Wednesday, February 06, 2008

How to listen to music with your whole body

Evelyn Glennie almost completely lost her hearing by the age of 12 -- but she went on to become a successful Grammy-winning percussionist. In this video below, she talks about her art. Her talk is stirring, especially when she explains how she "hears" the music through her hands, her arms, her body. How the tiniest difference in sound can be "heard" in the tinest parts of her fingers.

She also talks about how the Royal Academy of London rejected her application to study music, because they were not prepared to accept a deaf musician. She challenged their decision, and finally got in -- although she had to audition twice. But her courage in opposing the rejection was that it made the Academy reconsider their selection criteria, where they can no longer reject any applicants on disability -- but only on their musical abilities. It's impelling, really.

Oh, and that Scottish burr of hers is quite fun to listen to.

[Link via Lilalia]


[In case the embedded video don't load, click here for the link to Evelyn Glennie's talk]

2 comments:

woyo chris said...

Now, that was an uplifting and entertaining talk! And I just loved watching her play ... percussion is such a visually expressive form of music, and she is just incredible.

Dark Orpheus said...

woyo chris Someone once said to me, "The drum is the instrument closest to the heartbeat." I liked that statement because for me, percussion music is very visceral: You can feel it in your chest.

I love what she said about the sound coming up her hand as she strikes the drum; The music, the instrument and her body are connected. The unity of it all - Can you tell how impressed I was by this video?

Personally I always have trouble coordinating my left hand from my right. So I really admire the energy and dexterity of a percussionist - it's impressive.