Some reminders before we dive in: There are three different kinds of comments you need to make in these online discussions in order to earn full credit. Refer to the assignment description you received in class (also available here). The most effective comments in this kind of forum are concise, clear, and supported. Instead of responding to every conversation question in one comment, try to make shorter, separate comments that allow other people to digest and respond to your ideas.

Online discussion #5 is open for comments February 26-March 4.


 

Leonardo da Vinci - Vitruvian Man 1490
Leonardo da Vinci, “Vitruvian Man” (1490)

Our bodies carry us through the world. Sometimes we’re proud of our bodies; sometimes they fail us. Others react to our bodies: with pleasure, attraction, seeking comfort, recoiling in fear, or—before humans climbed to the top of the food chain—viewing us as prey. Each of our bodies is different, and that means we experience the world in slightly different ways: a space that feels claustrophobic to one person may feel cozy to another, or a distance that is easy to cross for one may be intimidatingly far for another. Weather that seems pleasant to you may be too hot, too cold, too sunny, or too windy for another person’s skin color, body fat percentage, or hair length. Your body is one of the first determinants in how you come to know the world physically and socially—how it feels, how it treats you, and your place in it.

One of the things that comes with living in a society is a sense of what is “normal.” We build doorways, cars, stairways, airplane seats, and clothing to fit the “average” body. Even the language we use implies that there is a baseline of normal, since we refer to some people as having disabilities or being disabled, but we don’t refer to other people as “living with abilities” or “being abled.”

Really, “normal” just average, the middle of the pack. And that means that almost no one is “normal.” We’re all above average in some aspects of our physicality and below average in others.

Bell-Curve

We’ve been talking a lot in class about our different listening experiences and all the things that influence them: our past experiences, how we listen, where we listen… The same array of possible factors affects what music a musician makes, too!

Music can be seen as a musician’s interpretation of the world, and their interpretation partly comes from moving through the world in their bodies—each person has a unique array of physical attributes as well as all the sensations, experiences, attitudes, and assumptions that come along with his or her body. A musician’s unique musical perspective comes from how they walk, the rhythm of their heart and lungs, the physical capabilities or limitations of their music making, how people treat them based on their appearance, and what they notice from their physical vantage point.

Let’s look at some musicians whose abnormalities—including physical and mental disabilities—shape the sounds they make.

Physical disabilities

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder

There are numerous examples of blind musicians throughout music history: Ray Charles (1930-2004) and Stevie Wonder (b. 1950) readily come to mind. And there are others, all of whom are imbued with a degree of reverence or magical awe by others, that somehow the loss of sight makes these musicians seem even more musically insightful

  • Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832), a German pianist-flutist-composer who lost his sight as a child when he tripped going down a set of stairs while hold glass containers, which shattered in his eyes
  • Blind Willie Johnson (1897-1945), a blues and gospel guitarist from Texas
  • Andrea Bocelli (b. 1958), an Italian pop-opera singer-composer
shakuhachi
Meditating shakuhachi players would wear a basket called a tengai to hide their faces while playing

The eyes are so important that 19th-century meditating shakuhachi players (see Online discussion #3) adopted a reversed version of this blindness, covering their faces so passersby would be “blind” to the identity of the person playing the flute, allowing the sounds they made to seem even more timeless and powerful.

Although the ability to see is crucial for much human interaction, it clearly isn’t an impediment to participating in music, which is a sonic medium. Deafness would be impossible for a musician, right?

That’s what Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) thought when he started going deaf at the end of the 18th century as a result of an infection, just as his career as a virtuoso pianist and composer was taking off. Suddenly, it was all gone: his livelihood, his life-long honed skills (he had been trained by his father from a very young age—remember Online discussion #2?), and the joy he

beethoven standing
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

took in listening to the birds and rustling grasses on his walks through the countryside. He already felt isolated and lonely—he wasn’t a particularly attractive man, and he didn’t have the patience to always mind his manners when speaking, to dress neatly, or to, basically, kiss ass to the wealthy aristocrats of Vienna. So he’s a loner, someone who feels like an outsider in society, and he’s losing his one consolation: his exceptional musical talent.

In 1802, Beethoven went to Heiligenstadt, the country town that inspired his Symphony No. 6 we listened to in class. He was distraught—what point was there to living if he couldn’t be “BEETHOVEN THE SUPER AWESOME TALENTED MUSICIAN”? And he decided to kill himself.

Beethoven house Heiligenstadt
The house where Beethoven would stay while in Heiligenstadt

 

Spoiler alert: he didn’t.

Instead, he doubled down on being the best musician he could be, on committing himself to creating music for the rest of his life, and did so because he believed the world would be worse off if he did not. Think about the gravity, egoism, and confidence of that position: that Beethoven was so sure of his talent, his creativity, and his role in the world that he believed depriving others of his music would make him feel worse than the physical pain, social discomfort, and frustration of going deaf.

He penned a document now known as the Heiligenstadt Testament, in which he states that it was “only his art that held [him] back.” You can read the full text here: Beethoven – Heiligenstadt Testament

Beethoven’s decision not to kill himself—and to base that decision on the necessity of continuing to make music—plays an enormous role in his legacy, making him a revered, admired, intimidating, and inspiring figure for musicians and non-musicians alike from the 19th century onwards.

Deafness is less of an isolating trait today than it was in Beethoven’s time; sign language hadn’t yet been developed, doctors didn’t understand what caused deafness, and the idea of finding “empowerment” through overcoming challenges wasn’t anywhere near as popular of a narrative then as it is today (stoic resignation was a much more common reaction or attitude). Antoine Hunter, in contrast, is a deaf dancer-choreographer who runs a studio for other deaf dancers in San Francisco, and his life’s work is devoted to the empowerment of deaf people:

 

Just as with Hunter, being attuned to vibrations, even without being able to hear all of them, is part of how Evelyn Glennie (b. 1965), a deaf percussionist from Scotland, is able to perform—she’s typically seen onstage barefoot so she can feel what her instruments are doing, and her 2003 Ted Talk describes how she learned to better understand the world by using her whole body:

 

Mental health

Amy Winehouse. Jimi Hendrix. Jim Morrison. Kurt Cobain. Chris Cornell. Chester Bennington.

Musicians who’ve suffered from mental illness and died from suicide and/or drug and alcohol overdoses seem commonplace. Mental health issues are common among musicians who are still alive and seemingly functional, as well, including anxiety disorders (Adele, Zayn Malik, Britney Spears, Barbra Streisand), eating disorders (Elton John, Paula Abdul Demi Lovato), depression (Lady Gaga, Sia, Bruce Springsteen, Kid Cudi), and performance anxiety (extremely common in the classical music world).

Mental illness can be debilitating, particularly because it often doesn’t seem as obvious to observers as, say, a broken leg or a runny nose. There’s also a long-standing myth that creativity and mental illness go together—that abnormality and freakish talent go hand-in-hand—and it’s untrue, but for people whose identities are inextricably linked to being creative on demand, doing anything that might jeopardize that “gift” (like seeking professional help) can often unthinkable.

We partly have Beethoven and other 19th-century musicians to blame—Beethoven likely suffered from bipolar disorder (his letters, conversation books, and descriptions by contemporaries suggest this diagnosis, even though contemporary medicine did not contain that vocabulary yet). People found the idea of a tortured artist to be quite compelling in the 19th century, and this carried over into the 20th and 21st centuries. There are other examples of 19th-century classical musicians with diagnosed mental illness as well, and these reinforce the crazy-creative myth:

  • Hector Berlioz (1803-69), who self-medicated with opium and other drugs
  • Robert Schumann (1810-56), who walked himself into a river in his bathrobe to drown himself but failed and was committed to a mental institution
  • Anton Bruckner (1824-96), obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93), whose depression was compounded by his shame over his sexual orientation and led to his suicide

When your body fails you

Then there are examples of musicians who don’t persevere—like Beethoven—and don’t spectacularly flame out at a young age—like Amy Winehouse—but whose bodies deteriorate and get the best of them over time, slowly changing or eliminating their ability to work: Lil Wayne and Prince, who both suffer from epilepsy; Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), whose compositional style changed as his brain deteriorated due to dementia; or Aaron Copland (1900-90), who simply could no longer come up with a single musical idea once Alzheimer’s set in (he lived for another 20 years after he last composed music in 1970).

Matisse - The Fall of Icarus 1943
The French artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954) turned to paper cutouts when his body would no longer let him paint after being diagnosed with cancer. The Fall of Icarus (1943)

“It was exactly as if someone had simply turned off a faucet.”

—Aaron Copland, describing his inability to come up with any musical ideas after his Alzheimer’s progressed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avoidable injuries that musicians give themselves

There are also disabilities caused by music making. Overuse and excessive practice habits can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and focal dystonia for instrumentalists. These injuries are common and often career-ending physical. There’s no cure for carpal tunnel syndrome (numbness and tingling in the hands and arms due to a compressed nerve) other than ceasing the activity that caused it—meaning, no more playing music. Focal dystonia, which causes involuntary spasms that contract muscles in the body, on the other hand, is neurological—it’s a problem in the brain caused by a “mismapping” of physical motions in the brain (the brain mixes up which muscles are activated by different parts of the brain, resulting in mixed signals). For musicians, this most often happens in the muscles they use to do the most precise work of playing their instruments: embouchures of wind and brass players, fingers of pianists. It’s possible to re-train one’s body and learn to play without triggering these spasms, as Chicago-based oboist Alex Klein was able to do.

The most common injury for singers is ruining of the vocal folds—Adele may never sing again because of her poor vocal technique, in which she creates a big sound by straining and tearing her vocal folds. Those kinds of vocal injuries are rarer in the classical world because operatic singers work with vocal coaches non-stop while in school and their professional careers to develop and maintain healthy technique. Melissa Cross is a vocal coach who works with metal and hardcore singers to be able to scream for hours on end, night after night on tour:

 

Music therapy

Music can also be used as a therapeutic tool to help people with all of the disabilities discussed above create a sense of home, belonging, and well-being. Making music is fun, motivating, social, and doesn’t rely on language skills—it’s an avenue for all kinds of people to find themselves.

When I’m not in class with you guys, one of the things I do is work at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, which has the largest clinical music therapy program in Brooklyn and provides music therapy in schools, senior centers, and community centers at 34 sites across New York City. (I’m not a music therapist; I do other work for the Conservatory.) The Conservatory works with 1,500 children, teens, adults, and seniors to help them reach their developmental, physical, social, and emotional goals through music therapy, including people with developmental, cognitive, and neurological delays; Autism spectrum disorders; Alzheimer’s and dementia; and emotional and psycho-social trauma.

Below is a quick but touching introduction to the work the Brooklyn Conservatory does in its music therapy program:

 

Final thoughts

Disability studies is an emerging area of inquiry in the musicological world, with publications only appearing in the last 8 years or so. In his 2011 book, Extraordinary Measures: Disabilities in Music, music theorist Joe Straus frames the concept of “disability” as a social construct, not a medical condition: our societal needs decide and define what is “disabling” based on what activities we collectively expect, need, or value. There are aspects of music making that thrive due to traits that might otherwise be disabling—social anxiety, narcissism, autism, obsessive compulsive disorder—but these traits can be crippling in musical contexts, too. We don’t typically tell the stories of musicians whose physical, mental, or neurological traits completely prevented them from achieving fame, accolades, or success*—just the ones who were normal enough to use their abnormalities to their advantage.

*But what is success, really?

-Dr. J.

 

No conversation-starting questions this week—I don’t want to dictate where the conversation goes, and there’s plenty to think about here without them!

168 thoughts on “Music and disability (Online discussion #5)

  1. As of now this is my favorite article. It’s crazy how the body and music can go hand to hand in a good and bad way. It does suck when your body can no longer provide what you want it to do but it doesn’t mean you should give up like we saw artists who didn’t in the article. Then there’s artists who aren’t mentally with us anymore and commit sucide. Sadly it’s always the great ones too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A question I have is do you think “success” is what every artist wants? Since some artists face depression after or even cover their face so they won’t be seen.

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      1. . i dont think every artist goal is fame and i personally wouldnt agree that everyone wants fame. as far as success , it comes in different forms. you can successfully play an piece of music which was difficult before, or you succeed playing not one but multiple instruments. success is different for all, everyone wants success. do you ? but in terms of what ..

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      2. I think it depends on the person I know people who do not even want to share their art because they are afraid what some people may have to say about. They are afraid of criticism but it all depends on the person some people do almost everything mainly based on recognition

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      3. I do belive every artist wants to be successful. Perhaps not to the length of what success means by definition, but, artists do have a level of success they’d want to achieve.

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        1. I agree with you @lauraavanessa but, I think the people who aren’t ready to share their art are insecure or they might perceive success in a different manner. For example, I used to have a tendency to be a perfectionist but, now I’ve come to the reality that not everything is going to be perfect but, I can try my best and that maybe my best will be enough.

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    2. I agree with this being one of my favorite articles! This article got my attention and I was just so into it. It is crazy how the body and music can go hand to hand in both a positive and negative way. I loved how even though there are people who go through stuff they just are strong and decide to do what they love no matter what.

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    3. I agree this article was pretty amusing to me as well and very inspirational. The fact that there are people out there who unable to hear still have the passion for music and to find a way to make it work for them , this makes me feel very fortunate and bless to even have the ability to enjoy music that I hear. sometimes as people we tend to forget the simple things.Things like how lucky some of us are to listen to music and enjoy the different sounds. To answer erv111 question which is a great question I don’t believe every artist wants success as much as recognition for their work. To further explain I believe its more important to receive credit for their art. if you value success just off the revenue that might not be as important to an artist than receiving credit for making their art and having people enjoy their art form.

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  2. I really like this week’s post. When it comes to playing an instrument or singing, a lot of people tend to overplay(except for classical music) rather than feeling the music and letting it breathe enough so the listener can connect with the performer especially when it is live.

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    1. I agree that a lot of music is over played when first discovered. However, I believe that it’s important for the success of the musical piece in terms of having its music spread out to the world. For every song that gets replayed on the radio there is a possibility there’s going to be a new person experiencing it for the first time.

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  3. This article is really nice becuase its crazy how your body can just stop you from doing what you love. For some they can overcome it and it can be actually a good outcome but for others its like what the man said ” turning off a faucet” . You completely forget everything you know its kinda sad . But its good for the people that can use those diabilities to grind harder like the dancer and beethoven.

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  4. This is my favorite article. I read a lot about music being a form of communication for austistic kids “idiot savant” which shows in some that are prodigious. I also notice how many musical geniuses suffer from some sort of mental or physical ailment. Even my two most favorite artists suffered from depression or addiction for a long time. My third favorite died of an illness at a young age. I always thought that there is a correlation between genuis and illness. Many artists have died at a young age, and they were the greatest of their time I might add. People like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, irreplaceable.

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    1. This is one of my favorite article as well because it made me feel happy to know that music can inspire anyone no matter who you are.

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    2. This also my favorite article because despite being disabled or having a mental health illness, you should be proud to do the things you were born to do. Every musician go through medical issues, but they won’t let that stop them from doing what they do best creating music.

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  5. This article was really facinating from the beginning till end in the beginning it reminded me of my professor
    when i was doing bachelors in my country she was blind and her memory was very sharp she told us everyday from where to begin our lectures she never forget anything . she had a wonderful family with kids. i read about Friedrich ,Beethoven their stories inspired me a lot . I am a big admiror of this kind of personalities.
    The second thing which is admirable is the school where musical theraphy is given to the kids and elder people. But i feel sad for those people who has problems in their vocals because of their loud singing .

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  6. What is passion that keep people involve in their works even if they have disabilities or they reach to health issues? is the passion by birth or people develop it?

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    1. interesting question , i would say passion is something you developed. being passionate about something you never done or encounter makes me question your credibility. for example, stating your passionte about being a musician but never created any piece of music.. seem kind of unlikely. i believe passion comes after you’ve expierenced and can feel a like or dislike for that particular thing.

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    2. @imagineraining525gmailcom Passion is something that you’re excited and is passionate about it doesn’t matter if you have a disability if you’re passionate and want to do something it will happen. In addition I believe passion is developed because as you grow older your emotions change and your passion can change too.

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    3. I personally think are both; by birth and/or develop. Some people have that passion and love for an specific area, but I had also seen people that along their lives they had ended doing/learning something that they had never thought about and had turned to be and put their time and effort in this new area as their passion.

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    4. I think a stubborn person who directs this trait into what they love doing will create the passion to stick by it forever. Anything else that happens along the way they look at it as material and fuel.

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  7. I really enjoyed reading this article. Not only does it describe how the body works to play music but also shows the consequences the body develops from being a musician. The article illustrates the pains some musician face to create something they’re passionate about. I would feel devastated and defeated to give up on something i’m passionate about. But the artists described are pure inspiration that music can be created regardless of disabilities. I love how the shakuhachi was created where it covers a person’s appearance to ” blind” the audience to focus more on the music being created. It shouldn’t be about a person apperance or ability. More about a person’s talent. Imagine you’re an flawless pianist and delevops an compressed nerve. Would you allow an disability to deter you away from your talent? I wouldnt! There’s so many alternative ways to learn to plays, and with practice comes perfection. Another interesting topic that caught my attention was the normalization on mental illness and musicians. I feel as in today’s society mental illness is something that is pushed under the rug. It should be a topic that one should feel comfortable confessing rather than turning to unhealthy outlet, such as drugs. That way seeking help wouldn’t seem so taboo. We should make others feel comfortable that battling with yourself and mindset isn’t healthy but seeking help is okay.

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    1. @stephmills43 How would you help others become more comfortable with battling their inner self if they’re not open to seek help?

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  8. i agree with jiggajo that sometime a person want to accomplish more ,he wants lo live like how he wants.
    but he couldnt because he face some obstacles in which he can’t do anything this is very sad i never want to face this kind of situation .

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  9. When we think about artists, and musicians I feel like sometimes we may forget that they’re humans as well and they go through what we all go through in life. Just because they are musicians/artists do not make them any different. It’s crazy how music can be a positive thing like helping children with disabilites but yet it can be negative towards the ones who play the music by leading them to carpal tunnel syndrome and focal dystonia. There are some who go through depression, anxiety, eating disorders which are things that we do to ourselves but then there are things that we aren’t in control of like being deaf, or blind. Life is crazy and that’s why I believe that no matter what we go through we need to appreciate the little things because anything can change anything can be taken from us in a blink of an eye. LOVED this article!

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  10. Wow Music is such a powerful tool you look at Music Legends like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder who has disabilities and even with their disabilities their is something that connects them to us and that’s music. It was always fascinating when growing up how Stevie Wonder could play an instrument and perform for many different people around the world even while having a disability. This made me realize music holds no boundaries no matter your walks of Life it will connect different people around the world. I also read and article online and this quote stood out to me it says that “Disability both shapes and is shaped by culture, including musical culture.” Very important quote.

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  11. My question is what leads artists/musicians to depression, anxiety, eating disorders etc? Is it the pressure they have from the public?

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    1. I don’t think it’s exactly the pressure from the public; but rather the desire to escape reality. Sometimes artist live in alternative world in their heads which is what leads to having such innovative creative ideas.

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    2. I personally don’t think is the pressure from the public because not all musicians have depression, anxiety or eating disorders. No matter how famous, success or money an artist ( or any other person) can be or have that does not guaranty to any of them to feel plenty and fulfilled but, the love and peace that comes from God is the way to fulfill any emptiness.

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  12. My question is why don’t some Musicians preserve? You would think after making all that money they would have everything necessary to help them.

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    1. In my personal opinion, I don’t think money is the only resource that can console although it can help provide for a lot of essential things and also the fact that someone’s financial independence can eliminate so many problems but still that doesn’t mean that it’s the biggest factor for when someone perseveres. Maybe the problems that a musician experiences can be solved with a proper support system like having real and honest supporters in their corner. When someone is in this position that they’re on top with money and fame it’s inevitable that their lifestyle changes of course that they can’t just go out peacefully without being approached by people and that they have to be more aware of their surroundings because not everyone a “successful” musician would encounter has their best interests. Although it may not be the root necessarily having real supporters in their corner wouldn’t hurt since the person thinking in the best intentions of the musician wouldn’t just act out of self-interest. As long as the musician really has someone in their corner they can definitely persevere, someone, feeling depressed and under distress could just be losing their touch with reality and the real support system behind those people can console them because they can assist with his willpower and probably help them bear their personal burdens.

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    2. Money is an object that comes and goes and once you have it all, what else are you working for? What’s important is the art and the reason/passion. Whatever comes after that; fame, money, etc is great and all but its all temporary. I guess many get consumed by the money that they lose themselves.

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  13. I’m a student with autism and I listen to music a lot because it helps me relax and it keeps me focused whether I reading, studying or doing my homework. Being autistic gives me an advantage of having music as a therapy tool. When I listen, I clear my mind and feel calm in the moment.

    I’m very proud that we have disabled artists performing their music in spite of their conditions. It makes us learn that we can beat the odds and achieve anything.

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  14. This was by far the best online discussion, yet I even read it multiple times and shared it with my father. He always tells me people who are very talented are often mentally and, in some cases, die young. I can relate this article to my dancing days. I recall practicing for hours to the point I would end up making mistakes with simple technique I knew by heart. Practicing is supposed to create confidence, but if its over done it will create insecurity. The problem with being a perfectionist is that nothing will ever satisfy you. My body making mistakes was its way of making me practice more, it was an addiction created by overthinking. ​I think we can all relate to this even with simple task such as studying. Here is an interesting article about overthinkinghttp://motivatedmastery.com/overthinking-kills-athletics-art/​

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  15. Question if music heals but can also make you sick ? how do you draw the balance? Is it possible to perfect without making yourself sick? why is art always associated with depression? does it heal?

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    1. I believe finding the right balance to something is extremely difficult. This idea of “having too much” is so common in our lives. We have too much social media dependency, too much junk food, too much alcohol. Although scarce, I do believe we can have too much music as you mentioned. What is too much music? It’s hard for me to say, but perhaps it’s when it’s to a point where we are physically and mentally affected by it? Perhaps it can correlate to a musician’s obsessive behavior of “perfecting” a song or even over-practicing.

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  16. Music is something that inspires a lot of people it doesn’t matter how you are. I think it is very interesting that music can inspire people with disabilities and the way they can connect with music to feel it. For example, Stevie Wonder, he amazes me every time I see him perform because he’s blind and the fact that he can play an instrument without seeing what he is doing is very talented. However, Evelyn Glennie was amazing as well because of her looks, you can’t tell that she is deaf because she knows how to play the instrument and when to stop. I think this inspire me because if they can do it then I have no reason to give up on something that I love. They taught me not to give up on my dreams and to go after what I love the most.

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  17. The video on the Brooklyn Conservatory was very touching and sad because you can look at their faces and tell that music makes them really happy and that made me happy because music makes them feel confident in themselves and it also make them feel brave. This is my favorite online discussion so far because its amazing how our body can learn something and it doesn’t who you are if you really love something or if it is your passion you should go after it and don’t worry about what anyone have to say about it.

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  18. Do you know someone who has a disability that give up what they love because they are scared of what others might say about them?

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  19. I have a few things I would like to speak about pertaining to this week’s discussion.

    Foremost, my favorite parts of this week’s article is learning about the many disabilities that musicians overcome in order to create. It’s interesting to note that we typically associate a “mental block” when musicians can’t find an inspiration to create new music, a spark if you will. However, upon reading this article, I was given the knowledge of how physical disabilities can hinder the artistic integrity of a musician. Steve Wonder and Ray Charles, who were both visually impaired, are considered legendary musicians who were able to see music differently than someone who still has their vision. This is fascinating because musicians truly believe that without physical features, our outlook into music would be amplified or enhanced. This is shown by the flute players who would wear a basket over their head when playing because they believed their face would hinder the music they put out.

    Secondly, It’s extremely fascinating to learn about the case of Beethoven. His perception of music and the world is truly astounding. Upon losing his hearing, he edged on suicide as his final option. This shows that he believed that he was Music. He lived Music. Even more, as he contemplated suicide, he decided to not go through with it because he believed his death would be a lost to the world. It’s a selfish thought, but doesn’t this prove Beethoven’s mental fortitude? The very thing he lives for is the thing that saved him in the end. Music.

    Lastly, it’s extremely admirable how one musician was able to keep playing percussions because she was able to feel the vibrations with her feet. It’s crazy how dedicated some people are to mastering their craft and overcoming their obstacles.

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    1. I agree with you it is fascinating to think some musician’s greatest work was created under the hardest circumstances.. perhaps that was the inspiration as music is a form of escape for those in pain..

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  20. My question for this week’s discussion is focused more on the idea of not seeing with your eyes. In the article we see that Musicians who were blinded were able to perform their music with more “sight”.

    My question is “Do you believe that the lost of vision really helped the musicians “see” music better? If not, do believe that their lost of vision isn’t really letting them see music better? Is their lost of vision driving and pushing them to become better musicians?

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    1. Most of the time we don’t realize or value how blessed we are on being able to do, see, speak or feel until any of those sense are missing. In the case of blindness specifically, a person who is blind tent to develop their other sense to a higher level which complements the one that is missing. With or without a disability I think that what makes them a better musician is the effort and the experience as the result of practice.

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    2. Once you practice an instrument long enough, you know where all the keys or the notes are, often enough. Music is more sound based, than visual based (though vision does help). Blind people depend on their hearing much more which is crucial to playing music.

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  21. To answer your question i think that the people who have disabilities have more sense to feel.
    as i posted a video ,an amazing lady was playing piano with the help of touch .so she was feeling and responding.
    I dont know about their inner feelings but i think that music gives them comfort.
    I am really impressed with people who enjoy or fight for their happiness , and those people who are the source
    of their happiness are really admirable.

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  22. this society that we live in today do not claim anything good we always pay attention to the bad, we mostly speak about the bad things happening in life more then the good.

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  23. i think musicians suffer from mental health problems because of all of the pressure put on them all of the time , they feel like they have to be the best and take either drugs or something to make it easier but ends up killing them or them having health problems,

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  24. Do you guys think an artist success is defined by fame or having created something they believe in, life’s work? legacy?

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    1. I believe its about the life work and potential legacy but all of that wouldn’t be recognized by the public is said artist wasn’t successful and popular to the public.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. @arid187
      I think it was more that in the past there was such a stigma against abnormalities such as blindness that there would be less opportunities for human interaction, as well as the fact there was less accessibility and opportunity to lead a “normal” lifestyle than in today’s society.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think it says before Beethoven was blind he wasn’t the type of person to kiss ass so the people around him didn’t like him.

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    3. Science wasn’t as developed as it is now. It was harder for people to understand the world around them, however, Beethoven was still able to conduct despite being blind due to vibrations, like how the article explained. A movie about Beethoven was made and the scene where he conducted while blind was inspiring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qWbcosJdtU If you watch the scene here’s an explanation: his dad was abusive and tried to train him to be the next Mozart, which is why he ran away from his father that one scene.

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  25. Now this article was really interesting and FASCINATING due to the fact that music doesn’t shame. And it shows anybody can literally make music with or without disabilities and for some reason it makes me more appreciative of it because you never know what is going on in the musicians life or head because i mean who really knows but them. But what i wonder is why do a ton of musicians suffer from something if they tend to have a successful career, usually, money in fact doesn’t bring happiness. But if music is a “therapy” why are they not able to cure themselves?

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    1. Hello @Michael . I totally agree with everything that you’re saying. I definitely feel more appreciative after reading this article. You just never know what’s truly going on in the musicians life or in fact anyones life.

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  26. In my previous school I took a disabilities studies course and once a week I met with my designated partner named Najoy. She had developmental issues that made it hard to communicate and form thoughts like “normal” adults. However on my very first time meeting her we bonded over our shared love for Kendrick Lamar and J Cole among other things. This really shows that music is universal and reinforced the take away of the course; which was those labeled as “disabled” are really just people who live their lives wanting to be treated like anyone else and have the same capabilities such as the ability to contribute, love and create music.

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  27. My question is to what extent do some of these disabilities actually benefit the artists? Are they able to produce amazing work in part due to their abnormal situations/perspectives like in the case of Vincent Van Gogh in artwork?

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  28. When I was in 5 grade, I read a story of Beethoven that how he practice the piano when he became deaf. It’s the first time I know the people who can not listen, to continue their music career through the tremors from every beats of instruments.

    This article gives me more details about how disability people are playing music. They are stronger than other people in mental and they are really focus on what they want to do or careers they love. Such as Evelyn Glennie, it must really hurts when her teacher said she didn’t fit in music world because she can not listen; or Beethoven was sneered by other people because he can not listen while he is a musician. But the thing is, music is a special thing for all of people around the world because people can feeling it with body physically, not just hearing.

    In the article, it’s also talking about that music is a good way for mental therapy. It’s understandable because music can effect the emotions of people. Sadness, happiness, tension, painful etc… music even can be memories of one person, or a period of experience. In another words, all human psychological sense included in music. I strongly agree with this part of article because I can find who I’m when I listen to the music. Music like a key which can open a path to a another world. For example, when I listen to Joe Haisaishi’s music, I can really feel the true inner peace he provided in music, the connection between human and nature. So music is the only magic belongs to this world.

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  29. This was a interesting topic for discussion. Im curious to find out more about mental illness having to do with musical talent. As if a chaotic mind produces a great artist. Bethoven being bi-polar probably lived a highly emotional life. Which may had helped him with his creative talents, which he could have used as a way to relieve stress as a need to express himself. Artist with a lot on the mind have the need to write it down . It can also turn into a compulsive thing to do. It starts to become second nature and with Bethoven that probably was the case. He could of had other traits of a addictive personality.

    Ray charles seeing disability could have been the reason why he was so gifted. It gave him a different perspective on how he saw the world through songs and music. He learned how to master something he didn’t need eyes for, that’s music ability. His disability could have made him more determined to get better at his craft. I believe he was able to feel the music by hearing the rhythms and notes of a song more intensely due to his lost of eye sight. It could have been a gift and a curse.

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  30. I didn’t realize that being a musician takes a toll on your mental health. After reading this blog post I saw the many artist that suffer from mental illness. I’m not sure if it was caused from preforming but that a crazy thought doing somyyou love can stress you out so much.

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  31. My question is did the artist thinking of new music cause them to get sick or was it the fame ?

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  32. Either in a direct or indirect way, music definitely influence mind and through the mind to the body as well. This article complements what we learned about how music influence our mind. The same way music helps people to develop, create, express or share a story, the artist who the talent comes from is also reached by the consequences, sadly for bad. Music is a way to express freedom with freedom. I will always say – your obstacle does no have to be an obstacle -. In the case of a “disability” – which I think that if you are able to work it out and overcome it is not a disability anymore, it could be music, driving, drawing or any other activity, as long as someone is really commit to accomplish it, any obstacle or disability will turn to be a purpose. Once again, music is a great tool for the health benefit.

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  33. wow! I definitely agree with my colleagues on this being one of THE best articles. This article had me in such an ‘awe’. It’s quite amazing and touching on what music can do. I remember when we did the first discussion with music and the brain and I posed a question about why aren’t people using music more for the people with disabilities if we know that people with alzheimer’s can remember bits and parts of their past by just LISTENING to music, then why not use music more as a therapy. So this article brought me to relief when I read that theres a conservatory that provides music therapy in schools, senior centers, and community centers at 34 sites across New York City. It warms my heart up with joy and fulfillment knowing there’s something out there for everyone.

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  34. My question would be can musicians be their own therapist then? If music is therapy and we have a conservatory strictly for music therapy for the disabled, then can musicians be their own therapist as well? Can that be such a thing? Does it depend on their disability?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel like music can be a good outlet to express themselves and is better than just bottling up their emotions but I personally, as a person with no psychological training, do believe that they’d still need a professional therapist who is trained in that field.

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    2. Music is a great self help therapy! Especially for children and the elderly. But we definitely all use it. But even therapists go see actually therapists when they need to. So music therapy is more of a cognitive method. Maybe the type of music depends on the disability? But music is universal

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  35. Looking at the stories about perseverance in the music industry remind of artists like The D.O.C. a heavy collaborator with Compton’s NWA because of his career and importance in hip-hop, he was someone that was fortunate enough to survive a life-threatening car accident but that same accident damaged and crushed his larynx, this changed his voice drastically forcing him to speak with a rasp. He’s an artist that persevered because other rappers probably would’ve stopped rapping and making music but he helped create some hip-hop classics like Dr. Dre’s The Chronic because of his lyrical songwriting abilities, he also put out albums Helter Skelter and Deuces. This same drive and perseverance still impact hip-hop today even as Tariq Trotter (Black Thought) name drops him in his December Funk Flex freestyle. “Same cadence as D.O.C., pre-accident”

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  36. My question is that nowadays in rap music, rappers really go out to create this intense and “lit” live performance by pulling stunts on stage by climbing to high areas or even jumping off of them, I just would want to know that what’s your take on this because of this, of course, it can lead to unnecessary injuries.

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    1. I think it’s just their way of having fun and enjoying their music at their concerts. Travis Scott & Uzi are both really hype artists & probably enjoy things like this.

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  37. This was my favorite blog post to date! First of all, it mentioned Kurt & Amy whom I love. But also because disabilities up until recently were stigmatized in the media. Amy Whinehouse was labeled as crazy for years but nobody really cared until she was dead because she was making great music. A lot of artists scream for help in their songs but the masses are too busy enjoying the music to notice. If none of them are your type, maybe think about how Future is whining about Ciara on his songs. I linked an article that goes more in depth about this & includes little snippets of Kurt, Ray Charles & Amy’s “cries for help”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/amy-winehouse-another-tragic-victim-of-manic-depression/2011/07/24/gIQAW3FJXI_story.html?utm_term=.6074c55af8b4

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    1. For many reasons , I believe its what the listener hears or want to hear. Some people don’t pay attention to the actually lyrics where the artist fully express themselves. Most people are fascinated by the beats or punch lines of a song. To fully understand and sympathize with the artist we have to be open minded and has to be something we can relate or have experienced because if not , the song may lose our attention. Another reason is the listeners current life situation and struggles. I believe listener tend to focus on their feeling and how they can relate to the song rather than vise versa .. meaning how can we relate to the artist or do we even care what the artist is going through. I’ll say real and fabricated music also comes into play, meaning many artist create music looking for hits that relates to real life situation but its not themselves actually expressing their current situation. for example , an r&b singer making tons of break up songs but have been happily married for years, kind of contradicting.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I feel like in todays age, you can never tell if their lyrics are their OWN life story or experience, of it it’s made up because it sounds “good” and “flows” together better. But when you can see it in someone’s ability to perform, the way they “cry for help” doesn’t resonate with everyone; I tend not to butt in when I see someone in need but sometimes I can’t help, maybe the public as a majority, don’t like to put in their opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. In my opinion, we ignore artists’ cries for help because we are too busy relating the lyrics to ourselves.

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  38. @erv111 I believe that everyone want success as a artist, but what make them depress is the pressure they have to go through and what they see the world for what it is after the success came.

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  39. I am really curious about the effects of music on the human brain in terms of therapy and neuro psychology.. My question is “can music strengthen parts of our mind, or also while creating hormones to battle illness inflicted physically/mentally?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hi @bahmlet I just read an article about your question and for the first part of your question about strengthening the brain I read that scientists found music to stimulate more parts of the brain then any other human function. there is a technique called the melodic function which uses music to coax parts of the brain to take over the damaged part and in some cases they found it gave patients the ability to speak again. and for the part about physical and mental abilities I found a very detailed article on that matter. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Why-listening-music-make-fit-fiddle-help-body-fight-infecti...

      Liked by 1 person

  40. this weeks article is one of my favorites that I have read to hear about major legends of our time and before our times with disabilities that worked together with their abilities wether it was to sing or dance is astonishing. people like ray Charles who was blind and Stevie wonder were the world became dark for them they were basically living in there own world it doesn’t stop them from achieving greatness going above and beyond the norm creating and singing music with their other senses listening. or Antoine hunter a deaf dancer and choreographer living in a silent world doing the loudest things dancing to music feeling the beat the vibrations. They don’t look at there disabilities as weakness but rather the strength that comes out because of there lackings. This whole thing reminds me unrelated to music of Hellen Keller blind , deaf, and mute and accomplished more then people with all there senses intact.it brings out an important lesson that having a disability ur not losing out on your dream if you don’t want to you just have to fight harder and its a battle you can’t lose.

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  41. I found a link of ray Charles and his outstanding ability to perform above and beyond had I known he was blind I wouldn’t have been able to tell because of how well he performed.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. I have to say this was the absolute best and I enjoy the idea of the history of Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder and works of music despite a history of vision impairment. These two artists demonstrate their use of the piano making great R&B hits despite their disability.

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  43. my question is if someone with a certain occupation needed to use a certain part of their body wether using your hands your mouth or anything that is the main purpose of their job if they no longer can do it than thats it , but people with disabilities with music they find any means they can to do whatever they were doing even though it seemed close to impossible? is it because artists feel so passionate about it that its basically their life and without it what else is there?

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  44. The only thing that really caught my attention if Beethoven had a mental health problem which I didn’t know. Why would the music world Beethoven and 19 century musicians for the medical conditions of current musicians in our world today?

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  45. Very interesting and important topic we had to discuss this week. I have always been fascinated at how Beethoven continued to compose while deaf, I think that has to be a musicians worst nightmare. When it comes to mental disorders in artists I believe… well I think depending on what disorder we’re talking about no one is going to understand you especially a psychiatrist. How could they when they haven’t been through it? There aren’t enough mirror neurons in the world to just understand someones entire life after an hour. But everyone needs a job so the doctors will then perscribe you pills the same pills we hear new rappers talking about everyday in their music, they just skipped the middle man. So I believe that self expression through music, art, or food is a great way to alleviate some of the pains one might be feeling. Of course the pain will come back but turning it into something beautiful like music is rewarding and a way to reach out to others who are dealing with similar pains/ disorders. Kind of like alchemy (turning metal into gold) turn your pain into art- or anything creative that you love- and inspire others. This is what makes artists fall in love with their craft because no matter how messed up in the head they are or feel, their work reaches everyone and they get to express without being too verbal which is the best way to express because as they say, people don’t remember what you said but how you made them feel.
    Depending on the mental disorder, do you guys think creativity is a better way of healing than taking prescribed pills?

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  46. This weeks discussion is so interesting; I honestly did not know this much about bethoven other than he’s amazing at what he did and his music is amazing. It’s so inspiring in a morbid kind of way that he preserved through a dark path even though he was at his lowest, and came through at the end just because of his passion for music. It genuinely amazes me how this can be a safety net for a good chunk of people and gives them that sort of “purpose”. I am a big fan of Kid Cudi and he has struggled with depression for years, I saw him in concert two years ago just before he was committed to a mental hospital and then i saw him a couple months ago again and there was no different in his ability to perform, it was exactly the same in my opinion; which is why I think this is a topic I can understand more because I’ve seen music make even the lowest people rise above what they are feeling. Also ps, It is so amazing to read about musici therapy! I had no idea about it and it’s great to see that there’s a healthy outlet like that for people who are struggling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A question I have is, Do you think the people who “gave up” for lack of better words, with their music and life, weren’t as passionate as others are? Or were their inner struggles and demons just too much to take on at the end of the day?

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      1. to answer your question i believe that the people who gave up for a lack of better words didn’t seek therapy or help in time which is why their inner struggles got the best of them and unfortunately gave up on life, meaning that if one does not seek therapy when they have a problem their problems tend to build up and ultimately cause them to end their life.

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      2. i think it has to do with how you choose to deal with those struggles. i believe they were all passionate about their craft but sadly a few choose to focus on the negativity of their circumstances instead of using it as a motivation to overcome their struggles.

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      3. I think a majority of people with inner struggles do quit. Not that they weren’t passionate particularly, but because I can’t imagine the faith and confidence someone must have going for something that keeps them at a huge disadvantage from everyone else like being blind or deaf.

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  47. The instrument a musician uses is like an extension of themselves. Learning to play an instrument has never been an easy task, but it becomes even harder when you have a disability. Having a disability does not make it impossible to make music. Musicians like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and many others never let their disability stop them from making music.Even a legend like Beethoven struggled when his hearing started to fade. A person’s strength is shown when their back is against the wall. Beethoven was it his lowset following the loss of his hearing but he raised above it and came back from the dark.Your disability might hinder you when trying to achieve your goal but don’t let it stop you.

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  48. Do others decided your place in the world, or is that a task only you can undertake? Think of it like this, Is someone disabled when they say they are, or when others decide they are unable to do things that others would do with ease?

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    1. Honestly it depends on the person you choose to be or become. You can easily throw the towel in whenever you want but when you don’t that’s when you aspire to be great and continue doing what you want to do.

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    2. @rydalsingh
      I believe that the individual decides their own place in the world. It is sometimes thought that having a disability is a limitation on our ability to pursue something. The talented people in this reading are a perfect example of the fact that there really are no limitations. Disabled does not mean limited. I believe the only limitations are those that we set on ourselves. I am willing to bet that a lot of people probably thought that Evelyn Glennie and Antoine Hunter were told that being deaf was a disability and they would not be able to pursue their goals with ease. Performing percussion instruments and dancing are definitely not easy even for people who are able to hear. Looking at how accomplished they are in their respected fields it seems like their disability has not limited them whatsoever. Don’t they make it look easy?

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  49. My question is more towards the “where your body fails you section” .A lot of musicians make songs about narcotics and alcohol and obviously over using those things can cause your body to fail on you overtime. So would you say their bodies are naturally deteriorating or is what they put into their bodies causing them to “lose their musical talent” ?

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    1. A interesting question.
      I think they both have impact.
      For alcohol and drugs, of course, they make body fail when we take too much.
      but also it make help with sometimes
      That reminds me about Chinese poet — Li Bai
      He like to write poetry after drink.
      and these poems is (one of)a great achievement in his life.

      well… if take too much
      Obviously they have a great influence on creative ability

      Liked by 1 person

    2. i would definitely have to say what they put into their bodies cause them to lose their musical talents. Some musicians who sing that are often abusing drugs tend to never sound the same and even for songwriters they began to catch writers block often or just simple write horrible music while on heavy drug or alcohol abuse

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  50. @erv111 I think “successful” musicians are under a lot of pressure and that maybe what causes them to lose their sanity or to fall into depression. For example, we all know about 2007 Britney spears. If you read into it she was going through some issues with her husband, drugs and etc. We all know she has $ and shes very successful and still she just snapped . I believe everybody wants to be successful but when your extremely famous and the world is watching , those external pressures may get the best of you.

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  51. never judge others by their outlook. it is what I learned from this class.
    the video about the lady talks about she want to join to a music class but was rejected
    that reminds me a essay I just wrote by another class
    It discussed about how people judge others just by their outlook, and they are totally wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @chentzhaoqi2015 I agree, you can’t judge a book by its cover. If it wasn’t mentioned that these people playing instruments and dancing in these videos, I wouldn’t have even guessed that they had overcome an extremely challenging obstacle in their lives to get where they are now.

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  52. question:
    The most interesting part is how music helps people
    but it reminds me about I read some paper about music also helps with crop yield…
    (well… It’s out off topic)
    but how about you guys think about it?
    and
    do anyone have any experience for watch live shows are performed by people with disabilities?

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  53. I think that the most important thing when it comes to music and disabilities is what that person does with the disability, meaning if that person will let the disability overtake them or for the person to overcome the disability and use it in a positive way. For example in the reading Beethoven had the disability of going deaf because of an infection,he didn’t commit suicide rather he began writing and composing music. Many of his works are even remembered today because of his cunning to overcome his disability. Another example is Lil Wayne and Prince who both have the disability of epilepsy, they do not let their disability define them. Rather they continue to create music (may Prince RIP), and they strive to be the best of themselves and push the limit to the best of their ability. It seems that music also coincides with therapy for example the Brooklyn conservatory of Music is a therapy program which helps children all the way to seniors reach their skills in life, which I think that anyone with a disability should take advantage of this because it can help strive to be something better of themselves and not let their disability take advantage of them.

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  54. One question I have is, is it true that most people with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia become amazing with their talents such as musicians, mathematicians. Meaning do their disabilities empower their talents?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure that some mental health conditions limit certain behaviors and actions, but can also empower certain others the same way. For those strong enough to look past their struggles to complete a goal is a commendable thing, and should be treated just as fairly as someone without obstacles such as that.

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  55. When I read how musicians suffer from performance anxiety in the mental health section of the post I was reminded of a documentary I saw called “Bigger Stronger Faster” by: Chris bell on performance enhancing drugs and sports. There is a part in the documentary, which I will include the link of the clip, that discusses the use of performance enhancement by musicians. Looks like athletes are not the only ones “juicing” up for better performance in their profession. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK8uNzpOB9I

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  56. Do you feel that the use of beta blockers in the music world as performance enhancing drugs is fair or does it create an uneven “playing” field? If so do you feel that we should treat beta blockers like how steroids are treated in the athletic world? Should we ban the use of beta blockers in music? Should musicians be tested and penalized like athletes if caught using these substances?

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  57. This reading was very touching to me. I found Antoine Hunter and Evelyn Glennie very inspiring. Despite having disabilities they did not allow them to become their handicap and pursued their passions while passing on and teaching others becoming most accomplished in their fields. These are the type of role models that the mainstream media needs to shed more spotlight on.

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  58. Chenzhaoqi I agree with your point people judge others by their outlook. I believe not just successful musicians be under pressure i believe all of us and the ones who turn out to be successful are the ones who didn’t allow others negative opinion to determine their out come and also by having faith towards their career than having fear and unsure mind

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  59. This is a very interesting post! This reminds me of my past basketball coach who was deaf. He would every now and then play a scrimmage with us. He was a able to feel slightly when the ball was bounce passed to him if he was ever not paying full attention to where it was.

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    1. question:
      With how many people with disabilities are able to overcome these obstacles by using their other senses, how well do you think you could do with taking away one of your own that you’re so used to using to enjoy music, and having to use one that you aren’t accustomed to utilizing in that way.

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  60. i think this was a great lecture topic. i find it humorous that as a society we have created terms to define individuals who don’t fit the “norm” however we praise these same individuals and define them as elite if they are able to surpass their “disabilities”. society’s definition of normal is created through a general perspective as if we all perceive music and the arts with a specific set of senses. while we all share the ability to use our senses, they are still individualized to us. so why must we create a baseline for the way we perceive our senses?

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  61. I thought it was dope to see a composer like Beethoven persevered through his disability and still continued to create great pieces for the world and i found it amazing Antoine Hunter who is deaf runs and owns his own dance studio and from the video he has alot of participants! Man that just goes to show how special music is, he doesn’t hear the lyrics or anything all he feels is the vibrations of the beat wow

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  62. What I find most interesting in this reading is learning about Antoine Hunter, who is unfortunately deaf yet he is a choreographer. I found that hard to believe, it’s awesome and extremely admirable .

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  63. To me it all leads down to what success really means because working towards successful obstacles comes in many forms and the ones who came out successful are the ones who defeat their challenges. Although Challenges comes in different forms i believe at the end the individual responsible for them self u cannot give your body more than what it can’t take and some of us do that especially working towards a gaol.

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  64. This might sound crazy but, Do you think with some disabilities like blindness may have strengthen the composers ear or sense of musical sounds so that may have helped them gain something over other “normal” composers?

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  65. I heard Beethoven was deaf and I find it insane how he was able to compose symphonies without even hearing it. It really shows how talent, experienced and dedicated he was to making music.
    I’m actually very surprised that no one even brought up Tony Iommi. Early in his career, he lost the tips of some of fingers in an accident on literally his final day on a job. So, he had to learn to play guitar from scratch and even created his own personal prosthetic finger tips out of thimble in order to play guitar again. People have widely credited him for starting a new sound for early metal music because of the modifications he had to make to his play style after the accident. He’s also the reason that electric guitar strings now have thinner gauge strings than they did before 1970. Honestly, if it wasn’t for his accident, a lot of the sounds you hear in metal music would probably be different.
    For those interested: http://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/11/29/tony-iommi/

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  66. For someone to continue pursuing a dream that limits them of their most crucial sense to a job such as hearing music, mind boggles me. It’s incredible how people can look past these inner struggles and are able to overcome certain obstacles through sheer passion and dedication. I’m sure however that being able to overcome such a feat like hearing sound to produce music must be such a great euphoric feeling. I do also believe that when it comes to self preservation, its key in life to do what makes you happy.

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  67. It truly is amazing how music can be felt and played in so many ways by people that have disabilities. Who would’ve thought that one of music’s greatest composers, Beethoven had suffered deafness in his lifetime. I also found it amazing that while being deaf, you can still enjoy music through the art of dance like Antoine Hunter.

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  68. When you listen a disabled musician which of the two do you appreciate more; their ability to make good music, or the extra effort they put into exceeding expectations?

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  69. My question would be, can people without disabilities also focus their senses to the extreme like people with disabilities do? Is it necessary? To me, not really, but it does pose an interesting question to how far can we as humans focus our minds and achieve something someone else can achieve due to a type of disability.

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    1. We being “normal’ can try hard to center our focus on something to achieve it, but I don’t think we can do it as well as a person with disabilities because when they lack a sense or ability, they gain a heighten strength elsewhere .

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  70. When i was reading and came across mental heath section and how it spoke about artist and musicians and their mental struggles during their careers and it made me think about the introduction and about the social norms of society. Having money and fame is shown to have it’s perks, being known for your work and earning form it pretty well, and there are many who search for it but it isn’t shown to be all that great when the celebrity comes out speaking of their issues and problems and are usually look down upon over their “flaws” because “normal” people find it to be different but in fact it’s more “normal” to other including me. Like when listening to kid cudi’s music for the firs time it was different and a new perspective in the high life and being depressed at the same time which he expresses throughout all his albums. But It doesn’t seem like there would be a understanding to why mental health can be normal.

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  71. I feel like musical is an international language. Its something that regardless of your race, color, disabled or abled, religion, etc. we can all connect with. Like imagine a chat room on the internet that the only way you communicate is through music; you don’t know who’s on the other end, whether they’re black or white, deaf or blind, short or tall, male or female, etc; but you just simply connect with each other through music. At times, I feel like music is the cure to just about everything including those disabilities, and it brings people together. And I agree with pretty much everybody, that video about the deaf choreographer is the greatest story I have seen.

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    1. Do you think that since music is a universal language, it might be able to solve the world’s issues through music?

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      1. I read and saw a video that at the border of North and South Korea, South Korea plays kpop music to liberate North Korea from its strict and conservative ways. Some say that it is working, so maybe muisc will be able to solve world issues it will just take time.

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  72. In the article it was stated “there’s a myth that creatively and mental illness go together” but in reality a disability doesn’t unlock potential. A musician with a disability has to work twice as hard as the average musician if they want to be successful. I think it’s unfair to assume a disability is linked with talent because to a disabled musician I don’t believe talent was given through an injury or illness, they had to work hard on their craft to achieve what they’ve accomplished

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    1. I agree, there are a few men with disabilities in the music production program and its easy to see that all of them work extremely hard and spend long hours getting extra help as well as ask many questions in order to keep up with the rest of the class.

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    2. What makes them have to work twice as hard if they have the same if not more resources at their hands such as the conservatory or dance studios mentioned? Can it be argued that the “abled” have to work twice as hard as the “disabled” because of the competition and resources? I am not disagreeing with you, infact I do agree that they have to work harder because yes an injury or disability won’t simply improve or create a talent, but overcome obstacles not everyone has to face. I am posing a question from a different perspective.

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      1. I understand your point and I ask you, are the extra resources you mentioned an advatage over the average misician, or a way for disabled people to fit in and cope better in society? I believe in the second question. When a person is disabled they may have to learn how to compensate for a function of their body that doesn’t work the same anymore. They would have to teach there selves a new way of performing a task that the average person may take for granted. I agree that the average musician has to work very hard also but do they have to reteach their body to do a function they are accustomed to doing to create music

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      2. this is an interesting topic, and yes i agree with you. The fact that they are disabled leaves them at an unfair disadvantage having to work twice as hard as everybody else

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  73. I pose the following question; Is it the attention that you get when you’re an artist that you strive for, or simply the passion of bringing people together that share your similar disabilities that drive you to play music? Like do you need that attention so that you can feel “normal”, or you just want to bring people together and spread awareness? Is it both?

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  74. I spent my past Friday night at a fashion show that was held in an auditorium. The DJ for the event had set of about 15 speakers that he blasted bass heavy music on. The only thing I could think about for the entire show was the little hairs in my cochlea slowly dying and of course this had to be the day that I left my ear plugs in my other purse. As an engineer my ears are an absolute necessity so I try to take extreme caution when I am going to loud events. I found it particularly astounding that there is an entire dance festival for deaf dancers. I think that music is one of the most beautiful parts of anyones culture so the fact that there is a place for even those that are deaf to express themselves musically. Musicking for all!

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  75. I like how people find ways to help people with disabilities feel included and they find it the best way possible, which is music. One day I came across a really short 45 sec. clip of a woman who was using sign language to interpret the lyrics of an artist at a concert. This video on YouTube https://youtu.be/EuD2iNVMS_4 talks about these ASL interpreters that are being recognized and how interpreted at concerts work.

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  76. After reading the section on “Avoidable injuries that musicians give themselves” I thought to myself that there seems to be some similarities in playing instruments and sports. They are both physical endeavors that require proper form and technique in order to sustain longevity and prevent injury. I found an article on Edna Golandsky the founder of the Golandsky Institute. She uses a method called the The Taubman Approach to help pianists extend their careers and avoid injuries. Here is a link to the article:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/arts/music/golandsky-institute-helps-musicians-avoid-pain.html. Here is a link to The Taubman Approach:http://www.wellbalancedpianist.com/bptaubman.htm

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  77. This article also reminded of a singer on a talent show who was deaf and was a really good singer. She lost her hearing at the age of 18 and used muscle memory and the feeling of music to continue singing and write music.

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  78. This was definitely a great article to read. I also agree that it was probably the best one so far too.
    This discussion took a turn in topic. I thought it would be more music history facts but it wasn’t. I enjoyed the change and it completely slipped my mind that music is highly recommended for its therapeutic like traits. I thought the video about the Brooklyn Conservatory was fabulous. I loved watching the growth and joy they all experienced while at the center. I also learned a valuable tip from the vid. that I will share with my friend whose son still has yet to speak a word-and he’s three !.
    Thanks for sharing Dr. J.. Also thanks for sharing about the work you do at the conservatory.

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  79. I remember hearing about music therapy back in seventh grade and being in complete awe. I knew music was powerful at the time, but I never thought that it could be brought into the medical field. I was told by my teacher that music helped bring back memories and caused people who couldn’t move to start moving to the beat. I have a friend who is actually going into music therapy, and it’s truly inspiring.

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  80. I’d actually like to pose the question of a time where music has helped you. For me, I use to be a shy girl back in high school, but after joining the school’s guitar band I had become a lot more outgoing!

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    1. Music helped me in many different situations.
      A time that currently stands out is this evening I got into a back and forth argument with a friend and we were in the same car for a while. So, playing songs that I once used to blast back when they were popular, helped me get over the situation quicker because it was smoothing and helped me change my state of mind.

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  81. I feel that schools should have programs like music therapy that will help people with disabilities. In schools, someone who is perceived as different is usually outcasted from social groups and its hard for that person to feel that they belong. So I really did like the Brooklyn Conservatory and I found it similar to a school in LA, where they use muisc to help these kids who are blind. https://youtu.be/ZjNTz-DlIO0

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  82. I found it really interesting that there are vocal coaches for metal singers and I never knew that it was something a rock artist would need. So I really found that amazing. Maybe a vocal coach like that will help me when I’m doing karaoke and maybe I won’t feel that I’m screaming my lungs off.

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  83. I feel like music is a gateway for people with disabilities cope with a situation that they must deal and live with for the rest of their lives, music is a beautiful thing to bridge a community together and to help people in their personal life.

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  84. My question would be do you think programs like muisc therapy should be more prominent in schools and if so how are some ways that we can make it happen?

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  85. This article is a very awesome and interesting article. Its so amazing how music can work together with language and form an unbreakable bond. the power of music is very powerful and influential. It helps people with disabilities cope , and gives them hope and strength. this is where a form of music therapy comes into play, music that is helped to heal the body and mind.

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  86. This post by far has a lot of meaning behind it. It shows the perserverance and capabilities one has, which in return has turned into beautiful art/music. Yes it might be a disadvantage for most having a disability, but being able to turn that into an advantage is what makes this incredible. If you think about it, the people that have disabilities have accommodated themselves in ways which we can’t thus allowing them nevertheless create. Stevie Wonder, Beethoven, Antoine Hunter, Andrea Bocelli, the list goes on of Greats who have made what might have been seen as the impossible, possible.

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  87. Question. Do you listen to a certain type of music to help you cope, or all forms of music are just soothing to you? do you have a particular one you find comforting ?

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    1. I personally listen to hip hop music for the most part. However depending on my mood and current situation, I will choose something that adjust to that timing, whether it be from hip hop or pop. Every individual is different, different tastes, different feels and will use a genre or song of their liking to cope.

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  88. As explained in Beethoven’s letter, has anyone experienced social discomfort in their music community before ? Perhaps not to the lengths he experienced but something close ?
    Also, do you believe Beethoven would have been so successful if he didn’t have the experiences and health he endured ?

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  89. Yes I believe some people use music to cope with messy situation. In such situation for example to prevent them self from arguing with another, especially if some one saying something they don’t want to hear which they believe would hurt them or make them sad. They tend to put on headphone and lock them self away and most people does that especially if a parent or someone arguing with them. I also believe people use music to cope during their daily exercise etc.

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    1. This is true but I think it goes even deeper. The lyrics, beat, and overall sound can be a major factor in the mood of a person. Music can be a healer, or antagonist or anything in between. I think we have all been in a situation in which we have used music to cope, great technique.

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    2. I Agree alot with your point, music is a good way to get out of a certain phase of struggling in your life. I also use music to cope with stressful situations and it really helps.

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  90. One thing from this post that stuck out to me was the injuries or diseases that musicians can get that would hinder them from playing or making music. When most people think of music they do not envision this reality for musicians. However, people are people and injuries do happen, just like in sports. If a player is injured he will be unable to play for a certain amount of time so he can heal, if he can, and the same goes for musicians. Interesting thing that should be obvious, but we as listeners do not often realize.

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  91. Does our body make up for any loss of one sense by enhancing another? “LOSE A SENSE, IMPROVE ANOTHER Now it becomes clear how the blind, for example, are able to isolate sounds with greater acuity or have the ability to experience their food in a way the rest of us usually do not. The lack of sensory input causes a sequence of events within the brain that allows the other senses to take over the roles left unoccupied. ” “Supersensors: How the loss of one sense impacts the others.” Supersensors: How the loss of one sense impacts the others | Neurosciences Institute, 9 May 2017, neuroscience.stanford.edu/news/supersensors-how-loss-one-sense-impacts-others. Here is a link to an article on how our brains compensate when we lose a sense: https://neuroscience.stanford.edu/news/supersensors-how-loss-one-sense-impacts-others

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  92. One thing that I really liked about this post was how Musicians are able to eventually recover and go to therapy for these musical conditions. Carpel tunnel syndrome is massive pain in the wrists, and that is something that takes a while to go away after doing certain treatments. Doing music might seem stress free and fun, but it defintley can take a toll on you!

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