In April 2016, 19 year old Harrison joined us for a two week work placement. Harrison is one of AVUK's earliest graduates, having been taught to listen and speak with our founder Jacqueline Stokes.

Harrison wrote a series of blog posts for us, exploring various topics that are important to him and that relate to his deafness.

In this third blog Harrison talks about his relationship to music.

Music has been a big part of my life ever since I saw the Beatles film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. By the end of the film I wanted to be just like them so I started learning guitar. I had a teacher and learnt some songs.  I also switched instruments a couple of times learning the piano, drums, and saxophone. Each one was fun and I learnt a lot.

Sometimes I have struggled to play along with music because I can’t always hear the beat. However tapping my foot helps as well as practice. When I was 16 I moved back to Hong Kong and became friends with some guys who had a band going. I eventually joined the band as a saxophone player which was great and we played blues and rock and roll. We got payed for a couple of gigs including the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens. We would jam a couple of times a week in a small studio. By the time I joined there were seven people in the band which is a lot and we did struggle to fit into the studio but managed. In terms of hearing the music and the beat it can be difficult but I tend to watch the drummer who is really good at keeping a beat. Around that time I started learning some chords on the guitar from the lead singer in the band. At home I also found some good YouTube videos with people teaching guitar.

Through the band I really got into music particularly from the 1960's and 70's. The obvious bands are the Rolling Stones, Kinks, Led Zeppelin but there are some lesser known musicians out there as well.  I now own a record player and collect records. There has been a lot of debate over the sound quality on record players compared to digital which I won’t go into. However I do like the album covers on records as well as looking for records in shops although they aren’t cheap.

Going back to the band we went on a holiday last summer to Europe. We started off in England and then got a 15 day Euro pass. We went to Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague taking some guitars with us and played them wherever we could. This did lead to us almost being kicked out of our flat in Amsterdam and various other issues and situations arose but we survived. It was the first trip that I had gone on without my family or a teacher looking over me which allowed more freedom and independence and also showed that my Dad trusted me a lot more. The whole trip lasted a month ending in the Lake District and it was what I had looked forward to since I was a kid. Thinking about it now I wouldn’t have had that opportunity without the constant support I had when I was younger and for that I am very grateful.

Harrison (r) and his band performing at a gig in Hong Kong.