One Youth. Infinite Hope.

A World-Class Musician for Peace

MIYOKO CASSETTA


by Koji Cassetta
27 years old
Detroit

When I first picked up the bass at 14, I knew I wanted to play music for life. But I struggled with self-confidence as I pursued my dream to go to a top music program. I went to community college for four years and barely got through an algebra course that I had to take three times. I remember thinking, Is there something wrong with me?

I polished my life through a consistent Buddhist practice and developed confidence, courage and a goal-setting mindset. I understood the essential purpose behind my dream of becoming a world-class musician: to bring joy to others as a Bodhisattva of the Earth.

I went from having no confidence to having the courage to create a vision. Thanks to my Buddhist practice, I found a jazz mentor, who helped me connect to the music scene in Detroit, and I’ve since performed at some famous venues here. Last year, I graduated with my bachelor’s in jazz studies and recently got accepted into a master’s program in the same field on a full scholarship! I also teach music, now virtually with COVID-19, in hopes of helping others develop their craft.

I want to use my experience to encourage others to never give up on their dreams. I now realize why I went through everything that I did, and I totally appreciate it.

This coronavirus pandemic is teaching me that we cannot stop reaching out to youth. “One Youth. Infinite Hope.” means that when we treasure and develop one person, they can then inspire countless others.