Aug 2018 Digital Journal
Sertoma's Nashville-chapter provides a $50,000 Grant to Music City's Premier Hearing Charity, Songs for Sound, and the HEARtheMUSIC Project.
Imagine living in Nashville incapable of hearing the music. Sertoma's mission is on point: Service To Mankind. Sertomans across the country are unified with a single purpose: serve communities and improve the lives of those who need help; specifically, improve the quality of life for those at risk or impacted by hearing loss through education and support.
Songs for Sound's mission is to provide AWARENESS of hearing loss solutions, ACCESS to hearing loss screening and devices and encourage ACTION for those suffering from hearing loss and deafness. Songs for Sound aims to provide everyone with an opportunity to live a mainstream life full of sound and language, and of course, MUSIC.
Songs for Sound was founded by Kevin and Jaime Vernon of Nashville, Tennessee, parents of Lexi, whose diagnosis of profound hearing loss was originally missed and finally diagnosed at 1½ years old. The Vernon's learned that Lexi was eligible for a cochlear implant which took their daughter from a world of silence and allowed her to blossom into an active, speaking, and hearing child. Now, Lexi is 10 years old and a stellar student at Christ Presbyterian Academy. Lexi recently played in PGF Nationals as a top fastpitch pitcher in the U.S. for the 10U division.
When they found out Lexi was in fact deaf, they couldn't stand the thought of someone never hearing music like their wedding song or a break up song. These songs are tied to life's greatest moments and memories. My brother-in-law is the lead singer of Rascal Flatts, Gary LeVox. Can you imagine Lexi never hearing his amazing voice? Our mission is quite simple. Help people hear and help people hear the music.” Vernon continued, "I grew up with humble means in a small town in Ohio. I'm aware of healthcare issues in less fortunate areas of our cities and also rural America. My heart physically hurts to think of underserved children, seniors or veterans being missed. Lexi was profoundly deaf until the miracle of cochlear implants. Sertoma's support doesn't just mean a lot, it means EVERYTHING to this charity."
To date, Songs for Sound's Hear the Music Project, presented by Cochlear Americas, has provided close to 18,000 free hearing screenings and provided direct consultations, packets of checklists and information, hearing technology demos and more. Songs for Sound also offers a free Annual Kids Camp, serves the deaf in Montego Bay, Jamaica and has donated over $200,000 to hearing programs across the USA.
Sertoma's District Governor, Chris Wilson, responded, "The Sertoma Club of Nashville and our Hear Nashville program have helped over 800 people receive hearing aids in the last 7 years here in Nashville TN. We believe our partnership with Songs for Sound will allow us to grow our mission into other areas of the country while supporting the incredible work Songs for Sound is already doing by giving Americans access to hearing technologies such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.”
July 2018 Scoop.co.nz
Talented pianist Rebekah Stewart has won a coveted position at the 4th International Music Festival “Beats of Cochlea” in Poland for people with hearing loss. ‘Beats of Cochlea’ was created by Polish surgeon Prof. Henryk Skarżyński in 2015 to help hearing implant users express their musical talents and to show the world that hearing loss is not an obstacle to a music career. This year’s festival runs from 9-12 July 2018 in Warsaw Poland. “I have always loved classical music and my favourite composer is Chopin, who was originally from Poland. To win a trip to Poland has made a childhood dream come true”
Listening to music is a milestone achievement for people with severe to profound hearing loss. Thanks to hearing implants, many users are able to enjoy their favourite songs, while others take their love of music one step further by playing instruments, singing, composing and recording music. To people with normal hearing it is still astounding to see how well musicians with hearing implants perform.
Rebekah explains “Having a hearing loss has meant that I struggled to hear and critique my own playing but also going to classical performances such as operas and symphony orchestras has been difficult. Since getting my MED-EL BoneBridge implant all of that has changed, I can now even discern when different parts of the orchestra are playing, and I am teaching students piano performance and music theory”
Rebekah now holds a Bachelor of Music from the University if Canterbury, Christchurch and has achieved all grades in piano performance through the Royal Schools of Music. At the festival Rebekah will have the opportunity to further develop her skills under the guidance of famous musicians, artists and teachers.
Rebekah’s ENT surgeon Dr Melanie Souter commented: “Rebekah absolutely deserves this opportunity to play at the 2018 Beats of Cochlea in Poland. She is a very talented pianist! The BoneBridge bone conduction implant has helped Rebekah not only in everyday communication, but also with her music, and given her more confidence in everyday life.”
July 2018 UCSF News Services
Imagine you’re at a concert, and in the middle of a song, the band slowly gets quiet. Instruments drop out one by one until it’s just the drums keeping the beat. All of a sudden, you hear the keyboard chime back in, first a few notes here and there, and then an all-out improvised solo.
The song is reminiscent of the one the band was playing earlier, but somehow brand new and full of emotion, varying in tempo, volume and range – and it’s something that will never be produced again. How do artists produce such unique, emotive, and coherent pieces of music with no sheet music or practice to guide them?
That question has fascinated Charles Limb, MD, professor of otolaryngology at UC San Francisco, for many years. In addition to his work as a cochlear implant surgeon, Limb studies how we create and perceive music. “Improvisation is this prototypical creative behaviour that may serve as a model for how we understand the human brain,” said Limb.
Limb shared his decades of work on the neural underpinnings of creativity and improvisation in a recent episode of Carry the One Radio. Limb, a life-long music fan who plays saxophone, piano and bass guitar, also spent years at the National Institutes of Health, where he gained the skills needed to conduct scientific studies on how the brain produces creativity.
Underlying Limb’s work is the notion that musical improvisation, as with any human behaviour, must be orchestrated by the brain. By visualising and studying the brain activity of master musicians as they improvise in an fMRI machines, he is beginning to understand how they are able to spontaneously create original, harmonious music.
Limb’s research has spanned a range of musical genres, from jazz piano to rap, highlighting similarities and differences between improvisation in the two musical forms. Limb and his team have suggested areas of the brain that are crucial for creativity, and how consciousness, self-censoring, and risk-taking factor into improvisation.
Creativity is central to the human experience, says Limb. “Humans die if they’re not able to problem solve and innovate,” he said. “Human creativity is the reason we are able to be innovative, advance the society, make progress.”
June 2018 WNYT.com
Autumn Greenlee, 18, says she plays mostly from vibration memory and muscle memory.
What makes music meaningful isn't how it sounds but how it feels. "She's very confident in what she's playing and she's always very focused," her friend Pranav Vasishta said. "She's one of those, I'm going to be very sad that she leaves us and goes off and does her thing but I'm excited to see where her future will take her," Lafayette Orchestra Director Joseph Gutkowski said.
Her talent makes her stand out, even though she says, she's spent a lot of time trying to fit in.
"I'm sure when I play my instrument it sounds very different to me than it sounds to somebody else," Autumn told us. You see, Autumn is deaf. When her parents found out, they were left with many questions. "Is she going to be able to speak? Is she going to be able to have a job? Is she going to be able to do things that other children do?," her mom Lisa Greenlee remembered. "I did kind of feel left out and I did feel different, for sure," Autumn said.
After surgery to get a cochlear implant, which gave her a sense of sound, music pulled her in like a magnet. She got her first violin in the third grade. "So she started to do it and absolutely loved it, and so things just went from there, "mom says. When she switched from violin to viola, the lower and deeper sounds were like ripples. "I do play a lot from vibration memory, "Autumn clarifies. "And muscle memory.” And keep in mind, for the most part she's playing the classics. "I think the first piece of music I learned was Telemann Viola Concerto," Autumn said.
As Autumn closes the book on her high school years, a new chapter is about to begin. She's been offered a music scholarship at the University of Colorado. Safe to say, she already has a degree in perseverance. "I'm amazed, to be honest with you, that she has overcome so many challenges." her dad James Greenlee said. It's said that Beethoven was still composing masterpieces when he went deaf. Who knows what's to come for Autumn Greenlee and who she'll be inspiring?