The Rock 'n' Roller at School
Musician Raef Al Hasan Rafa
courtesy: Raef Al Hasan Rafa
My earliest recollections from school all reside at Maple Leaf International School. My schooling began here and continued till my O'levels after which I joined European Standard School (ESS) for A'levels. Just a regular student, doing the regular things, I grew up loving Physics and History, and hating Math with sincerity. It is funny when I think about it now - the fact that my life now revolves around making music whereas none of my friends or I were into music until we were well into our high school years.
It was in Grade 7 that a friend lent me a mixed tape of rock and metal. Something changed then; I would listen, rewind and listen again. The music, what I now consider in all honesty, was just rubbish. It was food for my teenage soul and soon after, it was music that we would only talk about. I made my first big escapade from school at Grade 8 with a couple of friends. There was a concert nearby at Indian Cultural Centre, featuring all the big underground bands of that time- Aurthohin, Cryptic Fate and Artcell. That was the beginning of my music addiction and sneaky getaways to listen to it up close. Sadly, we were caught that day while we were returning from the venue, after having enjoyed to our heart's content. So caught up were we in this whole new world of music that had opened up without a warning that, classes were spent at the very back benches, with plans to have our own band. We did get around to it. We named the band, Psychokinesis. However, our precious little initiative gave in to the drama that teenage years are prone to. A few heated arguments broke the band. On a different note, we managed to remain great friends.
My brother, already a rock guitarist, introduced me to classic rock. He is the reason I grew interest in music, taking up the guitar and then the drum. I joined his band, Kraal and soon after, Aurthohin for the vocals. Life rolled faster; classes and jamming sessions had to be taken care of. I would be excused for missing a day of practice on special grounds, for I was still the school boy. I remember getting grounded at home after messing up my final results. My parents, of course, had no idea that I was living another life- the life of a rock n roll'er. I took take care hiding my face wearing caps for a live concert that I knew my parents were watching at home! It was after my A'levels that things at home got better; I was no longer grounded and my parents began to be supportive of my music. My teachers and friends at ESS liked what they heard from me. I received a certificate for singing from school. My Principal even agreed to let me keep my hair a little longer. I rode on the clouds that day!
It was in 2006 after I had created an advertising jingle that I began to take producing music seriously. After a few albums along the way, music as a career was just destiny. For now, I plan to study Music Production in United States.
Much has been said about education simply being a systematic route that all students follow - some denounce it, while others take it a little too seriously. I have always believed that questioning these systems around us never gets one anywhere. True that a proper education is a must, but ambitions should be pursued at the same time, and one should not be sacrificed for the other. Following the education route does not mean one has to give up one's ambition. It is, after all, the heart's calling.