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Enjoying music with India

Published Date: 28 Apr 2022

India and I always loved to dance together, but when we became aware of her deafness and the extent of it, I asked myself how was she going to hear music. At that time (2004-2005), I attended a seminar at Mary Hare, and one of the items on the programme was a film about a music therapist who worked to engage a child who was not only deaf but also had cerebral palsy and sight problems. She explained about how movement and vibrations travel through the air and how they touch our bodies and reach into our brains. Her success with the young boy amazed me.

When I got home, I called my brother. He’s a musician and carpenter, and one of his hobbies is to rescue and repair instruments, so I asked him to find me a guitar. He did, cost him £5 and I still have it and can strum a tune.

India loved it from the start, and eventually I bought her a child-sized one. Neither of us became expert guitarists, but that wasn’t the aim - we made music together. Music is vibrations, and even with no hairs in to the cochleae, music is 'heard' through our bodies.

Check out Evelyn Glennie, who is a profoundly deaf percussionist. In her Hearing Essay, she describes how she feels vibrations of music.

One other good thing that happened that day at Mary Hare, I won the raffle for £50 of M&S vouchers. So a win-win day!


Cilla is grandma to India (20). India is profoundly deaf in both ears and has bilateral cochlear implants. One was implanted when she was five and the second just a few years ago. She is at university in London studying for a degree in Fashion.