Life

Deaf DJ Overcomes Challenges to Achieve Musical Dreams

My appellation is Robin, and I was bestowed existence in England. My progenitor assumes the role of a disc jockey, and frequently indulges in the harmonies of disco, rock, country music, and other musical genres within the confines of our abode. My progenitors apprised me that during my tender years, whenever I chanced upon melodies performed by heavy metal ensembles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, and Michael Jackson, an involuntary inclination would seize me, compelling me to harmonize with the rhythm.

At the age of 5, my family emigrated to the United States, from which point forth, my life underwent seismic transformations. For reasons unbeknownst, subsequent to settling in the United States, I experienced recurring aural afflictions approximately every three months. During that juncture, we were bereft of medical insurance in the United States, thus, when the third infection manifested, my progenitors could no longer shoulder the exorbitant costs of treatment and were compelled to abandon it. To my astonishment, over time, my right ear ceased to perceive sound altogether, while my left ear was diagnosed with moderate to severe impairment.

Fate played a cruel jest upon me, an ardent devotee of music! Yet, I have not relinquished my melodic aspirations—since childhood, I have fervently yearned to become a consummate disc jockey akin to my progenitor, who could wholeheartedly perform with naught but a turntable, a mixer, and two records. A whimsical fancy.

On the occasion of my 18th anniversary, I summoned the courage to dispatch an email to the renowned New York disc jockey and musician, Jeff Shai. It read as follows: “Considering your predilection for challenges, would you be inclined to undertake the task of instructing a hearing-impaired individual in the art of disc jockeying?” To my astonishment, he responded the following day: “I accept the challenge!” For the ensuing two years, he would serve as my mentor, tutoring me twice a week and imparting numerous professional disc jockeying skills.

Simultaneously with my studies, I dedicated four hours each day to practicing disc jockeying until the corresponding movements became ingrained in my muscle memory. Gradually, I discerned that the placement of the speakers was pivotal during my performances: the tweeter is optimally positioned on my left side, thereby enabling my left ear to perceive certain beats; the subwoofer is best situated on the floor behind me, allowing the rhythm of the music to reverberate through the soles of my feet…

I commenced attending clubs and partaking in musical engagements. On my inaugural visit to a club, trepidation prevented me from disclosing my hearing impairment to the manager. That day, I briefly introduced myself and commenced my performance. At the culmination of the evening, the manager approached me and uttered, “Bravo! Today was exceptional, and this is your recompense!” Upon learning of my genuine circumstances, the manager exhibited great surprise, while others found it nigh incomprehensible. As time elapsed, people began referring to me as the “Deaf DJ,” and this epithet metamorphosed into my moniker.

Subsequently, I acquired proficiency in utilizing music software to transmute audio into vibrant lines upon the screen: red denotes the bass, blue represents the snare drum, green signifies the vocals and melody… If you desire to apprehend how individuals bereft of hearing engage in musical pursuits, I implore you to cover your ears during your next sojourn to a club and employ your remaining senses to experience the music. I firmly believe that you shall be astounded to discover that music can be discerned through avenues beyond mere audition!

In present times, I frequently grace parties and assemblies with my performances. Occasionally, I receive invitations to visit schools for the deaf and mute, where I share my experiences with the children, instilling in them the belief in their boundless potential and the courage to embrace challenges and experimentation, all while discouraging the inclination to surrender easily. I frequently implore parents: “Allow your children to boldly pursue their dreams! If deaf individuals can become disc jockeys, then what dreams remain unattainable?”

Life perennially mingles mud and sand, as flowers and thorns coexist. Should you harbor a dream, pursue it unflinchingly. Do not be daunted by the remoteness of your aspirations. Each resolute and formidable step you undertake shall radiate as a scintillating beacon amidst the nocturnal obscurity, guiding you towards the realization of your dreams!

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