IT WAS music to a Woking woman’s ears this week after her dream of learning the piano came one giant step closer to reality with a music grant – her journey carrying added significance after being born without hearing.
Claire Ingham, who has been deaf since birth, has been awarded the MED-EL UK over 19s Music Grant, a brand new initiative introduced this year by the hearing implant manufacturer.
As the lucky winner, she receives £500 towards the purchase of an instrument, £30 for sheet music together and lessons for one year.
Claire is profoundly deaf and has never had any sense of music. She discovered music about six months after receiving a cochlear implant in November 2011.
A cochlear is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of hearing to a person with profound or severe hearing loss. It is used together with an audio processor that sits behind the ear or on the head.
When Claire was seven she had a few piano lessons, but as she was unable to determine whether she was playing softly or loudly or even hitting the keys correctly, the lessons were soon abandoned.
However, a few months after implantation, when listening to her son play In the Hall of the Mountain King, she realised that music could tell a story.
Later, she was watching Britain’s Got Talent and the song she heard made her feel emotional. Music has become a passion ever since and she loves listening to her sons playing the flute and guitar.
Earlier this year, Claire was given her grandmother’s piano and she started teaching herself to play.
Thanks to the grant she is now having the lessons she needs to make progress.
Claire said: “The thing I’ve most enjoyed from my first lessons is learning phrasing and musicality. Music is more than just notes – you simply can’t learn musicality from a book.” She has also set herself an early goal. “I’d really like to be able to play some carols on the piano by Christmas. That would make this year’s celebrations very special.”
MED-EL UK’s managing director, Cassandra Brown, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and quality of the applications for the music grants.
“This proves that music is clearly very important to our implant users of all ages. ”