Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sound of Silence

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By: Emily B.

Since the beginning of time music has been a way of communication. It expresses feelings and gives people a way to escape from reality for moments at a time. Stop and think for a minute about how you listen to music. Do the lyrics you hear make you feel happy or comforted? Is there a tune you just can’t get out of your head? But what if you couldn’t hear the music? Could you still enjoy it? Ambassador Leader and former Girl Scout Laura Lenz says, “Yes, music is for everyone; even the hearing impaired can enjoy music without actually hearing it!”


Lenz is a board certified music therapist, a health professional who uses music to help people with all different kinds of problems. She says that the deaf respond more to the rhythm of music than the sound. They feel it more than they hear it. Very few people are 100% deaf, so most hearing impaired can hear something.
During therapy Lenz has met sweet young kids who couldn’t get enough of music. “They were fascinated by the drums I brought and loved marching around to the beat!” she said. But if you can’t hear the beat of the drums then how can you interact with it? The answer is in the rhythm of it. Everything that we do in our lives is to a rhythm. Our heart beat, or blood flow, our eating, and breathing are all in rhythm. Also, being able to feel vibrations is a big part of music too. When you go to a concert you can feel the sound from all the amps vibrating throughout your body. Not only are you hearing the music, but feeling it. Lenz came up with a game for her students where they would close their eyes and whenever they thought that they heard a drum beat they would raise their hands. “The awareness of presence and absence of sound was one of their goals and they absolutely loved playing this game,” Lenz said. 
But these aren’t the only methods when it comes to music therapy. Many therapists use light shows and moving art to describe the wonders of music. The kids will connect the colors and movement to the vibrations and have a whole new understanding of melodies and sound. “Good food tastes better when it’s presented in a beautiful way. For the deaf, if you pair music with a visual experience, I would imagine it helps bring everything to life!” says Lenz.
So let’s dispel the myth that deaf people can’t experience music. They feel it, they see it, and they respond to it every day. As Lenz would put it, “music is something that can be enjoyed by everyone! Music is everywhere, it’s natural, and it’s FUN!”

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