The other day, I was speaking with a board member of an orchestra I am working with–we were chatting about Beethoven and the effect his growing deafness must have had on him–the one thing he needed so much. I had mentioned that I sincerely remembered being deaf until the age of 3–there are 8mm black and white films to attest to my recollections–standing still near a giant 1960s stereo speaker cabinet–and gazing at the box–and I remember that, feeling the vibrations–a vague sound–everything was vague. I did not speak–I did not understand English. Fortunately, my parents took me to a series of doctors, asking why I did not speak. One doctor finally faced me to a wall and called my name. No answer. He affirmed their fears–I could not hear. At age 43, I still remember the most vivid experience from the surgery that the doctors performed to open my ear canals, which were closed off, along with the tonsillectomy. I rose above my body and floated over it, however briefly (several seconds atleast)watching over the surgery, watching my body. I know I remember it, as I had never experienced that out-of-body experience again. My world opened thanks to the miracle of hearing. I can now understand the torture of Beethoven’s demise. The board member had tears–for me, this was just a mere aspect of my beginnings, but how it relates to the fact that music became my life, is probably the irony of the whole story. Perhaps it is a part of my life that I should remember as the contributing factor why music chose me, and not the other way around.

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