My name is Frieda and I am hearing impaired. Here, you will find stories of my life growing up and what it is like for me to be a wife, a mom of two boys, and hearing impaired.

Monday, September 13, 2010


In my last post, I mentioned that I play the piano for the Primary children in my church.  A hearing impaired person playing the piano?  Yes, it's true.

Many years ago, my sister, two years older than me, was taking piano lessons.  I would sit next to her and listen to her practice every day.  I began begging my mom to let me take piano lessons.

"But you're not old enough," my mom would tell me.
"How old do I need to be?"
"Old enough to read."  This was the piano teacher's requirement.

I was only five years old and in kindergarten.  I knew my A, B, C's, but did not know how to read.  I begged and persuaded my mom further, just knowing that I could play the piano...I wanted to learn to play so desperately.

Why was I so desperate?  It was because I had never heard nor paid much attention to music.  My earliest recollection of music was cranking up the volume of a small, battery operated radio and holding it smack dab against my right ear.  I didn't get to listen to it very long, as it was quickly snatched away.  In the middle of my Kindergarten year, I was fitted with hearing aids and music got my attention.

So, when I heard those beautiful notes coming from our black upright piano, I just knew I had to learn to play.  Grudgingly, my sister's piano teacher agreed to give me a try.

I learned to play on this black upright piano

I flew through Schaum's beginner's set of piano books and worked my way through the colors.  Green, red,  then blue.  I started practicing 15 minutes per day and gradually worked my way to 1 hour daily.  I learned to play the classics from Brahms, Beethoven and Chopin.  Recitals were held once per year in which we memorized a piece chosen by our teacher and performed it for all the parents and students.  Scales and chords were required and I dreaded learning them, as I did not see a practical purpose for them.

In the middle of my 7th grade year, I wanted to quit lessons and I did.  In reality, I probably should have switched teachers.  Seven years with one teacher felt like a lifetime.  She did, however, let me choose which Hymns and Primary songs to play, which I am grateful.

For a very short period, I had the goal to become a concert pianist.  I dreamed of playing difficult pieces, with my fingers flying across the keyboard.  I pushed myself, and slowly came to the realization that I had reached my limit potential.  If I played a wrong note, I didn't know.  The only way to know for sure was to look at my hands.

I now play the piano for my own enjoyment.  I can pick and choose any song I want to play.  Playing music that fits my mood.  Playing music to change my mood, uplift me, or for an escape.  I'm grateful that I can hear most of the notes from the piano and for my parents, who recognized a desire to play.

I love playing on my white baby grand!

Can you be deaf and enjoy music?  I'm sure you can.  I recently read an article about Sean Forbes, a deaf musician who helped form D-PAN (Deaf Professional Arts Network), and holds music concerts.  When I was in college and taking ASL (American Sign Language), a Sign/Song competition was regularly held every spring.

Do you enjoy music?  If so, what type of music do you listen to?  Do you play an instrument?  If so, I would love to know!

1 comment:

  1. Great! Came across your blog while researching. I'm a fellow pianist who is deaf/hh, too. Actually I'm a ragtime pianist. My blog with a few of my videos of me playing ragtime pieces.

    Love your white baby grand piano! Beautiful! Someday I'd love to get myself an Estonia grand piano.

    Keep playing and don't stop!