When Audiovisability mentioned that we were going to work with Evelyn Glennie, I was excited. It is a HUGE honour and privilege to be asked to write this blog. I remember Evelyn Glennie when she performed at my school in the 1990s and I was enthralled watching her! In year 10, I even stayed in a dormitory named “Evelyn Glennie”.
I am an equestrienne, more specifically, a dressage rider. So, you may ask, how does it involve music? One of the tests in dressage is the Freestyle, which is not dissimilar to Torvil & Dean doing their freestyle to Bolero, except instead of ice skates, I am “dancing” with my horse.
As part of the Audiovisability dressage project, Evelyn was asked to play the main component of my freestyle music, specifically composed for my freestyle performance with Sherlock at the World Equestrian Games 2018 in Tryon, USA.
I am frequently asked this question: “How do you do it when you cannot hear?” read more…
Freestyle dressage is when a horse and rider dances to the music. The rider normally either uses a film sound track or a well-known classical piece to dance with, or they create a floor plan and film the performance – be it walk, trot, pirouette, etc – for a composer to analyse and write for. In this case, the composer studies the horse and rider’s movements carefully, matching its tempo, the body weight and character of the horse.
Dressage horses don’t vocalise; rather, they use their body to dance with the rider, and the rider takes the lead. This was a similar process when the poem ‘The Silver Moon’ was written and signed in British Sign Language by 13 year old Layla Fitzgerald-Woolfe. To the world it may appear that she is simply moving her hands in silence, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sign Language is full of expressive ideas, just like a musical score which shows the shape of sound and silences. As a fluent British Sign Language user myself, I studied Layla’s movements and wrote a musical score based on her poem, which was then played by Dame Evelyn Glennie.
Story written and told by Layla Fitzgerald-Woolfe
Music composed by Ruth Montgomery
Performed by Dame Evelyn Glennie, piano
Editor – www.dripmedia.tv
Ruth Montgomery December 2018
An Audiovisability project funded by Arts Council England, Supported by Drip Media, Decibels and Deaf Explorer with thanks. www.Audiovisability.com
I am delighted to announce that I have been offered a place on the Clore Leadership Programme starting in September 2018 until 31st July 2019. This is going to support my role as an Artistic Director for Audiovisability and working in music education fields too.
It is with acknowledgement that I thank my family, mentors Sarah Pickthall at Cuspinc, Ken Carter and Deaf Explorer to name a few and friends for their continued support. I look forward to learning, sharing, building networks and inspiring the next generation of musicians and artists, – both deaf and hearing.
Diversity and inclusion is a hot topic within the Cultural and Creative sector at the moment. Here are my thoughts below what I think a ‘Perfect County’ is.
A perfect country is where deaf and disabled people in general are top level consultants for politics, public services, transport, architecture and infrastructure design and so forth. These kinds of positions require input, problem solving, analysis and personal experiences from deaf and disabled people themselves. Only this way can they fully meet the needs of deaf and disabled people.
A perfect country would be where deaf and disabled people are fully involved and integrated in media and mainstream arts. The Arts, including television and film, are a wonderful way to showcase a range of our creative abilities and skills. In doing so that gives us confidence, self-esteem, good working relationships, ownership, pride and knowledge. We dispel any myths and create positive ripple effects on others. The wider world will be made aware of our existence and contribution to society.
With the involvement of deaf and disabled educators in other professional fields, the practice of teachers, scientists, health professionals, engineers and policy makers generally would be improved. The experience, resourcefulness and insights of the deaf and disabled would shape better policy and practice making for a more inclusive and compassionate way of doing things and help create the society I would like to live in.
Ruth Montgomery March 2018
My son Harry is 8 years old and wears hearing aids in both ears. He is profoundly deaf in the right ear and has severe/moderate hearing levels in the other ear, ranging from 60 decibels for the low frequencies then a steady upward rise to a mild hearing loss for the higher frequencies. This means that in his natural “good” ear, he struggles to hear low sounds, such as men’s voices, and has difficulty with localising sounds too. Genetics play a huge part of this as his father has waardenburg syndrome, which is one of the most common genetic reasons for deafness as it is passed down. The formalities of his hearing levels were realised after his glue ear operation at 3 years old and the left ear makes a very gradual decline over the years too.