Welcome to my music course!
The incredible benefit for deaf* and hard of hearing people who write their own music is that you can tailor it to your specific range of hearing, creating the perfect accessible music just for you. If you have only a little hearing, it’s possible you will be able to enjoy music even if you can’t understand speech and most conventional music sounds dreadful to you. This course may also provide useful information for music teachers who work with deaf and hard of hearing students.
This course was created by me, Asphyxia. I am a profoundly Deaf person for whom music has not been very accessible for most of my life. Although I cannot hear speech well enough to understand it and am not interested in many aspects of hearing, when I was able to access music, I found it brought me immense joy.
I wish to share that joy with others, and so I wrote this course. I know that if I had found this course a few years ago I would have been suspicious of it, wondering if it was another effort by the kinds of hearing people who cry because I cannot hear the sound of rain, to focus my attention on all that I am missing out on. But it’s not. If you wear hearing aids you may find this to be an enjoyable extension of that technology. Learn more about how I came to write this course.
You might like to check your audiogram and learn what this means for you and music. This will help you work out if you have enough hearing to do this course.
I suggest you bookmark this page and work through the following Level One lessons in order. If you have music experience already you won’t need to do them all. But you will need to understand the concepts and how to use GarageBand before you progress to Level Two.
LEVEL ONE – Learn to make a simple cover song
Work through these lessons in order before proceeding to Levels Two or Three.
- Introduction – some things to know about music.
- Reference materials – print and keep handy to refer to during the course.
- Learn GarageBand basics.
- Understanding a score. Skip this if you can already read sheet music.
- What is the scale of a song and why is it important?
- Entering a melody in GarageBand: Happy Birthday
- Understanding genre and how it relates to music.
- Composing a bass line and harmony for Happy Birthday.
- Adding a percussion track to Happy Birthday.
- Level one wrap up – putting it all together.
You should now be able to make a very basic cover version of almost any song out there. You could also hand your audiogram and preferences chart to a professional musician and ask them to make music for that is tailored to your hearing.
LEVEL TWO – Skills to develop your cover songs
- Understanding song arrangements
- Understanding the mood of the bass line and harmony
- Developing your percussion track.
- How to personalise song lyrics.
- How to begin and end your song (and how to write a riff).
LEVEL THREE – Writing original songs
Make a donation: This course is free because I want music to be easily accessible to everyone, and I want to improve the lives of deaf people who might enjoy it. It has taken a lot of time and study to put together this course, and I am still working on adding new lessons. I have resisted the suggestion that I monetise my online offerings through advertising, because I am philosophically opposed to living in a world full of ads. If you want to support my mission to make music accessible to deaf people for free, I would really appreciate a donation.
Many thanks to Gemma Horbury, a musician who checked Level One of this course, made numerous suggestions and diagrams, and helped me to make it so much better! Gemma has been a music educator for 25 years, working with communities all over Australia. She conducts and composes music for school, community and professional ensembles. She is now sharing music through online spaces.
* While I write ‘Deaf’ for people who identify as members of the Deaf community, for this course I will write ‘deaf’ as it refers to anyone who has a hearing loss, regardless of whether or not they sign. For simplicity, I also include hard of hearing people when I use the term ‘deaf.’