September is Deaf Awareness Month. For those of us who are hearing, and teach music, I think Deafness can be one of the most difficult things for us to relate to. We are professional noise makers. But as teachers, and humans, it’s so important that we include everyone in our conversations, and if we have a Deaf student, they feel represented in our classroom.

Some things we can do as teachers to include Deaf children in our music lessons

  • Tune into vibrations
  • Remember that there are levels and students may be able to hear some things. This may mean a student may be very sensitive to certain sounds and we need to be aware of that especially if a student has a hearing aid or cochlear implant.
  • Include ASL interpretation
  • Stay in one place when you are instructing.
  • Eliminate echos and background noises.

I urge you to check out this e-book from Music Mark UK for more as well as Music and the Deaf which is also based in the UK.
There are several links to resources on this page from the National Deaf Center as well.

Now on to the children’s books! (Full disclosure: some affiliate links but it won’t change your price. No pressure!) 

The Deaf Musicians

Author: Pete Seeger, Paul Dubois Jacobs
Illustrator: R Gregory Christie
ISBN: 978-0399243165
Buy the book on Amazon

This book is about a jazz pianist who loses his hearing and is let go from a jazz band he is playing in. He decides to learn American Sign Language and in the class makes friends with another Deaf man who played the saxophone. Together they begin to form a band using ASL to play their jazz music for people on the subway adding later a bass player and a singer/interpreter. In the end, Lee gets to tell his old band leader, “Remember when you asked me, ‘Who will listen to a deaf musician?’ Everyone!) 

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion

Author: Shannon Stocker
Illustrator: Devon Holzwarth
ISBN: 978-0593109694
Buy the book on Amazon

This book is about Dame Evelyn Glennie. This tells the story of how she wanted to be a musician but was denied by people because she couldn’t hear. She stuck to it, demanding people give her a chance. Eventually she found people who believed in her and helped her realize her dreams.

Moses Goes to a Concert

Author, Illustrator: Isaac Millman
ISBN: 978-0374453664
Buy the book on Amazon

This book is about a deaf student who’s class goes to a concert. Not only does this book feature a Deaf student, but a Deaf musician at the concert. The students attending the concert hold balloons to feel the vibrations of the music, and the percussionist does not wear shoes so she can feel the vibrations. The book features the character, Moses, signing in American Sign Language (ASL) at the bottom of the page with a small phrase describing each page. The last pages are illustrated completely with Moses signing and has a great message about setting your mind to becoming whatever you want. 

The Sound of All Things

Author: Myron Uhlberg
Illustrator: Ted Papoulas
ISBN: 978-1561458332
Buy the book on Amazon

Based on the authors own life experience, this book is a great book to include if you want to foster empathy. A young boy describes the sound of things to his parents, particularly his father, on a visit to Coney Island. While frustrated at the constant describing, he struggles to find words to describe the sounds. Stepping out of his own self, he tries to imagine what it would be like to be Deaf knowing he could not understand. 

I hope this has given you some great ideas!

Melissa Stouffer-1

Hey! Real quick...

Take 2 seconds and let us send you FREE resources!  See you soon!

You have Successfully Subscribed!