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Deaf Music - Not an Oxymoron

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Music, in some parts of our deaf communities, functions as a trigger because it would sometimes exclude deaf folks from bonding with hearing families, friends, or lovers.

One of my ASL Musicality students (name excluded) mentioned that he loathed holidays because the music was the main focal point of his family gatherings. He felt like it was a chore, trying to follow along with everybody else that he'd elect to just sit and watch his family gather around the dance floor, dance synchronized dances, and sing the words of a famous song lyrics without him.

My other student chimed in and said he would get frustrated whenever his family turned the radio on while in the car because whenever a popular song came on, they would immediately stop what they were doing and sing along to the lyrics together. It had inadvertently excluded him from a family bonding moment almost instantly.

So when I embarked on my journey as a deaf music lover, I was and still am on a mission to find a way to dismantle the stigma that music is only limited to those who can hear.

To me, music is the language of our souls and because deaf folks have souls, we all are fully equipped and capable of enjoying and embracing music on our own terms.

With that in mind, I hosted a Deaf Music Camp in 2009, published numerous ASL Music Videos, and ASL Musicality online asynchronous course. I am also thrilled to see more deaf scholars tackling music through bilingualism and language play. There is still much more work to be done and questions to explore but I hope you'd join us as we continue to push the needle toward the magical world of musicality.

With love, Rosa Lee

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