WBU-AP(Senior group) Excellent Work
The Impact of Music on My Life
Vietnam Lu Van Duong (28, Male)

When I was at the age of six, a tragic accident occurred which caused me to become blind. Since then, I could no longer see the faces of my parents, siblings, relatives and friends. I could no more enjoy the sight of the green jungle and the terraced rice plants ripening. Blackness was all around me and the dreams of a six-year-old boy had crumbled completely. I had been changed from a child of innocence and smiles to a lonely crying child secluded in a silent corner of the house. Every morning, I knew that my friends were going to school while I stayed alone at home.
One day, my family heard of a school for the blind named Nguyen Dinh Chieu in the capital city, Hanoi, and they decided to send me there. However, moving from the rural and mountainous countryside to the city filled me and my family with worries. I felt a mixture of fear, excitement and suspense as I anticipated how I would function in the new environment.
I started studying at the beginning of Autumn in 2002. For the first time in my life, I attended a solemn opening ceremony on a cool blue Autumn day.
I met other blind students and heard songs sung by the older students to welcome the guests. All this activity helped to erase the fear that I had felt initially.
I began to be acquainted with Braille, the six magic dots that have changed the lives of many other blind people. Then, as part of the general education, we were introduced to the arts subjects in order to help each of us build up our individual capacity.
I was then introduced to music and I found it to be so emotive and joyful. As I played the music -sad tunes and happy melodies - I found that the negative thoughts were gradually being driven away from my mind. The music of the flute and the lyrics of the songs were so soothing to my soul and they brought me both tranquillity and delight. I felt that the music really helped to create a bond of sympathy and understanding between the blind and the sighted in society.
I began performing with a music team in my school and I could feel the enthusiasm of our teachers as they instructed us. I learned how to sing and how to play the flute as part of a group and our performing team thus learned how to play with professionalism.
Opportunities were then opened up for us to perform in various cultural programmes and even at the embassies on important days.
Although my first income from music was not very much, I was very happy because I felt that I could do something useful. Furthermore, music brought many opportunities for us to interact with people from all over the world.
In 2009, for example, we performed in France and Japan as a means of introducing the cultural beauty of Vietnam. Indeed, these trips brought many new experiences into my life as I made new friends and gained much understanding about other countries, their peoples and their civilisations.
After graduating from Nguyen Dinh Chieu School, I am now working at the Blind Association of Son La Province. This has given me the opportunity to continue bringing music to other blind persons, especially helping to inculcate the love for music to other blind friends and children.
Later, we decided to set up a performance group in order to perform for various cultural functions and programmes organised by the province. We truly achieved many great successes both within and outside our province. We felt so proud and happy because we were able to contribute to the success of the first and second arts programmes under the "Loving Arms for the Happiness of the Blind". We managed to achieve the purpose of raising funds in order to help poor blind persons in our province.
This programme has certainly resonated well with the general public in Son La Province through the common sharing of music. Our programme has helped to change the opinion of society regarding the blind. Now society has a better understanding of the aspirations of the blind to be integrated into the community at large and to live a normal life with meaning and dignity.
The blind can also take on music as a career in order to earn an income to feed their families. Indeed, my success today has been due to music which is my inspiration and which has given me great confidence. It is truly a wonderful tool to get people connected with one another, to share joys and sorrows, and to overcome the challenges and difficulties in life.
It is my wish that all blind people nationwide will have many more opportunities to develop their abilities and skills, thereby becoming useful and productive persons in the country. I personally am very thankful for this life that has given me the opportunity to appreciate, enjoy and learn from music.


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