Unseen Passage: Evelyn Glennie

Evelyn Glennie was born in 1965 and grew up on a farm near Aberdeen in Scotland. She loved playing music, and her ambition was to become a solo percussionist. She started having problems with her ears and began to lose her hearing. By the time she was twelve, she was deaf. She couldn’t hear at all. Evelyn became very angry; it seemed to her that she would never fulfil her dream of being a great musician.

After a while Evelyn stopped being angry and instead found ways of adapting her playing to suit her deafness. At the age of sixteen, she became the first deaf student at the Royal Academy in London. She went on to make lots of CDs and is now famous for being the world’s only full time solo percussionist. Evelyn likes to play unusual instruments and has over a thousand instruments some of which she has made herself. She likes to play with musicians from all over the world, and requests composers to create music especially for her. An example of this is a piece, which was composed for her by the jazz composer Diango Bates, for which kitchen pots and pans were used as instruments. Her sixteen solo albums (including twelve on the RCA/BMG label) have reached a remarkably diverse public, as have her numerous collaborations with musicians from the non-classical world.

Glennie contends that hearing is a form of touch, and that everyone, whether “deaf” or not, processes sound in an individual way. When Evelyn performs, she doesn’t wear shoes or socks. This is to enable her to feel the music through the floor and her body. Usually, percussionists play at the back of the Orchestra, Evelyn plays at the front so that she can lip-read signals from the conductor. Glennie has said that she doesn’t want an operation to cure her deafness; she likes being who she is and doesn’t want to change the way she works. Like many other courageous people, she tries hard to help others. She has helped many deaf children by giving them an opportunity to learn a musical instrument.

Answer any four of the following questions:

  1. What was Glennie’s ambition?
  2. Why did she become very angry?
  3. What is she now famous for?
  4. Why does she not wear shoes or socks when she performs?
  5. Why did Glennie refuse to get herself cured?
  6. What is meant by the word, ‘ambition’?
    1. goal in life
    2. hope
    3. employment
    4. success
  7. Find the word opposite in meaning to ‘happy’. (para 1)
    1. solo
    2. angry
    3. hearing
    4. helpless
  8. What is meant by the word ‘unusual’? (para 2)
    1. uncommon
    2. unknown
    3. employment
    4. uncover
  9. Find the word opposite in meaning to ‘disable’. (para 3)
    1. enable
    2. retain
    3. keep
    4. draw
  10. Find the synonym of the word ‘content’.
    1. satisfy
    2. assert
    3. keep
    4. draw

Answers

  1. Glennie’s ambition was to become a solo percussionist.
  2. Glennie became angry because she thought she would never be able to fulfill her dream of becoming a great musician.
  3. Glennie is now famous for being the world’s only full time solo percussionist.
  4. Evelyn Glennie does not wear shoes or socks when she performs to enable her to feel the music through the floor and her body.
  5. Glennie refused to be cured because she liked being who she was and didn’t want to change the way she worked.
  6. goal in life
  7. angry
  8. uncommon
  9. enable
  10. satisfy

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *