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Music for the Deaf

February 17, 2007 at 11:49 PM

Violin Practice
My assignment for the next 2 weeks is to be off the metronome in Bach's Sarabande and record myself to see if I can maintain a consistent tempo and find out where my phrasing doesn't work. I've been with the metronome so much lately, it has become my best friend and I'm scared to let it go. I never like listening to my playing, but I guess I have no choice now if I want to progress further. If I think I like what I'm playing, I might just post the recording here. I very much doubt it.

Music for the Deaf
I have met a new friend lately. He is deaf. I was very eager to learn Australian sign language (AUSLAN) that after 2 days I have learned all the alphabets, numbers from 1 - 1 billion, and some "vocabularies". I can now communicate without writing in pieces of paper, but still slow and have to spell many words. The good thing about sign language is people around don't know what you are talking about (most of the time they look at you with interest), plus you get to listen to Beethoven even when you are communicating! Sometimes, I do have problems switching to "talking mode", like when suddenly the waitress came and asked to take the order. I never realise how much I take hearing for granted and thankful for all the music I'm able to enjoy.

I learned a little about deaf people and how they could hear music through feeling the sound vibration. The part of the brain the is used for hearing receives these vibration and process it as an "alternate sound". There are music schools for deaf and some even become professional musicians. "Music for the Deaf" is what it's called. It is amazing how well human adapt! I feel fortunate to experience the way he lives, the difficulties he has to go through, and sometimes discrimination. I thank him for welcoming me into his life.

Having a deaf friend made me think about communication, like art (music, paintings, dance). In a good piece of music, you could see the pictures or feel the mood of the composer. In a good painting, you can hear the sound of the wind or sound of the sea in a landscape or feel the sorrow though the eyes of a potrait. In a good dance, you can feel the joy of the dancer etc. Intentionally or not, music, paintings and dance is not just a way for the artist to express him/herself, but it is also a form of communication.

Chinese New Year
It's Chinese New Year (CNY) today. I'll call my parents and do my dutiful CNY greetings, then go to China Town and find some tasty CNY food and watch some lion dance. I have a job up in Wangaratta (country town) for the next 3 days or so. So I'll be driving up there later this afternoon. Not the best way to spend the new year but hey, it put food on the table!

Gong Xi Fa Chai to all Chinese members.

From Richard Hellinger
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 2:25 AM
I love recording myself while practicing. I listen to myself afterwards and make notes in the music. I think it is very benificial.
Also I like hearing my self improve over the weeks.. But thats just me..
From Karin Lin
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 6:23 AM
Happy New Year to you too, William!
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 7:06 AM
I'm glad you have a new friend you like. I'd like to learn more about music for the deaf. It sounds interesting.

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone (Chinese or not).

From Mendy Smith
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 7:36 AM
Gong Xi Fa Chai!!!!
From William Yap
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 11:13 AM
Wow! Featured Article! I feel honoured!

I hope in time, recording and listening to myself will be a comfortable habbit for me.

When I find out more about Music for the Deaf I will share it here. Hope everyone will do the same if they find out. I think I will start to be aware of vibrations too. I wonder how it works for the deaf.

My mistake, happy Chinese new year to all readers!

From Gerard Tan
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 11:24 AM
Gong Xi Fa Cai
to you too!
From Ray Randall
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 2:20 PM
My assignment after the lesson two days ago was to record myself. It's like jumping into a cold ocean to swim. I'm going to do it, but it takes courage.
My hearing sucks from 50 years of flying everything from high performance fighters, NASA goodies, TWA 727's, and junk. Appreciate the hearing you have and take care of it. I rely on two hearing aids and, believe me, it's not fun.
From Sheila Ganapathy
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 4:45 PM
When I was in school a year or two ago a woman did a presentation on how to help the deaf learn music and what types of instruments would be suited for them. It makes you appreciate things more to realize that it's harder for them.
From Liz Farley Metzger
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 9:07 PM
It is probably worth mentioning, in case any readers are not already aware of it, that the term "deaf" covers a wide range of hearing disabilities.

Many deaf people have some hearing ability (can hear music if it's loud enough or in the right range), but not enough to function as a 'hearing' person would.

Others (like my brother-in-law) are totally deaf, with no ability to hear whatsoever. Vibrations can be felt by the rest of the body even when the ears don't work, though.

The term 'deaf' also often includes how deeply the individual in question is involved in deaf culture and the deaf community (some parents want their children to be more mainstreamed and less involved with the deaf community).

It's very cool to hear about the broader music community being interested in music for the deaf.

From John Chew
Posted on February 20, 2007 at 2:39 AM
Happy New Year to you (from your fellow Chinese V.commer in NYC!)

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