School music teacher with a few questions...

Pattypoundcake

New Member
Hello! This is my first post here and I sincerely hope that it is OK. I am an instrumental music teacher in public schools, and I will have a 4th grade boy with cochlear implants this coming school year. From what I know he signs a bit, lipreads a bit, and has only had implants for a year or so. After lurking here for awhile, I know there is at least one French Horn player here, and many music lovers. Does anyone else play an instrument or has anyone tried an instrument? I am not sure quite what to do. Putting him on a percussion instrument feels like the "easy" way out for me if that is not what he wants, and I want to put him where he feels best. His brother and sisters are hearing and play the saxophone and clarinet, respectively.

Outside of that (long) question, what way do YOU listen to/feel music? I have read here that a lot of people don't like the bass to be way up and I am not sure I understand why.

Please any tips you might have for me in the coming school year are welcome! I want to be sure he has a positive musical experience.
 

kimpossible

New Member
If he has only had cochlear implants for one year, he may be still getting used to them. I don't know him or his history of hearing, but in my personal opinion after just one year of cochlear implants (assuming he became deaf at a very early age) it may a little early to start playing any complex musical instruments. I would probably start him on percussion if I were you but I'm a biased drum-lover.

I'm late/adult deafened, born hearing and was moderately hard of hearing throughout most of my childhood. I've played the piano since I was 6. I had surgery for my first cochlear implant about two months ago, and had it activated less than 2 weeks ago. From the start I could hear notes the way they were supposed to, but individual notes only - no chords. However as I'm in the early EARLY stages of experiencing a cochlear implant, you shouldn't take my word for it. As for how I hear music, I hear it the same way you do (when I am wearing my hearing aid, in my non-implanted ear) with the exception of lyrics.
 

Pattypoundcake

New Member
Wow that is really interesting how you can hear notes not chords. I will definitely keep that in mind when we get into those things. Since you play piano and I suck at it and the answer might be obvious, when there are chords do you hear the root of the chord or the melody, or am I way off?
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
I grew up mainstreamed as a profoundly deaf person. I hated music class cuz my music teacher would force me to sing, play the instruments, and take tests in identifying the notes. That kind of pressure caused me to puke in music class several times..ironically, I was fine in other classes but in music class, I got mysterically sick.

I am glad u are asking the questions instead of forcing the kid to do what your curriculm required to do. A child with a CI is still deaf and will need visual cues to help him understand what's happening around him. Best to ask the boy to try out different stuff and see if he is interested. If he rebels against them, then no point of him having to take music class. It is like asking a fully blind child to take an art class that relies solely on vision. He will need visual cues to help him understand music if he doenst have any auditory skills.
 

kimpossible

New Member
Wow that is really interesting how you can hear notes not chords. I will definitely keep that in mind when we get into those things. Since you play piano and I suck at it and the answer might be obvious, when there are chords do you hear the root of the chord or the melody, or am I way off?

I was referring to how I heard notes with only a cochlear implant, and I have only been using my cochlear implant for 11 days. I've only tested how I heard the piano like once or twice, for ten minutes at a time. Like I said, don't look too much into that. Generally when I play piano, I wear a hearing aid which works much differently for me than it would for anyone who was deafened at an early age, or with a sensorineural hearing loss... and really music, chords, notes, melodies, whatever, don't sound much different at all than they did when I was hearing. Anyway, I think shel90 might be right =)
 

Pattypoundcake

New Member
Shel, thank you for telling me this. That is exactly what I am trying to avoid. I don't want to force him into anything. I will also make sure his parents aren't forcing him into it, since I do have all of his siblings and the parents are really into it. I am sorry your music teacher caused you so much anxiety.
 

jillio

New Member
If you want to go with some more melodic than straight percussion, what about bells (xylophone)? They are also clearly marked, which will allow for some assistance instead of having to play by auditory recognition alone.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
Shel, thank you for telling me this. That is exactly what I am trying to avoid. I don't want to force him into anything. I will also make sure his parents aren't forcing him into it, since I do have all of his siblings and the parents are really into it. I am sorry your music teacher caused you so much anxiety.

That was back in the 70s and early 80s when ignorance about deafness was rampant. I assume it is better nowadays?
 

Pattypoundcake

New Member
Shel, I sure hope so...I am taking a few classes in grad school right now where some of the reading is extremely out of date (one book I had to read mentioned that 90% of deaf people are also retarded...obviously the author never met any deaf people? And that was written in 1990)...thankfully the only reason we have to read the stuff is to see what the old perceptions were and how they have changed.

Jillio, I have considered that! I have been reading a bit about Evelyn Glennie who is a very famous keyboardist who is profoundly deaf. The only problem is, I get conflicting information on what that actually means. Her wiki entry says she has limited hearing, but unfortunately I have little understanding still. I think I will suggest it to him, because you are right, with the notes written right on them it might ease him in.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
Shel, I sure hope so...I am taking a few classes in grad school right now where some of the reading is extremely out of date (one book I had to read mentioned that 90% of deaf people are also retarded...obviously the author never met any deaf people? And that was written in 1990)...thankfully the only reason we have to read the stuff is to see what the old perceptions were and how they have changed.

Jillio, I have considered that! I have been reading a bit about Evelyn Glennie who is a very famous keyboardist who is profoundly deaf. The only problem is, I get conflicting information on what that actually means. Her wiki entry says she has limited hearing, but unfortunately I have little understanding still. I think I will suggest it to him, because you are right, with the notes written right on them it might ease him in.

Made in 1990 and the book said 90% of deaf people are retarded??? Oh my gosh! That's sooo wrong! I am deaf and definitely not retarded...lol. I would expect that from a book made in the 1940s or 50s but in 1990??? That's frightening!

Can u tell the professors that u have a good source telling u that this book needs to be thrown in the dumpster and get a more updated and accurate book?
 

jillio

New Member
Shel, I sure hope so...I am taking a few classes in grad school right now where some of the reading is extremely out of date (one book I had to read mentioned that 90% of deaf people are also retarded...obviously the author never met any deaf people? And that was written in 1990)...thankfully the only reason we have to read the stuff is to see what the old perceptions were and how they have changed.

Jillio, I have considered that! I have been reading a bit about Evelyn Glennie who is a very famous keyboardist who is profoundly deaf. The only problem is, I get conflicting information on what that actually means. Her wiki entry says she has limited hearing, but unfortunately I have little understanding still. I think I will suggest it to him, because you are right, with the notes written right on them it might ease him in.

Especially if he has no experience with any kind of instrument.

A lot of his ability will depend on his discrimination, and that varies widely between deaf indviduals, both with a CI and without. My son, for instance, is severely to profoundly deaf. He does not use a CI. However, as we are a musical family, he has been exposed to an eclectic mix of music since he was born. He has an amazing sense of rhythm and timing. Also, he has learned to distinguish melody differences not just with his residual hearing, but with his kinesthetic senses, as well. He can come into a room where I have a CD on, stand close to the speaker, and 8 times out of 10, tell me who the artist is. It freaked me out the first couple of times he did it! He has explained to me that certain vocals hit him vibrationally in different parts of his body, and the style of specifc artists are picked up through timing. It makes sense, as I know that when listening to strings, for instance, I feel them in them in my shoulders and head because of the thinness of the sound. And certain voices I perceive differently kinesthetically. I have a friend who is a blues singer whose voice just reaches out and wraps all around me. My nephew has one of those voices that kind of caresses you. I'm sure my son has some innate, inborn perception advantages, as my whole family has kinesthic reactions to music, and I think he simply inherited that and has adapted it to his deafness.

I look forward to hearing how it goes with your student. Please keep us informed as the school year progresses. I applaud you for not discouraging him from attempting to play an instrument simply because he is deaf.
 

jillio

New Member
Made in 1990 and the book said 90% of deaf people are retarded??? Oh my gosh! That's sooo wrong! I am deaf and definitely not retarded...lol. I would expect that from a book made in the 1940s or 50s but in 1990??? That's frightening!

Can u tell the professors that u have a good source telling u that this book needs to be thrown in the dumpster and get a more updated and accurate book?

I'm not in favor of book burning, but I'd be tempted in this case!:roll:
 

Pattypoundcake

New Member
Made in 1990 and the book said 90% of deaf people are retarded??? Oh my gosh! That's sooo wrong! I am deaf and definitely not retarded...lol. I would expect that from a book made in the 1940s or 50s but in 1990??? That's frightening!

Can u tell the professors that u have a good source telling u that this book needs to be thrown in the dumpster and get a more updated and accurate book?

LOL yes, actually the professor for the class petitioned the family of the author of the other book to "update" it and was rejected...so she is writing a new one. She is fabulous and you know, actually does her research! There is very little out there in the lines of reading for music teachers when it comes to deafness, blindness, etc.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
To the OP, are u aware that there is music in American Sign Language? When I see songs sung in ASL, I feel the emotions from the song as opposed to hearing it with my limited residual hearing. Yes, I love to listen to music but only for the beat and the rhymth (geez I spelled it wrong, didnt I?). In some cases, I can identify the song or the artist playing.

However, for me to sing..forget it. I was forced to sing in choruses and I always had someone standing by pointing the lines out but as a deaf person, how the heck was I supposed to know which notes to hit and all that? So I just lip-synched..even at a very young age like 7 or 8, I developed survival tools to get thru anything that made me perform musically and fooled so many people. The point was that my anxiety levels always shot up several notches and looking back, I dont think that was right to do that to a child especially when it was at no fault of mine.

When I learned ASL, I finally got to feel and understand music in a way I never did before. Finally got to cry during songs and all that.
 

Pattypoundcake

New Member
Especially if he has no experience with any kind of instrument.

A lot of his ability will depend on his discrimination, and that varies widely between deaf indviduals, both with a CI and without. My son, for instance, is severely to profoundly deaf. He does not use a CI. However, as we are a musical family, he has been exposed to an eclectic mix of music since he was born. He has an amazing sense of rhythm and timing. Also, he has learned to distinguish melody differences not just with his residual hearing, but with his kinesthetic senses, as well. He can come into a room where I have a CD on, stand close to the speaker, and 8 times out of 10, tell me who the artist is. It freaked me out the first couple of times he did it! He has explained to me that certain vocals hit him vibrationally in different parts of his body, and the style of specifc artists are picked up through timing. It makes sense, as I know that when listening to strings, for instance, I feel them in them in my shoulders and head because of the thinness of the sound. And certain voices I perceive differently kinesthetically. I have a friend who is a blues singer whose voice just reaches out and wraps all around me. My nephew has one of those voices that kind of caresses you. I'm sure my son has some innate, inborn perception advantages, as my whole family has kinesthic reactions to music, and I think he simply inherited that and has adapted it to his deafness.

I look forward to hearing how it goes with your student. Please keep us informed as the school year progresses. I applaud you for not discouraging him from attempting to play an instrument simply because he is deaf.


That is INCREDIBLE. Your son sounds like an amazingly perceptive little boy! How neat to be able to feel music like that...I can hear it and I don't think it effects me as much as it must effect him (and you!). I will definitely update on how my student is doing. I am very excited to have him this year, because I teach in a very small country school and I have never dealt with any hearing impaired or deaf children at all. My grandmother is severely HoH and has always been a music lover, but she doesn't like to talk about it or for anyone to even mention her hearing (she lost it at about 14 due to some medication..thats all I Know).
 

jillio

New Member
That is INCREDIBLE. Your son sounds like an amazingly perceptive little boy! How neat to be able to feel music like that...I can hear it and I don't think it effects me as much as it must effect him (and you!). I will definitely update on how my student is doing. I am very excited to have him this year, because I teach in a very small country school and I have never dealt with any hearing impaired or deaf children at all. My grandmother is severely HoH and has always been a music lover, but she doesn't like to talk about it or for anyone to even mention her hearing (she lost it at about 14 due to some medication..thats all I Know).

Yeah, he amazes me a lot of the time, too. But he's all grown up now....22! I'll reiterate on what shel said about music in ASL. My son participated in a signing choir at his Deaf school.
 

overthepond

New Member
As a profoundly deaf person, HA's all life and came from oral deaf high school who takes music seriously, we chose a instrument when we first started, I chose Piano.... We had couple of hours of music a week and most of us did well. I got to Grade 5 or 6 in electronic keyboards i think (can't remember)
we used to take our shoes off so we can feel the beats of drums, other beating instruments through floor boards (evelyn glennie does this too and we have met her few times)

We also have semi famous musican from my school (she was a year below me) who is Professional classical flautist... her name is Ruth Montgomery w w w . r u t h m o n t g o m e r y . c o . u k She also teaches music.

I am now an implantee due to be switched on in 2 weeks... no idea how music sounds with those yet.

Would be interested in how the boy progress.
 

Bottesini

Old Deaf Ranter
Premium Member
As a severely hard of hearing person, I may be more like your CI boy than the profoundly deaf.

I learned to play the bass as a child as I could hear it and enjoyed it very much.

You could test him on different instruments to see what he can hear.
 

sweetstarz

New Member
That was back in the 70s and early 80s when ignorance about deafness was rampant. I assume it is better nowadays?

In my experience, not much (I went to school from 1989-2002 all the way through)... unless, of course, the particular school has a special-needs advocate (which my high school did, and until then I never felt the least bit mainstreamed).
 

Defmusicman

New Member
As a hearing-impaired musician (guitars and bass) who wears hearing aids, I cannot begin to imagine what it's like to wear CI's. I applaud you for encourging the young man in your class to try a musical instrument and I hope he finds something that will keep him interested. Please find out WHAT he can hear as far as musical notes/chords and frequencies are concerned and then try to match him to an instrument that he will not only enjoy playing, but one that is also suited to his hearing ability. Good luck and I take my hat off to you and the young man in your class. BRAVO!
 
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