Friday, January 15, 2010

Music To My Eyes

We always wanted our son to try anything he wanted to. We never wanted to assume he couldn't do something because he was deaf. Music is something we never thought he would enjoy. We are hearing and our relationship to music as far as we knew was strictly auditory so we couldn't really understand why he would have any interest. Music is a part of our daily lives so we wanted to make sure he knew it was there and if he wanted he could experience it somehow. When he was very little we set the speaker on the hard wood floor and let him sit on it. It was fun for a short while then he became bored.

In our pursuit to make sure he got the most of an event that featured music we allowed him to get right next to the source. This often caused a stir. While other parents were very careful to avoid loud noise with their young children to protect their fragile hearing we chased after it with gusto. We might lift him right up to a giant speaker so he could feel it. Horrified other parents would glare at us. This always made me giggle.

I remember when I was visiting the charter school in Los Angeles a teacher walked me up to the school dance. The music was really loud and the kids were dancing. I was startled because it didn't occur to me deaf kids would enjoy that.

About a year ago we went to a concert with some friends who also have kids. We asked my son if he wanted us to bring a balloon to better feel the music. He was too embarrassed. I brought the balloons and handed them out to every child and told them they could feel the music with it. Soon the small crowd was full of kids holding balloons and my son could just blend in. That night he danced with us.

Since he has been going to the Arts school he has discovered music and rhythm. On the way to school today he found a CD in the car and put it in. He turned up the volume and searched for the speaker with his hand. I showed him where it was. He asked what kind of music it was. Reggae I reply. He sat for a brief time and told me he liked it. All the rest of the way he listened with his hand. He told me dad didn't think he would like the way it feels but he did. They have been sharing music at home. Later they would talk about it.

Tonight at 7pm my family, minus my deaf son, sat down in the theater at school and waited for him to dance. It was his first formal performance at school. The kids are required to perform or exhibit for every art form. I sat there and saw my Deaf son dance with the hearing kids. He danced without any challenge. Not a soul new he was deaf. I applauded with hands high waving.

As we left tonight the advanced dance kids were collecting money for a trip to a dance event in Florida. Every time someone tossed money in the bucket they cheered really loud. My son took up some money and they waved their hands high in the air with huge smiles. I love this school.


  1. That's great. :) I like the balloon idea and that you got everyone involved to 'feel the music'.
    Have you seen SignMark's and Sean Forbes' music videos? Unless you already know, they are both deaf rappers or hip-hop artists. Maybe your son would be interested in seeing them perform. Also, D-PAN website has music videos in sign language.


  2. WOW! I just sat and journeyed though D-PAN. I love it.

    Really cool for me but will my really deaf son love it? I need some help please. How do I get a speaker set up on my son's laptop? I am going to try and find a "Buttkicker" silent amp on EBAY maybe? We don't have a money tree outside but this may be something he needs? Any deaf folks have insights about this so he can enjoy this ? Will he enjoy it without the sound and vibration?

  3. Thanks to this blog i now about the buttkicker thanks im planning on getting one for myself who says the deafblind cant feel music