Hearing-impaired students enjoy Charleston orchestra with balloons

Sensory experience: Hearing-impaired students enjoy Charleston orchestra with balloons
Updated: Feb. 19, 2014 at 7:22 PM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Balloons and socks.

It's not what you would expect to see at an orchestra performance, but those were the tools North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary students used to enjoy it.

The idea was inspired by the children's book, Moses Goes to the Concert.

"In the book they used balloons to hold in the students lap so they could feel the vibration of the music," said Melinda Benson, teacher of the hearing-impaired class at the North Charleston elementary school.

Students held on to balloons, both red and yellow, to get a better feel for the vibrations produced by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.  They were also encouraged to take off their shoes, leaving room for stronger vibrations to be felt from the floor.

"The deaf and hearing impaired can always enjoy things, it just takes doing it a little differently," Benson said.

"Music is in many ways a very physical thing," added program conductor Kelly Corcoran.  

"Hearing is a very important part of that, but all these other senses are very important too."

The concert, sponsored by The Boeing Company, also featured Charleston violinist Seth Gilliard.

Named Classical Fusion:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, it was designed to introduce students to classical music in a way that is both creative and fun.  Nearly 2,000 students throughout the Lowcountry attended the concert on the Charleston Southern campus.

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