December 5, 2010

Piano Concert

So many people (professionals included) think that a hearing loss prevents a person from enjoying music, let alone playing an instrument. Music has been a big part of Hadley's life from day one; taking her to music classes, joining a children's chorus, and practicing the piano are just natural extensions of her interest in music. The fact that music helped develop her auditory skills is just gravy.

Every year, Hadley performs at the Cranberry Hospice Festival of Trees. This past weekend, she performed two pieces on the piano, including the Skater's Waltz with another student. I've edited this video, as it involves another child, but Hadley is the student wearing the white shirt, playing the melody. Playing this duet was a challenge. Hadley received the music just last month and only started playing with her partner a week or so ago. They played without listening to each other and just raced to the end of the piece, losing the rhythm almost immediately. No matter what the teacher did, Hadley couldn't connect what she was playing to the accompaniment. I was beginning to think this was out of reach for her, right now (Hadley spends more time brushing her teeth than she does practicing the piano!).

Just a few hours before the concert, Hadley asked me to practice with her. We broke it down, section by section. We played it through, over and over, for about ten minutes. We were never perfect, but definitely improved enough so Hadley could hear how the two parts worked together. At the very least, I thought, Hadley was more confident. That could only help things.

Since this is not a made-for-tv movie, Hadley and her friend did not nail the piece. They kept it together until the final tricky part, but got through to the end. What I loved was how the two of them were visually checking in with each other (it might not be as apparent with the editing) as well as listening to attempt to correct themselves at the end. Fingers were flying, nerves jangling, but both girls used their own hearing to make music together.

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