Alternative Flute Experiments

One of my recurring nightmares is to wake up deaf. Music plays such an important role in my life, I couldn’t imagine living without it! Yet, many people with impaired hearing are also musicians: being deaf and enjoying music is therefore not mutually exclusive.

I decided to test the alternative forms of hearing that these musicians describe.

How to stop hearing?

Silly question don’t you think? Well it’s harder than it seems to dim all sounds from the outside world. Especially when those are produced by an instrument placed as close to your ears as a flute.

The first problem I was faced with, was actually reaching a point of not hearing myself anymore. I tried using ear plugs. They didn’t help: I could still hear everything. So I put my headphones on, on top of the ear plugs. I looked absolutely fabulous!

Even though the sounds were dimmed, I could still clearly hear the notes I was playing. Not knowing how to further decrease the sound, I decided to work with what I had.

Listening without hearing

I suddenly became aware of the resonance of the sounds of my flute. Each note that I was playing created a vibration that I could feel in my body – especially in the chest. What surprised me was that playing with dimmed hearing actually enhanced the sounds of my body. I could now clearly hear the air entering and filling up my lungs, the stream of wind passing through my lips, and the rush of blood flowing to my ears.

What also surprised me, was the fact that I felt more in control of the sounds I was producing. As if not hearing allowed me to focus more on the process rather than the product. Maybe that could be a new method for training the senses?


Maybe some background information would be useful here, so if you want to contextualise this experiment, read this post!

By: Lucie Marraffa


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