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.”