National Centre for Early Music

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Mary Bell and Teresa Brasier

From Drake Music Scotland 
'The Kids are Alright
Mary Bell
Mary Bell trained in illustration and design at Glasgow School of Art and studied voice and guitar at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She is also a music therapist. Mary's passion is to make music fun, exciting, and accessible to all Deaf and deafened children and adults. She has personal experience of re-learning to understand music since losing her hearing when she was 36 due to meningitis. Mary is fluent in British Sign Language and is an accomplished lip reader. 

Teresa Brasier

Teresa Brasier studied violin at the Royal College of Music and she is also a BACP accredited counsellor. For the last 10 years her work has mainly been in the D/deaf world - counselling adults and children with hearing loss and facilitating rehabilitation courses and creative workshops for adults and teaching D/deaf children music. She is also the director of Leadhills Silver Band, a community band in south Scotland.

Both Teresa and Mary are associate musicians with Drake Music Scotland. They were instrumental in setting up a pilot music project for Deaf/d children in Scottish Schools. The pilot was such a success that the work has continued to expand over the last 3 years. Their vision is to expand their work with Drake Music Scotland and offer more deaf accessible music workshops to other organisations. 

Their presentation focused on the practicalities of teaching instrumental music to deaf children. Whether dancing around the classroom on a rainy day or singing along to the radio, school-age children love listening to, and participating in, music. There are many good reasons to encourage this enthusiasm. A lot of research has been done that shows that young people who are actively involved in music (e.g. who play it or sing it regularly) improve in other areas of the school curriculum.

However, the best reason to encourage a love of music is that it is fun. Children and young people enjoy singing, dancing and listening to music. For Deaf youngsters, it is exactly the same.  They already have 'particular styles of music they like'; a few favourite songs on their iPods; and they listen to music with their friends (Deaf or Hearing). Each new term when Mary and Teresa meet up with their young people meet up, they are ready with a new song they want to learn to play. Our part in the process is to facilitate and help them make that happen.  By being creative and using visual, vibration, tactile and other techniques, music happens and it is amazing. 

Drake Music Scotland