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20 Aug 2014

Music for the Deaf community project wins CPIT Pitch a Project

How does the Deaf community experience music? That’s the question Phoebe Leyten is exploring for her final year of a Bachelor of MusicArts research project. The project has just received a $300 kickstart after winning CPIT’s Research Month Pitch a Project competition for students.

“It was challenging because I have crazy, multiple ideas and in my head they relate, but I had to condense it all into three minutes for Pitch a Project,” Phoebe said. Her presentation won first place and a $300 cash prize.

The premise of Phoebe’s project was that if we challenge the concept of what music is, we might explore other ways of experiencing music.

“A lot of people don’t relate music to Deaf people because they assume music can only be heard. My mother is Deaf, which is a driving factor for me. She has always been such a visual person and creative – she does mime - so I wanted to explore the visual interpretation of music through performance, live art and interpretative sign language.”

Phoebe Leyton

CPIT Music Arts student Phoebe Leyton is working on a performance that enables Deaf people to experience music visually.

MusicArts students are working with Phoebe, who is a pianist and singer, on an end of year performance. Although she is in the Pop and Rock stream of the MusicArts programme she will be borrowing inspiration from the jazz musicians at CPIT and leaving space for improvisation during the performance.

Phoebe has returned to the third and final year of her degree following a three year gap after the earthquakes during which she worked and spent time travelling in Holland, France, Spain and the Philippines.

“The piece of paper is not that important to me but I wanted to close this chapter. There is social pressure to finish what you start, I guess, but my motivation was also for my own creativity. It pushes you.”

Recently Phoebe attended song-writing workshops at CPIT with Warren Maxwell of Trinity Roots, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Little Bushmen fame, which she described as “just awesome”.

Research Month showcases applied research at CPIT and runs until 28 August.