Deaf piano player makes tickling the ivories look effortless

Published: May. 14, 2012 at 9:43 PM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2012 at 9:43 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Daley Jackson makes tickling the ivories look effortless, but it's easy to hear how difficult it is being an accomplished piano player. At least it is for most of us. 

"I'm very lucky to be able to play the piano and be deaf at the same time," Jackson said.

Jackson was born deaf. She couldn't hear her own voice, much less an instrument. But for 7 years she's been playing piano thanks to hearing aids and a very patient teacher.

"It was really an experiment for both of us to see if she would do anything with it," teacher Becky Tafel said. "To get any information from me, she had to pay extra close attention to my lips."

Tafel says the two worked through it together and focused on the mechanics of playing instead of how it sounded. It worked.

"It takes me a while to read the notes of a new song, but I know I'll get it," Jackson said. "It takes time."

That time is paying off. Jackson was selected to play during Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston -- an eclectic arts festival that gets national attention.

"I was pretty shocked that I got it," Jackson said. "It's amazing."

Being selected for such as honor is almost as amazing as Jackson's skills.

"It's the question I always ask: how does she do this if she can't hear," Tafel said.

Jackson says her new hearing aids help, but her hearing will never be "normal".

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