Saturday, June 25, 2011

Making Music with a Hearing Loss: Strategies and Stories

That book is now available in Amazon. I'll be getting a free copy of it since I'm one of the several deaf/hh musicians who were interviewed for that book. My narrative can be found in the final chapter of that book.
There are many texts on music and hearing loss, but what makes this volume unique is that it does not require the reader to have any previous background in hearing science. It is written in non-technical language for the layman, and begins by explaining how the human ear hears sound. It covers the interplay between music, speech and hearing devices and discusses hearing conservation for musicians. The final chapter contains inspiring narratives from eleven deaf or hard of hearing musicians belonging to the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss. These eleven stories describe using a variety of strategies to integrate hearing loss and music making. Musicians new to hearing loss, hearing-impaired adults wanting to learn a musical instrument, audiologists, music educators, and music researchers will also find this book a valuable addition to their library collection.
I'll be waiting with great anticipation for my free copy. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and enjoy music, this will be a great book to have. If you have a hearing loss and is considering on wanting to play a musical instrument, don't let your hearing loss stop you. And if you do play a musical instrument....don't stop! Keep practicing and find other like minded people who enjoy playing music with their musical instruments.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Possum and Taters

Here's something I just picked up quite recently and tried my hands on it for a few days. Some brushing up here and there are needed. I'm sure you'll enjoy this one called "Possum and Taters - a Ragtime Feast" published in 1900. But, dang, my piano sure needs some serious tuning up!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sky Mundell wins Vancouver Island's Got Talent!

I covered him briefly before of him playing on his piano in a YouTube clip. His name is Sky Mundel. But the amazing thing is that not only is he blind and deaf but he has cerbral palsy and is autistic. He won the coveted Vancouver Island's Got Talent contest that took place this year on January 20th.

The 19-year-old pianist wowed the judges and audience alike at the finale for Vancouver Island's Got Talent Jan. 21, as he had throughout the competition, with two pieces dedicated to his mother and sister.
"It was a pleasure playing in this competition and I certainly will have a lot of fun performing in Las Vegas," he said upon taking to the stage after event host Maria Manna announced him as the winner.
Mundell, whose goal is to pursue a career in the music industry, will get a head start on that dream thanks to his win.
He will travel to Vegas to sign a contract with the Nevada Talent Agency, will perform at Planet Hollywood there as part of V: The Ultimate Variety Show, will receive image consulting and a professional marketing package.
He also won recording time for a three-song demo CD, a professional photo shoot and help setting up a web and social media presence.

This is an incredible young man, 19 years old, to win this competition. Below are the videos of the Vancouver Island's Got Talent with him in it.

Final round and announcement of Sky Mundell as the winner out of 84 contestants.

2nd round in VIGT competition in November 2010.

1st round in October 2010

Someday soon I would like to meet him personally since Vancouver Island (Canada) is about a 6 hours drive from where I live. I am fascinated by pianists who are blind and a savant but Sky Mundell is quite the incredible and different pianist who happens to be deaf and austistic. In fact, I do have an interest in musically talented pianists who are blind and are classified as savants but Sky Mundell is a different breed. And why the interest? Well, naturally I'm a pianist myself who play ragtime and novelty rag pieces who happens to have a hearing loss in both ears.

It was late last year when I read a book about a black, blind savant pianist named "Blind Tom" who was one of the nineteenth century's most famous and perplexing pianists. A man with such an uncanny talent that very few of us would even dare hope to hold. It was several years ago when I became fascinated with pianists who are blind and classified as savants when I saw a show about boy named Derek Paravicini who is such a pianist who is now an adult today. But for Sky Mundell, I'd say that a congratulation is in order for this young man. May he find success and joy!