The strands of the strings carries through the rushes, keeping time with the breeze through the willows. The melody caresses the earth, while harmony swirls in the air like petals in the wind. The idyllic, picturesque, and poetic enhanced by Nature’s song and Man’s love affair with her.
In his quest to express the ineffable, Man resorts to music; the language of life and the passion behind it all. But what happens when the message falls on deaf ears? How can a musician communicate and share himself, if not with music?
The answer? He becomes inspired to explore and create beautiful and profound ways to bridge the gap; to tell his soul, convey his emotions and desires. This novel language permeates the confused and sheds light on understanding. Then, and only then, after his tune is received can Man hope for a favorable outcome.
This is my story. I have a severe hearing loss and wear hearing aids in both ears. This has been the way of it since I was four years old. Technically, I am not “deaf,” but to the normal-world I might as well be. I’m on the fringes of both communities. My lack of knowledge regarding sign language is looked down upon by Deaf Society. I am not one of them. I speak rather well (with few noticeable tells) but I cannot relate to many things in the normal-hearing-world. I am not one of them either. Nor am I a bridge between the two camps, simply an outsider.
So it amuses me that I have courted more people affiliated with music than any other profession. While the irony is obvious, there is far more at play. I do not speak the same language they do. I am an exotic foreigner to them. Curiosity is piqued and then the bombardment of questions begins. I never get tired of answering their questions regarding what I can and cannot hear, or more pointedly what things actually sound like for those noises I do hear. I’m equally fascinated by music. Fascinated, not obsessed. Actually, fascinated by others’ obsession with music.
Many musicians have come away enlightened, so they tell me. They state my conversations with them have helped them become better singers and musicians. In their new music, they add certain elements that I can tolerate, striking out those I can’t, focusing on articulation, projection, and bass; profoundness of pauses, using voices as instruments and instruments as voices and come to understand silence can be the loudest sound in the room. I am a novelty, an experiment, a creative muse. They so desperately want to communicate with me in their strongest medium.
I have attempted many times to learn about music, spurred by my disability. An aside: There are far more deaf musicians and DJs than you’d think. I just don’t have the knack nor the patience to learn the difference between harmony and melody or why the last high key on the piano is really even necessary (Seriously, why? So discordant!). For me, music will always be “just sound.” So learning a musical instrument is akin to learning math; rote memory. Not that it’s a bad thing in and of itself . . . but it does seem to take some of the enjoyment out of listening or playing.
The fact remains, I simply do not hear the way you do, Dear Reader, and that’s quite alright. It is honestly fine with me. As long as the message is conveyed then the expression was a success. However, frustration mounts when a hearing person insists I should hear precisely like them, to force me to love it as much as they do. That’s just silly. The analogy could be used with a sighted person giving a blind person the ability to see and then demand that they love the color blue. When, perhaps, the previously blind person actually likes red.–Personality and opinions . . . .
So my stubbornness in refusing to hear “just like you do” often causes frustration between me and a musically inclined individual. I like being different, unique, a little off, and so on. My world view helps shapes perspective. Any disable person can easily find joy in this world; create and express beauty, but we each have our own medium and language we gravitate towards. This is wonderful! Variety is the spice of life, after all! The muses’ inspiration is everywhere. Learn multiple “languages” and the world is yours.
While I may often be a musician’s muse they, in turn, inspire my prose and love of the poetic. If any people affiliated with music have any burning questions to ask me regarding how things sound, please leave your queries in the comment section (or if you’re feeling bashful, you may want to email me).