Benefits of Music - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Benefits of Music

The youngest boy in a black pair of trousers is me at the magnificent residence of Fr. Charles Nyamiti (in a hat), one of my music mentors, after we visited him circa 1999. I shall forever remain grateful to the Catholic Church for introducing me to the piano.

I don't know about you but for me, the genres of music that really move me are hymns, classical music and traditional Agikuyu folk songs. But generally speaking, any piece of music that has a wonderful melody and inspiring lyrics moves me. So I do love some other pieces of music from other genres such as The Power of a Dream that was performed by Celine Dion at the opening ceremony of the '96 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

And oh! I almost forgot to tell you that I also love any pieces of music that have a nice beat because they tend to make me want to dance.

My interest in music blossomed back in 1997 when I first started learning piano at the age of nine in my hometown Catholic Church under the tutelage of a brilliant and dedicated seminarian named Br. Peter Assenga. I was fortunate to advance my skills on the piano at Starehe Boys' Centre where I developed confidence in playing it before an audience. And after I left Starehe, I was even more fortunate to join All Saints Cathedral where I was exposed to music that refined my character.

But guess what? I became foolish sometimes in 2008 at the university where I was studying engineering by ditching music to concentrate on "serious" stuff like Calculus. What a big blunder! It eventually led to poor decisions, loss of vitality and depression.

After undergoing a psychotherapy for some years that made me more sick than well, I decided to reconnect with my passion for music in 2012 - one of the best decisions I made in my life. But I was at first in a dilemma on how to acquire a piano at home after my friends failed to help me when I approached them for assistance.

Then out of the blues, I got a job to teach piano to kids of Mr. Seni Adetu, the then CEO of East African Breweries Limited (EABL) who was about to emigrate to England with his family. I taught his kids for three weeks after which I was able to buy a piano keyboard which made me so happy.

The piano keyboard reignited my childlike passion for music which led me to present songs in my home church. I became so much hooked to music that I eventually produced two songs which a number of people commented were good, including Mr. Atigala Luvai - the Director of Music at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. And given the joy I felt in producing the two songs, I look forward to producing many more in the future.

In summary, reconnecting with my passion for music has made my life interesting, improved my imagination and made me more human. That's why I have resolved to keep aflame my interests in music even if I got elected President.


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Could Mars be the Next America?

Sometimes it is good to let our imagination wander from the confines of our everyday living to the worlds beyond. So today I found myself marvelling at the mysterious universe in which we live that is said to be composed of billions of stars bigger than the sun.

And then I thought about the possibility of future generations establishing the first interplanetary civilization like the way people immigrated to America after Christopher Columbus discovered the continent. But which planet will they first inhabit?

I surmise it will be Mars, one of our neighbouring planets that was named after the harsh Greek god of war. The naming was appropriate because research has shown the planet to be a harsh place for human existence. Its atmosphere, made up mainly of carbon dioxide, is so thin that a man landing there without a space-suit would die in minutes. And the planet is so cold that atmospheric gases have cooled to dry ice.

But why am I surmising that Mars will be the first planet to be conquered by future generations? For three reasons.

First, unlike on the Earth where it is threatening the existence of life, global warming will make Mars more habitable. Should the earth become unbearably hot, I foresee future generations seeking refuge in Mars just like the way people immigrated to America in search of freedom and wealth.

Secondly, Mars is rich in iron oxide and silicates which could produce enough oxygen for human life through the process of extracting iron and silicon, the elements that mostly drive the economy.

Thirdly, life on Mars would be easier because of its weak gravity. That means less energy would be used to walk, play and carry goods. And the weak gravity would make exploration to further planets easier because less fuel would be needed to blast rockets.

Yes, Mars has the potential to be next land of opportunities. And should future generations succeed in conquering it, I foresee the Martian Dream, Mars version of the American dream!


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Decision: Not Vying in 2017

That lovely evening in 2007 before heading for a metal workshop session at the university, I opened Bill Clinton's autobiography and began to read. I was mesmerized by its clear, clean sweeping sentences. And I fell in love with Clinton's way of thinking as well as the candor with which he narrated the successes, failures and sins he committed in his illustrious career as a public servant.

Even though I was an engineering student back then, I devoured the autobiography as if it were part of my university course. It made me admire the life of a politician as Clinton narrated: that is traveling around the world, meeting new people, making speeches and impacting lives. By the time I was through with the book about three weeks later, I fancied running for political seat while still a youth just as Clinton ran for a congressional seat in his twenties.

With time, my fancies condensed into action when I made it public on social media in early 2012 that I would be running for a senatorial seat in the forthcoming General Elections. Interestingly, some of my friends reacted to my announcement with disbelief and ridicule. They claimed that I was too young, that I didn't have the necessary connections and that I didn't have enough resources to conduct a senatorial seat.

Eventually, I bowed to the pressure by scaling down to vying for a county representative seat, the lowest elective post in Kenya. I felt greatly relieved when I scaled down my ambition but even more so, I joyfully thought I would clinch the county seat as easily as the way a monkey climbs an iroko tree.

But alas! I faced obstacles after registering as a candidate, one after another. First, I did not receive parental blessings. My mother thought I should have been in the university studying. And my father thought that I had to first learn how to manage my own affairs before handling those of the people.

Secondly, I lacked the kind of charisma that I had observed in Bill Clinton. I especially battled with sleep - a struggle that first began at the university where I would be unable to get out of bed effortlessly.

Thirdly, I had no leadership and teamwork skills which became apparent when I tried to form a campaign committee. And when I single-handedly tried to do every campaigning detail from pinning posters to talking with people, I discovered that running a big project alone is like trying to drink water from an open fire hydrant.

Lastly, I found it difficult to raise enough funds to run a decent campaign. Despite sending hundreds of messages to friends via email, phone and social media, only five friends sent some money which was only sufficient for registering as a candidate.

Eventually, I gave up campaigning. And on Election Day, I was feeling too low to vote and too embarrassed to see my name in the ballot as a county representative candidate. But I quickly picked up myself after the election and vowed to work towards the next General Elections in 2017.

I have however now decided not to run for any seat in the forthcoming elections next year. Instead, I am focusing on building my life - emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically and financially as well as family-wise. And hopefully, I will be ready for the 2022 elections. So help me God.


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