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This chapter tells about the life story of a Scottish girl named Evelyn Glennie. When she was eight years old, it was noticed for the first time that she had lost her hearing capacity to some extent. She managed to conceal it from her friends and teachers in the school. But when she was eleven, the case of her deals got confirmed. She had lost her hearing capacity in total. It happened as a result of gradual nerve damage. Everything had turned black for her.
But she did not give up to it. She was determined to lead a normal life. She learned music. A famous percussionist Ron Forbes helped her a lot in the learning of music. He encouraged her. Ile told her not to hear music through her ears but through some other way. She practiced hard and got success in listening to music through other organs of her body. She had learned to open her mind and body to sounds and vibrations.
She never looked behind from that point onwards. She toured the United Kingdom with a youth orchestra. At the age of sixteen, she decided to make music her life. She gave an audition for the Royal Academy of music. She scored one of the highest marks in the history of the academy. She had got a mastery of some 1000 instruments of music.
She could listen and understand even the minutes’ point. It seems impossible that a deaf person like her can respond to the things so fluently. She spoke flawlessly with a Scottish lilt. She says that music pours in through every part of her body. It tingles in the skin, her cheekbones and even her hair. When she plays the xylophone, she can listen to its music through the fingertips. By leaning against the drums, she can listen to the echoes in her heart. She performs barefooted on a wooden platform so that music may reach to her heart through her feet and legs.
In 1991 she was presented with the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious Soloist of the Year Award. She calls her a workaholic. Apart from the regular concerts, she gives free performances in prisons and in hospitals. She also gives high priority to classes for young musicians. She is a shining inspiration for deaf children.
This biographical feature is a brief account of how Evelyn Glennie, a Scottish musician, was able to achieve the greatest heights in the field of music despite the hearing impairment she suffered at a young age of eight years. Instead of yielding to the handicap, Evelyn pursued her dream and eventually made her way to the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Evelyn’s mother came to know about her daughter’s deafness when at the age of eight, the latter was to give her performance on the piano in school but could not hear her name being called. When her deafness was confirmed at the age of eleven, the headmistress of her school suggested that she should be sent to the school for deaf children. But Evelyn was not the kind of girl who could be discouraged.
Once, when she was demotivated by the teachers from playing upon a xylophone, Ron Forbes, a great percussionist, came to her rescue. He observed great potential in her and guided her on how to sense music through different parts of her body without listening through ears. She then opened up her mind and body to sense the sounds and vibrations of musical instruments.
Evelyn now dedicated herself to music and participated in a youth orchestra in the United Kingdom. Afterward, she moved from orchestra to solo performances. She got one of the highest scores in the history of the Royal Academy of Music when she gave an audition for it. At the age of seventeen, she moved to the Royal Academy for a three-year course and bagged the topmost awards during her career. With her unfaltering determination, she became the most eminent and most demanded percussionist who could play proficiently a large number of instruments. Not only did she speak flawlessly, but she also managed to learn French and basic Japanese.
According to Evelyn, she could feel music pouring in through every part of her body – her skin, her cheekbones, even her hair. She could feel the vibrations of instruments penetrate into her body through her bare feet. In 1991, she received the prestigious ‘Soloist of the Year Award’ presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society.
A person with a humane attitude, Evelyn gave free concerts in prisons and hospitals. With her efforts, she secured a significant place for percussion instruments in the orchestra. In fact, Evelyn Glennie is a great inspiration for all those who suffer from physical disabilities.
Evelyn Glennie is a virtuoso percussionist. She can play about 1000 instruments with perfection. She listens to sound without hearing it. Evelyn fought against a physical disability and became a source of inspiration for thousands of disabled persons. She was profoundly deaf. She was 11 years old when it was discovered that she had a hearing disability. She wanted to pursue her career in music but her teachers discouraged her, it was Ron Forbes who recognized her potential and supported her in achieving her goal. He advised her not to listen through her ears but try to sense and feel it in some other way. Soon she was excited. She felt the vibrations of the higher drum from the waist above and the lower drum from the waist down. Later she realized that she could feel the vibrations in every part of her body. She had learned to open her body and mind to the sounds and vibrations.
Evelyn joined the prestigious Royal Academy of Music and scored one of the highest marks in the history of the academy. She worked hard with strong determination. She got right to the top. In 1991, she was presented with the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious Soloist of the Year Award. Evelyn gives free concerts in prisons and hospitals. She is a shining inspiration for deaf children. She has accomplished more than most people twice her age. She has brought percussion to the front of the orchestra.