Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Musical Education for Formerly Deaf Man

Deaf man with new hearing aid hears music for the first time, asks, ‘What I should listen to next?’

Austin Chapman says he was "born profoundly deaf" and has "never understood" music--or the people moved by it.

"My whole life I've seen hearing people make a fool of themselves singing their favorite song or gyrating on the dance floor," Chapman, a 23-year-old filmmaker, wrote in a post on his studio's blog. "I've also seen hearing people moved to tears by a single song."

"[It] was the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around," he continued. "All music sounded like trash through my hearing aids."

But that changed earlier this week, Chapman says, when he tried a new pair of hearing aids for the first time in years:

I sat in the doctor's office frozen as a cacophony of sounds attacked me. The whir of the computer, the hum of the AC, the clacking of the keyboard, and when my best friend walked in I couldn't believe that he had a slight rasp to his voice. He joked that it was time to cut back on the cigarettes.

That night, a group of Chapman's close friends "jump-started" his musical education" with a crash-course: Mozart, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Sigur Ros, Elvis and Radiohead.

When Mozart's "Lacrimosa" came on, I was blown away by the beauty of it. At one point of the song, it sounded like angels singing and I suddenly realized that this was the first time I was able to appreciate music. Tears rolled down my face and I tried to hide it. But when I looked over I saw that there wasn't a dry eye in the car. [...]

I found "Lacrimosa" on YouTube, and it's lovely. I also found "Radiohead". ACCCCHHH! There is no comparison. The two must not even be used in the same sentence! But they frequently are. Welcome to our Brave New World.

Read the rest of the article to find out the further advice he was given for his musical education.

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