Music for the Deaf

The ability of hearing is neglected by many us, undoubtedly.  After all, most of us were born with this fundamental ability so we don’t think about how life would be without it.  But, just imagine for a moment that you are hard of hearing or unable to hear at all, how would this affect your relationship with the world of noise that is music?

It is naïve of us to think that people with hearing impairments are not interested in the musical world.  Of course, they will have a completely different experience to those who have the ability to hear, they may even concentrate on different elements of music and performance than those who do not suffer with deafness.

In Germany, there is a young woman, Laura SchwengberLaura possesses the phenomenal talent that is sign language and is able to give those, who do not have the capabilities to listen to the noisy world around us, an opportunity to enjoy music concerts and their lyrical content by signing to the audience. Deaf people approached Laura Schwengber, explaining that they were unable to enjoy concerts due to obviously not being able to hear them. Laura is able to bring life to the music and she even portrays their emotive content with her body movements.  In her own words, she can sometimes be “swimming in these songs,” depending on her mood and enjoyment of the music.

Laura’s process is relatively simple; she takes the text and translates it into German sign language whilst also taking into account the rhythm and the music. Naturally, like any other forms of interpreting there are some aspects of songs which are hard to prepare, so Laura concentrates a little harder on these areas without giving this impression.  With a fondness to appear on stage and express herself, she combines two passions, sign language and music. She is able to unleash this passion to a receptive audience, an audience with hearing impairments.

Laura provides the opportunity for people with hearing impairments to hear the world of music around them.


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