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Music can change the world because it can change people - Bono

Growing up in the Philippines, Joshua Daulo’s parents pressed him to do what most parents around the world want their young children to do – take music lessons.

From age to 6 to 10 he diligently learned piano from a neighbour…and hated it. He would much rather be out with his friends playing games than he would be stuck on a piano bench. But by age 12, it was like a switch flipped. “I heard a piece by Chopin, his Nocturne in E Flat, and decided that I wanted to be able to play that,” remembers Joshua, who continued piano lessons even after moving to Canada.

Joshua’s educational background was not entirely devoted to music. He actually pursued a degree in mechanical engineering in his post-secondary studies, and went on to several years working in engineering. But not studying music left him feeling unfulfilled.

That feeling led him back to school, to pursue a Masters degree in music psychology at Royal College of Music, London. “There’s a lot of research done on individuals with mental health issues,” says Joshua, “but less so done on caregivers,” which became his field of study.

Joshua’s research involved extensive surveys and interviews with those in the caregiving position to learn more about what impacted them. “Even just casual music listening, a song on the radio for example, so long as it’s a deliberate choice has a very positive effect,” says Joshua. “You don’t even need to be playing that song yourself – just listening to it helps.”

For Joshua, his connection to caregiving for someone with mental health was deeply personal. His father was diagnosed with schizophrenia when they were still living in the Philippines. Joshua was still a child, so the diagnosis was foreign. “It was explained to me that Dad had a condition, but I didn’t really understand what was going on.”

The family struggled at first, and his mother especially as a primary caregiver, while his father could not accept his diagnosis and the need for medication. Eventually his father’s condition grew more stable, and the whole family, Joshua included, took on the caregiver role.

He is grateful that in both the Philippines and in Canada his father had access to medication and specialists that have allowed him to live a full and productive life.

Joshua has continued his passion for music and his involvement in the mental health field proudly teaching piano for High Notes Avante.

He first met Ingrid in a piano salon where artists could perform pieces for and with each other. When he first learned of HNA, he told her about his background and research in mental health and the two of started to dream of what is now the High Notes Music program.

Joshua currently teaches lessons for High Notes Avante students, and appreciates the creative outlet in teaching that lets him unwind from his day job in government services.

He’s also grateful for the opportunity to incorporate music in his life – a passion that’s been a recurring theme from his childhood through until today.

For caregivers, Joshua’s advice is simple – “listen to music if you’re feeling stressed.” It doesn’t matter what artist or genre you like, just “turn the music up and enjoy.”

Joshua will be at the High Notes Gala for Mental Health tonight. The gala doubles as image-raiser for mentall illness and fundraiser for the High Notes Music Program.

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