Business Mirror and the news.pl
People with cochlear implants gave a concert at the World Hearing Center near Warsaw on as Poland marks 25 years since the first such device was implanted in the country.
MUSICIANS from all over the world recently converged for the “Beats of Cochlea” festival, where they showcased their talents, shared their love for music and received mentoring from world-class peers and professionals. What made the music festival extra special is the fact that it was especially created for people with hearing loss to fulfill their musical dreams. The performers represented a wide range of age groups, backgrounds and playing experiences, but all of them had one thing in common: They all use a hearing-implant in order to hear, appreciate music and experience the sense of sound as a normal hearing person should.
Morta (right) being mentored on guitar by a professional musician
Polish surgeon Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, who heads the World Hearing Center, said that 25 years ago, his hopes for implant patients were that they would be able to hear and understand speech. “Today we hope that they will be able to pursue … musical careers,” he said, adding that this showed the progress that has been made in the field. Skarżyński also said that it was also proof that music was therapeutic and sped up therapy.
Following the success of the inaugural festival in 2015, this one-of-a-kind international music festival continues to demonstrate that, with today’s achievements in modern science and medicine, even those with severe hearing loss can live out their passion for music. Including those from the Philippines, participants—aged 6 years old through to 39—came from the UK, Poland, China, Greece, Taiwan, Ukraine, Portugal, Russia, Germany, Austria,Singapore and the Phillipines. All of them sing, compose and play one or multiple instruments, such as the violin, guitar, piano, flute, drums and guzheng, a traditional Chinese instrument. Some were inclined to jazz, while others have a passion for classical, with the rest seeking rock-star status or pop fame. Although having unique hearing-loss journeys, a shared passion for music brought these people together from around the world.
This year the festival adopted a new and improved format, which included vocal and instrumental master classes with professional musicians from around the world. Within the four-day meet, the musicians shared their experiences with festival attendees. The event concluded with a gala concert where participants performed the musical pieces they developed during the master classes. Hearing-implant recipients who qualified to the festival included Filipina Maria Sharlene Morta, 17, who sang an original composition with her own guitar accompaniment. Others were: 39-year-old Eva Costa from Portugal, who played the flute; Kazakhstan-native Chingiz Agibaev, aged 6, who performed a vocal piece; and Charlie Denton, 10, from Gloucestershire, UK, who is a master with the violin and piano.
Morta is currently Grade 11 at San Beda College Alabang (SBCA). In an e-mail interview, the teenager said she loves to play different musical instruments, such as the piano, guitar, violin and ukulele. “I also love songwriting, which leads me to appreciate music more. And I used to dance ballet, contemporary, hip-hop and jazz.” According to her mom Shalini, the prodigy passed Grade-7 piano and Grade-5 theory examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) of London in December 2016 and 2014, respectively. With these, she is qualified to teach primary levels of ABRSM students. The young Morta also passed with merit the Grade-2 guitar in ABRSM. Likewise, she also received a merit from the Royal Academy of Dance, London, for Level 3-certificate in Vocational Graded examination in Dance: Intermediate (Ballet) in April 2015 and Grade-3 distinction in 2010. It was such a big feat for Morta, who received her cochlear implant in August 2004 when she was barely 5 years old. The teenager said she is blessed to learn from musical artists through the mentorship training, as this could help her launch a composer-artist career. She would love to become an artist who can inspire the world through her performances and work. “My ultimate goal would be to be able to inspire people by encouraging them to aim high and reach their dreams, whether they have a hearing loss or not. And I really hope that I can write more songs and collaborate with amazing singers such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and other world-class artists,” she declared.