Saturday, October 17, 2009

Music, Audiology, Rhythm, and me

AudiogramImage by schoschie via Flickr
I met with the audiologist, Maxine Young, today. I am amazed at the wonderful intelligent people I am meeting on this journey and she is one of them.  Maxine Young is not only an audiologist but a singer.  She used to sing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Choir.  She is also a collaborator with the notable neuroscientist, Mezernich.
Maxine Young went over my hearing tests and my hearing is definitely impacted. On the first test, I scored 72% than the norm is 85%. On the second test,dichotic hearing, I passed but she could tell that it was a definite strain for me. For most people, this is a test that can be done pretty effortlessly. But I had my eyes closed and I was highly focused. It wasn't easy. The third test, tapping, I failed completely. I didn't get a single question right.

So, her recommendations are that I continue with the Tomatis method with A Total Approach. After I finish with them, I should do the Brain Fitness program by Posit Science. Additionally, I should arrive at meetings early and get a seat at the front of the room. I should try and set between three and 5 feet from a speaker. In larger meetings, it would be good to get a notetaker or use an FM transmitter.

Maxine Young is very optimistic about me. She is amazed at how much I've done with myself. She says I've been carrying at a house on one hand and three cars on another. A lot of people with less on their plate don't do half as much. So here's to you, my dear executive lobes, who have borne the brunt of all this. She thinks I'll be doing great in about six months and wants me to call her. I intend to do just that.

We talked about music. I asked her if I should just give up with music given that my hearing is so crummy. She told me to never give up with music. Maxine Young used to sing with the Pittsburgh Symphony chorus. She believes passionately in the power of music. She doesn't think that I could ever perform, but neither do I. I would just like to play well enough for friends and family to enjoy.

That night when I went home, I cried a little bit about not being able to hear all the things that everyone else can hear. But, I sat and thought about it. You know, death people can learn to play music. Beethoven was deaf, wasn't he? Well, I am no Beethoven bot I should be able to make the most of what I have. Maxine Young did recommend active listening. And I do believe that using whatever I have the fullest is going to bring it back as much as it can be brought back. So, I got my fingers tapping and searched on the Internet for teaching the deaf music. I found the teacher who is now at the Episcopal Academy on the Main line. He used to live in Bucks County so maybe he knows someone local here who would be a bit more patient than the average music teacher. I have just taken a piano class at Bucks County community college. My poor teacher was trying so hard to drum into me the basics of rhythm. 123, 123, 123. It was really frustrating for both of us. I explained I was having some neurological problem and he was kind to me with his grading.  But, I never really go rhythm… But Maybe after we do the Interactive Metronome with A Total Approach, rhythm will come to me.
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