Feature Stories

Feature Stories

Playing in a Band: Alleviating Our Worries


The most bothersome things in the world are often not the issues themselves, but rather interpersonal relationships. No matter how difficult the situation is, there is always a solution. However, dealing with people and relationships is a much greater and more challenging endeavor. The band "Adagio", consisting of five members named Ho Yin, Ma Chai, Jasmine, Kan, and Howie, from the Jockey Club Shatin Integrated Service Centre for Children and Youth. They shares a common sentiment: "Playing in the band together may alleviate our worries.”

"Playing in a band is not just about working or joining a club to have fun. It's about letting go of our guards and opening our hearts as friends," explains Ho Yin, the lead vocalist and captain of Adagio. In Ho Yin's mind, playing in the band together is like painting a picture of dreaming, soaring, and growing together.

Ho Yin, the lead vocalist and captain of Adagio, speaks with a resounding voice, eloquent and decisive, like a spokesperson. His teammates refer to him as the "core." He explains the origin of the name "Adagio."

The band's predecessor was a music class organized by the Hong Kong PHAB Association's Youth Development Program three years ago. At that time, a group of young members who loved music, including those with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), gathered together. They named themselves "Adagio," partly as a playful reference to their tendency to be late or slow in beats, and partly to convey the idea that they approach life with a slow-paced mindset, taking everything in stride and finding their own rhythm.

"Taking things slowly is not necessarily a bad thing. Slowing down allows us to see more scenery and understand our intentions," says Ho Yin. He explains that their journey of growth has been a slow and challenging one, full of difficulties that required adaptation. When the program ended last year, seven members chose to continue on their own, learning how to manage and organize themselves, playing shows as a band. However, over the course of six months, various reasons caused members to leave one after another. Only keyboardist Ma Chai, drum player Howie, and lead vocalist Ho Yin remained. "With just the three of us, it feels like we can't even play a game of Mahjong," says Ho Yin. Reluctantly, he took on the responsibility of being the captain.

"It's similar to going back to work. At first, I was afraid of being fired, but after six months, I gradually understood what I was doing and its significance," he says. The greatest significance of being a captain, he explains, is realizing that it's not just about playing good music, but also about learning how to interact with people, how to handle conflicts among members, how to listen to people's voices, and bringing everyone together to grow as a team. At the beginning of this year, he invited Jasmine, a female vocalist, and Kan, a guitarist, to join Adagio, injecting new possibilities. In Ho Yin's words, "The world became bigger."

Jasmine has a high level of musical expertise, reaching Grade 8 in piano performance, and she has experience with various instruments. She is known as the little mentor of Adagio and can hold her own. Why did she choose to be in a band with different people?

"It's precisely because everyone is different that sparks fly. It feels great to have a group of like-minded people together, to have the company of others. Learning an instrument has always been a solitary pursuit, but growing together in a band brings much more joy," says Jasmine. She describes herself as an "extremely conflicted" person, easily offending others with her words and prone to losing control of her emotions. However, she feels at ease in Adagio. "On one hand, I have matured, and on the other hand, Ho Yin and the other members are very accommodating. I can freely express my thoughts."

When asked the same question, Kan gives a similar answer: "Playing and singing alone can be very casual, but when others provide input, the music becomes richer. Playing together with others gives me a sense of connection with people and the world." He enjoys the happiness of eating and drinking together after a show. Regarding communication, he says, "In other work situations, everyone has different goals, and communication is difficult. But in Adagio, communication is easy because we can express ourselves through music, and our goals are aligned."

What is their common goal? Ma Chai, who prefers playing instruments over speaking, succinctly states, "Returning to the original intention, sincerity, and passion." Their original intention in making music is to sincerely express themselves and sing with enthusiasm for life.

"Each of us has a vulnerable side, and it is because of our vulnerabilities that we came together. Through music, we want to tell everyone that we are not alone on this journey," adds Kan. Walking together as a band, they aim to inspire others and create a sense of unity and support.

"Dear Myself" Self-care Promotion Campaign: http://phab.hk/dearmyself