their first response is ‘ah so magaling ka kumanta? Sample sample’ or ‘Anong ginagawa niyo, kanta kanta lang?’ I want people to understand that music is diverse, and it is a skill-based program; it requires time, hard work, and perseverance. Just like any other program, it is equally valuable and worthy of respect,” the aspiring piano pedagogue shared.

For her, students studying music must not be seen through the pigeonhole, and their passion be reduced to simply entertain. Most importantly, as a future educator as well, Ong wants to dispel the tone-deaf idea that a musician can never obtain a stable, notional future that revolves only on financial matters and other economic reasons.

Likewise, Michelle encourages the aspiring musicians to follow the music of their passion and chase it. “If [music] is something that you genuinely love, and you are fully determined and driven to be in this field, then by all means pursue it.”

Musician’s role in the modern world
Musicians, according to Michelle, are armed with their talents capable of uniting and empowering people, something that is vital for people’s day-to-day lives. And in turn, she wanted people to have a clearer mind’s ear to listen through life’s pocketed inspiration, which only music can help transcend. “Music is very personal as certain songs and pieces remind us of different memories and experiences; it touches us in various ways we can imagine,” she said.

Michelle underscores that music is a vessel that encapsulates the sublime, and at the same time a reminder of being a human capable of inspiration, and also inspiring others. “For some, music is an escape just like reading a book; a [convenient] mean to destress and be in the moment,” she said. “It is also an avenue for a person to relay something that is not expressed through words,” Ong said.

As she enters the field of Music Education, Michelle invites others to do the same: “Take a leap of faith, work hard and reach your dreams. The road will not be easy, it will challenge you, but it will all definitely be worth it,” she said. “It would be worthwhile doing something you are truly passionate about. For those who dream of taking music but think that their time have passed, as long as you have the heart, grit, and passion, it is never too late to pursue this program.”