Final:                              Music Appreciation

What music has taught me, how it’s helped me and what it means to me.

By Michelle

August 20, 2016

People have asked me before. Being deaf does music affect you the same as it affects people who hear? And to be honest I’ve wondered that myself. But I’ll tell you what I’ve come to learn about music and how it’s affected me. Perhaps you can be the judge if it affects you the hearing I the same way it’s affected and impacted my life.

One of the first things I’ve learned over the years about music is I’ve learned that everybody appreciates music in a different way. How each person appreciates music changes sometimes throughout their lifetime. I’ll explain how it’s changed in meaning and definition for me over the years.

For me and like most people my appreciation for music started when I was young. But I couldn’t hear it so the words weren’t what affected me. For me in the appreciation came from the fact that when other people dance I could see how their bodies moved and I could feel what they felt. This first awareness of music allowed me to join in and be part of the music, part of the moment and part of the group. In a way music allowed me to feel what others could hear.

I know it’s hard to say it like that but that’s what music was to me. When I was very little music was just a way to join in and be part of what everybody else was doing. It allowed me to be part of what everybody else was enjoying. In a way I was normal and not handicapped when I could dance to the music because I could see others and I could move like they moved. I could find a rhythm that allowed me to be part of the bigger world.

I enjoy moving and dancing and for me that connection to music was also my connection to the hearing world. So while others listen to music for the words there was some deeper meaning for me. The deepest among these meanings was being part of something of the world where I didn’t normally fit in and where I couldn’t imagine otherwise.

Over the years I learned to feel the music in the floor and in the air. It became more than just watching other people as I got a sense of the music for myself. It became a way to express myself and do things that people just thought I couldn’t do because I was deaf. Music became an outlet to solitude. It became a way of connecting with parts of me that I didn’t know I had and a world I could only dream of being part of.

A few years ago I finally got the gift of sound. I could actually hear music and my doctors used music to teach me to hear and speak. So now I’ve used music to learn pitch and tone, I’ve used music to learn rhythm, and I’ve used music to learn words.

So now I have a new appreciation of music, since in my younger days. It’s no longer just about fitting in now. It’s about a chance to express myself and make myself heard. It’s a way of putting myself out there and connecting with people on a deeper and more meaningful level.

It’s become a way of connecting with myself on a deeper level. A way of pushing myself to learning and experience new things again. It’s become a way to capture and heal the child inside as I learn to connect with music the way others do.

So while I may not appreciate music in the same manner as my classmates. I can assure you my appreciation is every bit as deep and profound. Music has personal meaning to me and always has from allowing me to fit in, to allowing me to express myself. Music has taught me to be me. I’ve learned new words, I’ve learned to not just speak to fit in. I’ve learned to stand how to stand out. Music is more than being part of the crowd now and is more about my personal expression.

And while I don’t listen to music in the same way as my classmates as the loud music bothers me when I have my ears on. I still have to take my ears off to appreciate the music the way I used to. I can still feel it in the air and in the floor. No it’s a choice of whether I hear it or feel it.

As a mother of a daughter who is deaf I’m teaching her to feel the music. I hope by teaching her now how to feel the music she will be able to do more than just “fit in”. Hopefully she gets a sense of purpose and of community in the same manner I did. I’m hopeful by her learning to feel the music that she’ll develop an enjoyment and not just because it allows her to be part of what others are doing. No my wish is that she learn to step into her own and connect with herself as well as others through music.

It took me a while before I came into my own. Music morphed for me into phases of my life and it certainly allowed and helped me to grow both personally and spiritually.

I can’t honestly say as some of my classmates can, that this class was a breeze for me. But I can honestly say, though I’ve struggled and I’ve been frustrated at times, I’ve also learned a tremendous amount about myself, about music, and about how others see music.

While I’ve struggled hard in this class. I’ve also grown in so many ways. I sincerely didn’t expect to grow as I have. I guess that’s one more thing that I can appreciate about music. It’s constantly teaching me, stretching me, and making me a better me.

I’ve learned music is very deep and an extremely personal thing. I’ve learned that no two people appreciate music in the same way or even for the same reasons. If you ask ten million people about a song you are likely to get eleven million reactions.

Music has been around since the caveman days. From our earliest times, man has tried to connect with nature, with God and with each other. Sometimes man has used music merely to connect with himself. Music has been one of the key catalyst to many discoveries and connecting with the world around us.

So much like music has taught me so very much and continues to teach me, so does it teach every human being who has ever been touched by it. And though our tastes in music very, the types of songs, the words we love, the beat, the melody, the message and the intensity. Every song has a meaning that is deep and personal. Every song can touch a heart, cause a tear or lift us up. Music can bring us closer to our ancestors, closer to God and even closer to each other.

I learned that when I wrote my own song titled “What does one voice mean” that I was able to reach out and hopefully elicit some primal feeling in others. Music touches our very souls and I guess that was my appreciation for music all through my life.

Music lead me to questioning whether my voice means anything at all. It helped me express my happiness to join the hearing world and when I did I realized just how silent that world can be. I mean we speak to each other all the time but do we truly hear each other? The sea of deafening silence among the incessant chatter and noise.

In the end my voice matters to me and if my words touch another, if my song of life makes a difference to someone than everything in this world was worthwhile. Every moment and every trial, every joy and every celebration. It was all part of the song of life and the music of our souls. To me that is what music is. To me music is about the song that tells our story. It’s part of who we are and it guides us along and teaches us to expand who we are and what we know.

Music touches us, moves us, teach us, connects us and defines us.

So that is my appreciation for music, because music is life.

Michelle

August 20, 2016

Music appreciation for life