During spring 2014, we collaborated for the first time with Sense, the national charity that works with and supports people of all ages who are deafblind or have associated disabilities.
A group of deafblind children and other family members took part in our creative:connection project, working under the guidance of two of our professional musicians. Using a variety of instruments – and iPads – designed to stimulate a range of senses including sound, touch and sight, they experienced sound and vibrations through playing the instruments themselves and worked collaboratively to create soundscapes and melodies.
Chandni wears a cochlear implant on her left ear. She is partially sighted and experiences pain when there are bright lights. She cannot see people very far away, so relies on her cochlear implant. She can walk by herself, and can climb stairs with a rail. When it is windy, she feels wobbly but can walk well indoors. To speak, she needs to see faces and lip-reads to help her. This is her experience of creative:connection.
“This is the first music project I have done outside school. At school, we have music day, where we learn about instruments. For example, once we did Hawaii, and played ukuleles and did dancing. I loved learning how to play New World instruments with Create because those instruments are basically not from England. I liked the Cahon best.
“Playing with the instruments in general and performing were my favourite parts of the workshops! And the Bollywood dancing. The others participants liked my ideas, I think, because they always agreed with them. They always listened when I was giving ideas. This made me feel happy because at school, normally we don’t listen to each other as much. We only agree on the same things sometimes.
“I love music because it makes me relax. Music is good for you when you’re deaf because you’re not being stressed on what you’re not hearing. I enjoyed singing songs and putting them together. The workshops made me feel a bit more confident – showing people what I can do. The workshops have given me something to talk about at school, I’m not at home just sitting on my Mac all the time – I have got something to do. They’ve also taught me to be more considerate: I think I should let others speak first because I’m always speaking first. I made good friends, friends with people who have the same problems as me, similar.”
Name changed to protect anonymity.
This story is from 2014.