Class 9- Chapter 2-The Sound of Music Part 1

The Sound of music part 1,Evelyn Glennie,Royal Academy of Music

Chapter 2, “The Sound of Music Part 1” Summary, Theme, Vocabulary, Character Sketches, Important Passages, Question Answers and Extra Questions.

The Sound of Music:

Part I:  “Evelyn Glennie Listens to Sound without Hearing It” by Deborah Cowley

Next: “The Sound of Music: Bismillah Khan, Wind” by Subramania Bharati


  • Accomplished: Proficient or skilled; having achieved success or distinction in a particular field.
  • Aspiring: Ambitious; seeking to achieve something.
  • Daunting: Intimidating or discouraging through sheer size, difficulty, or complexity.
  • Deteriorated: To become progressively worse or less favourable over time.
  • Flawlessly: Perfectly, without any mistakes or imperfections.
  • Hectic: Full of activity, chaos, or disorder; very busy or frenetic.
  • Impaired: Diminished or weakened, especially in terms of function or quality.
  • Impaired: Weakened or damaged, especially in terms of functionality.
  • Intriguing: Fascinating; arousing curiosity or interest.
  • Jostle: To push, elbow, or bump against someone or something, typically in a crowded or confined space.
  • Multipercussionist: A musician who specialises in playing multiple percussion instruments.
  • Orchestral: Relating to an orchestra or orchestral music.
  • Percussionist: A musician who plays percussion instruments.
  • Philharmonic: Relating to a symphony orchestra, especially one that is permanent and professional.
  • Prestigious: Esteemed or respected, often due to high quality or reputation.
  • Prioritize: To arrange or deal with in order of importance or urgency.
  • Profoundly: Deeply; to a great extent.
  • Resonances: Vibrations or echoes an object produces in response to sound waves.
  • Resonates: To produce or exhibit a deep, full, reverberating sound; to evoke a strong feeling or response.
  • Sought-after: Desired or pursued by many people; in demand.
  • Tingles: A slight prickling or stinging sensation, often associated with excitement or anticipation.
  • Workaholic: A person who is addicted to working and has difficulty stopping.

Summary “The Sound of Music Part 1”:

Evelyn Glennie, despite profound deafness, pursued her passion for music relentlessly. Initially facing disbelief and discouragement, she discovered a unique ability to feel vibrations and sense sound through her body. Rejecting the idea of limitation, she excelled at the Royal Academy of Music and became a world-renowned percussionist. Her determination and hard work led to numerous accolades and a busy international career. Glennie’s remarkable journey inspires others, particularly the deaf community, showing that dedication and perseverance can overcome obstacles. She emphasises the importance of hard work and shares her musical gifts generously, bringing joy and inspiration to countless people worldwide.

Theme “The Sound of Music Part 1”:

Overcoming Adversity through Determination: 

The theme of the “Sound of Music: Part 1, Evelyn Glennie’s” story revolves around resilience, determination, and the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. It highlights how Evelyn Glennie, despite facing deafness, refuses to let her disability define her or limit her pursuit of her passion for music. Through perseverance, innovative thinking, and hard work, she overcomes the challenges posed by her condition and achieves remarkable success as a percussionist. The story inspires readers, emphasising the importance of resilience in overcoming obstacles and pursuing one’s dreams with unwavering determination. It highlights the transformative power of passion and dedication in shaping lives and overcoming seemingly insurmountable barriers.

Character Sketch: Evelyn Glennie:

Evelyn Glennie is portrayed as a remarkable individual whose life story is defined by resilience, determination, and a passionate pursuit of her dreams despite facing profound deafness. 

  • Resilience and Determination: Evelyn Glennie exhibits extraordinary resilience and determination from a young age. Despite gradually losing her hearing, she refuses to be discouraged or defined by her disability. Instead, she remains steadfast in her resolve to lead an everyday life and pursue her love for music.
  • Passionate Musician: Evelyn’s passion for music is evident throughout the article. Even when faced with the daunting prospect of being deaf, she remains unwavering in her commitment to music. Her decision to pursue percussion, inspired by witnessing another girl play the xylophone, demonstrates her deep love for the art form.
  • Innovative and Adaptive: Rather than being limited by her deafness, Evelyn demonstrates remarkable adaptability and innovation. She learns to sense vibrations and feel the music through different body parts, allowing her to connect with the sounds in unique ways. This ability showcases her resourcefulness and creativity in overcoming challenges.
  • Hardworking and Determined: Evelyn’s journey to success is marked by her relentless work ethic and dedication. Despite her obstacles, she remains focused on her goals and puts in the hard work necessary. Her high marks at the Royal Academy of Music and numerous awards reflect her dedication and talent.
  • Inspiring Role Model: Throughout the excerpt, Evelyn emerges as an inspiring role model for others, especially individuals with disabilities. Her refusal to let her deafness hold her back inspires countless people facing their challenges. By achieving success in the music industry and sharing her story, she becomes a beacon of hope and motivation for others.
  • Compassionate and Generous: Evelyn finds time to give back to her community despite her busy schedule. She demonstrates compassion and generosity towards others through free concerts in prisons and hospitals or by prioritising classes for young musicians. Her commitment to using her talent to impact positively reflects her kind-hearted nature.

In short, Evelyn Glennie emerges as a remarkable individual whose resilience, passion for music, adaptability, hard work, and compassion make her an inspiring figure worthy of admiration and respect. Her story serves as a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the power of perseverance in overcoming obstacles.

Important Passages/Lines: 

Following are the selected passages from the chapter 2, “The Sound of Music Part 1” by Deborah Cowley:

1. “It was her first day at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London and daunting enough for any teenager fresh from a Scottish farm. But this aspiring musician faced a bigger challenge than most: she was profoundly deaf.” The excerpt sets the scene on Evelyn Glennie’s first day at the Royal Academy of Music in London, highlighting the daunting nature of the experience for any young person, especially someone from a Scottish farm. However, it emphasises that Evelyn faced an even greater challenge due to her profound deafness, showcasing her bravery and determination as she embarked on this new chapter.

2. “But Evelyn was not going to give up. She was determined to lead a normal life and pursue her interest in music.” This line emphasises Evelyn’s resilience and unwavering determination to pursue her passion for music despite her hearing impairment. It illustrates her refusal to let her deafness define or limit her, portraying her as someone determined to lead a fulfilling life on her terms.

3. “Suddenly I realised I could feel the higher drum from the waist up and the lower one from the waist down.” Evelyn’s realisation about feeling the different notes of the drums rather than hearing them marks a significant turning point in her musical journey. It highlights her ability to adapt and find alternative ways to engage with music, showcasing her resourcefulness and innovative approach to her craft.

4. “She never looked back from that point onwards. She toured the United Kingdom with a youth orchestra and by the time she was sixteen, she had decided to make music her life.” This statement emphasises Evelyn’s rapid progress and significant achievements in music despite her deafness. It highlights her dedication to her passion and ability to overcome challenges, as evidenced by her decision to pursue music as a career and her early success in touring with a youth orchestra.

5. “And for all this, Evelyn won’t accept any hint of heroic achievement. ‘If you work hard and know where you are going, you’ll get there.'” Evelyn’s refusal to view her accomplishments as heroic reflects her humility and grounded perspective. Instead, she attributes her success to hard work and determination, emphasising the importance of perseverance in achieving one’s goals. This attitude portrays Evelyn as focused on her craft and driven by a strong work ethic rather than seeking praise or recognition for overcoming her challenges.

6. “As for music, she explains, ‘It pours in through every part of my body. It tingles in the skin, my cheekbones and even in my hair.'” Evelyn Glennie describes how music affects her, conveying a profound sensory experience transcending traditional auditory perception. Her explanation suggests that she feels music through her ears and entire body, with tingling sensations in her skin, cheekbones, and hair. This description provides insight into her deep connection with music, highlighting her unique sensory experience as a deaf musician.

7. “Not surprisingly, Evelyn delights her audiences. In 1991 she was presented with the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious Soloist of the Year Award.” This line acknowledges Evelyn Glennie’s ability to captivate and please audiences with her musical performances. It cites her receipt of the prestigious Soloist of the Year Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society in 1991 as evidence of her talent and appeal. The recognition from such a respected institution highlights her status as a highly regarded musician and performer.

8. “Evelyn confesses that she is something of a workaholic. ‘I’ve just got to work … often harder than classical musicians. But the rewards are enormous.'” Evelyn Glennie admits to being a workaholic, indicating her strong commitment to her craft and the immense effort she puts into her work. She implies that her dedication often surpasses classical musicians, suggesting that she must work harder to succeed due to her hearing impairment. Despite the challenges, she finds the rewards of her hard work significant, emphasising her passion and determination in pursuing her musical aspirations.

9. “She is a shining inspiration for deaf children. They see that there is nowhere that they cannot go.” This line highlights Evelyn Glennie’s role as an inspirational figure for deaf children. Her achievements are a source of hope and motivation, showing young people with hearing impairments that they can achieve their dreams. By breaking barriers and reaching the pinnacle of success in the music world, Evelyn Glennie serves as a shining example of what is possible, instilling confidence and determination in others facing similar challenges.

10. “Evelyn Glennie has already accomplished more than most people twice her age. She has brought percussion to the front of the orchestra and demonstrated that it can be very moving.” Here, it is emphasised that Evelyn Glennie’s accomplishments surpass those of many individuals much older than her. She is credited with bringing percussion to the forefront of orchestral music and demonstrating its expressive power. This statement emphasises her influence and significance in the music industry, portraying her as a trailblazer who has reshaped perceptions of percussion and its potential for evoking deep emotional responses.

11. “Her mother remembers noticing something was wrong when the eight-year-old Evelyn was waiting to play the piano. ‘They called her name and she didn’t move. I suddenly realised she hadn’t heard,’ says Isabel Glennie.” Evelyn Glennie’s mother recalls when she realised something was amiss with her daughter’s hearing. This memory highlights the gradual onset of Evelyn’s deafness, as she did not respond when her name was called while waiting to play the piano. The statement highlights the emotional impact of discovering Evelyn’s impairment and sets the stage for her journey of overcoming adversity in pursuing her musical aspirations.

12. “He began by tuning two large drums to different notes. ‘Don’t listen through your ears,’ he would say, ‘try to sense it some other way.’ Says Evelyn, ‘Suddenly I realised I could feel the higher drum from the waist up and the lower one from the waist down.'” In this excerpt, Evelyn Glennie recounts a pivotal moment in her musical education when she learned to sense the vibrations of different notes through her body rather than relying on traditional auditory perception. This revelation marks a breakthrough in her ability to engage with music despite her deafness, demonstrating her resilience and innovative approach to overcoming challenges.

13. “At the end of her three-year course, she had captured most of the top awards.” This statement reflects Evelyn Glennie’s remarkable achievements at the Royal Academy of Music. Despite facing the additional challenge of deafness, she excelled in her studies and gained recognition by capturing most of the top awards available to her. Her success emphasises her exceptional talent and dedication to her craft.

14. “She speaks flawlessly with a Scottish lilt. ‘My speech is clear because I could hear till I was eleven,’ she says. But that doesn’t explain how she managed to learn French and master basic Japanese.” Evelyn Glennie’s ability to speak flawlessly with a Scottish accent despite her deafness is noted here, indicating that she developed clear speech patterns before losing her hearing. This detail adds depth to her story and showcases her adaptability in communication. Also, the excerpt raises the question of how she learned additional languages like French and Japanese, hinting at her remarkable linguistic abilities and determination to overcome barriers.

15. “When she plays the xylophone, she can sense the sound passing up the stick into her fingertips. By leaning against the drums, she can feel the resonances flowing into her body.” This excerpt describes Evelyn Glennie’s sensory experience while playing musical instruments, highlighting her unique ability to feel sound vibrations through tactile sensations. By detailing how she perceives music through physical contact with instruments, the statement offers insight into her extraordinary connection with her art form despite her inability to hear in the traditional sense.

16. “Apart from the regular concerts, Evelyn also gives free concerts in prisons and hospitals. She also gives high priority to classes for young musicians.” Evelyn Glennie’s commitment to using her musical talents for the benefit of others is evident in this excerpt. It highlights her philanthropic efforts, including performing free concerts in prisons and hospitals and prioritising music education for young musicians. This demonstrates her desire to share the joy of music with diverse audiences and provide opportunities for others to experience its transformative power.

Question Answers “The Sound of Music Part 1:

Thinking about the Text:

I. Answer these questions in a few words or a couple of sentences each.

Q1: How old was Evelyn when she went to the Royal Academy of Music?

A1: Evelyn was seventeen when she attended the Royal Academy of Music.

Q2:  When was her deafness first noticed? When was it confirmed?

A2: Her deafness was first noticed when she was eight while waiting to play the piano. It was confirmed when she was eleven years old after a specialist diagnosed severe hearing impairment due to nerve damage.

II. Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph (30–40 words).

Q1: Who helped her to continue with music? What did he do and say?

A1: Percussionist Ron Forbes played a pivotal role in helping Evelyn continue with music. He tuned two large drums to different notes and encouraged her to feel the vibrations rather than relying on her ears, teaching her to sense sound through her body.

Q2: Name the various places and causes for which Evelyn performs.

A2: Evelyn performs at prisons, hospitals, and various charitable events, aiming to bring the joy of music to diverse audiences. She also prioritises music education for young musicians, offering classes and workshops to inspire and support aspiring talents.

III. Answer the question in two or three paragraphs (100–150 words).

Q1:  How does Evelyn hear music?

A1: Evelyn Glennie experiences music uniquely and profoundly despite being profoundly deaf. Rather than relying on traditional auditory perception, she feels music through vibrations and tactile sensations. When playing instruments like the xylophone or drums, she senses the vibrations passing through her body, from her fingertips to her feet. This tactile experience allows her to perceive different notes and rhythms, enabling her to engage fully with the music she creates.

Moreover, Evelyn describes music as permeating every part of her body, tingling in her skin, cheekbones, and hair. This suggests a deep emotional and physical connection to the music she plays, transcending the limitations of traditional hearing. Her ability to sense music in such an innate manner showcases her remarkable adaptability and underscores the power of music to communicate and evoke emotions beyond sound.

Extra Answers “The Sound of Music Part 1”:

Short Answer Type Questions: 

Q1: What challenges did Evelyn Glennie face as a young musician entering the Royal Academy of Music in London?

A1: Evelyn, profoundly deaf, faced the daunting task of pursuing music despite her disability. Her journey began on a Scottish farm, where she felt the vibrations of the underground train, symbolising her determination amidst adversity.

Q2: How did Evelyn’s gradual hearing loss impact her academic and musical pursuits?

A2: Evelyn’s hearing loss became evident at age eight, affecting her piano playing. Despite efforts to conceal her deafness, deteriorating marks prompted an intervention. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with severe impairment due to nerve damage, altering her path but not her resolve.

Q3: What pivotal moment propelled Evelyn’s musical journey despite her deafness?

A3: Encountering a girl playing the xylophone, Evelyn discovered her passion. Despite discouragement, percussionist Ron Forbes recognised her potential. Through innovative teaching methods, Evelyn learned to sense notes through vibrations, igniting her determination to pursue music despite her disability.

Q4: How did Evelyn’s determination and talent lead to her success in music?

A4: Evelyn’s perseverance propelled her from youth orchestras to the Royal Academy of Music, where she achieved top honours. She transitioned from orchestral to solo performances, captivating audiences worldwide with her mastery of percussion and diverse instrument repertoire.

Q5: What perspective does Evelyn offer on her achievements and work ethic?

A5: Evelyn attributes her success to hard work and clarity of purpose. Rejecting notions of heroism, she emphasises dedication and direction. Despite challenges, her relentless pursuit of excellence in music yields immense personal and professional fulfilment.

Q6: How does Evelyn navigate communication challenges, considering her deafness?

A6: Despite deafness, Evelyn communicates effortlessly, relying on lip-reading and facial cues. Her speech, acquired before hearing loss, remains clear. Remarkably, she has learned multiple languages, defying conventional expectations and showcasing her adaptability.

Q7: How does Evelyn experience music despite her deafness?

A7: For Evelyn, music transcends auditory perception, manifesting as tactile sensations throughout her body. Vibrations resonate in her fingertips, cheeks, and even hair, allowing her to connect with the essence of sound intimately through physical immersion.

Q8: What accolades and recognition has Evelyn received for her musical prowess?

A8: Evelyn’s extraordinary talent has earned her prestigious awards, such as the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Soloist of the Year. Esteemed percussionists praise her profound musical expression and acknowledge her unique ability to convey emotion through her artistry.

Q9: How does Evelyn use her platform to inspire and uplift others?

A9: Evelyn engages in philanthropic endeavours beyond her performances, offering free concerts in prisons and hospitals. She prioritises mentoring young musicians, serving as a beacon of hope for deaf children and demonstrating the boundless possibilities of perseverance.

Q10: What legacy has Evelyn Glennie established through her contributions to music and society?

A10: Evelyn’s impact extends far beyond her musical achievements. She has revolutionised perceptions of percussion, inspired countless individuals facing adversity, and brought joy to millions through her artistry, leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Q11: What role does Evelyn’s mentor, percussionist Ron Forbes, play in her musical development?

A11: Ron Forbes’ innovative teaching methods and encouragement were instrumental in Evelyn’s musical journey. His guidance allowed her to discover her ability to sense sound through vibrations, laying the foundation for her remarkable music career.

Q12: How does Evelyn’s commitment to giving back to her community reflect her values?

A12: Evelyn’s dedication to providing free concerts in prisons and hospitals and mentoring young musicians reflects her deep-seated values of compassion and inclusivity. She recognises the transformative power of music and seeks to share it with diverse audiences.

Q13: In what ways has Evelyn Glennie’s story inspired individuals facing similar challenges?

A13: Evelyn’s story inspires and empowers people confronting disabilities or adversity. By demonstrating resilience, determination, and the ability to overcome obstacles, she offers hope and encouragement to others on their journeys.

Q14: How can feeling music instead of just listening to it, as Evelyn Glennie does, change people’s perceptions of disabilities?

A14: Evelyn’s approach highlights the importance of embracing diverse modes of perception and expression. By showcasing the richness of sensory experiences beyond hearing, she challenges stereotypes and fosters greater acceptance and inclusion for individuals with disabilities.

Q15: What lessons can individuals learn from Evelyn Glennie’s remarkable journey, regardless of their background or abilities?

A15: Evelyn’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of determination, resilience, and passion. Her story inspires people to pursue their dreams relentlessly, overcome obstacles with creativity, and embrace the inherent value of diverse perspectives in achieving personal and professional fulfilment.

Long Answer Type Questions: 

Q1: What techniques did percussionist Ron Forbes teach Evelyn Glennie to help her sense sound without hearing it?

A1: Percussionist Ron Forbes taught Evelyn Glennie unconventional methods to perceive sound despite her deafness. He encouraged her to focus on sensing vibrations rather than relying on auditory cues. Initially, Forbes tuned drums to different notes and instructed Glennie to feel the vibrations with other parts of her body. 

Repeated exercises taught her to associate specific vibrations with different musical notes, essentially “feeling” the music. Forbes emphasised opening her mind and body to the vibrations, allowing Glennie to develop a unique sensitivity to sound through tactile sensation. These techniques enabled her to transcend her hearing impairment and pursue a successful career as a musician, showcasing her remarkable ability to perceive and express music beyond conventional auditory means.

Q2: How did Evelyn Glennie’s determination and hard work lead to her success as a musician?

A2: Evelyn Glennie’s success as a musician can be attributed to her unwavering determination and relentless hard work. Despite facing profound deafness from a young age, Glennie refused to let her disability hinder her passion for music. She exhibited exceptional perseverance, refusing to accept defeat or limitations imposed by her condition. Instead, she embraced challenges head-on, continually seeking innovative ways to overcome obstacles. Glennie’s dedication to her craft drove her to push boundaries and strive for excellence in her musical pursuits. 

Through countless hours of practice and unwavering commitment, she honed her skills and mastery of percussion instruments, eventually gaining recognition as one of the world’s most sought-after multi percussionist. Glennie’s relentless determination and work ethic propelled her to success and inspired countless individuals worldwide, demonstrating the power of resilience and perseverance in achieving one’s dreams.

Q3: Can you explain how Evelyn Glennie experiences music physically, according to her description?

A3: Evelyn Glennie experiences music profoundly physically, utilising her body’s senses to perceive sound despite her deafness. According to her description, music “pours in through every part” of her body. She feels vibrations tingling in her skin, cheekbones, and hair. When playing percussion instruments like the xylophone or drums, she senses the vibrations passing through the instrument into her fingertips or flowing into her body when leaning against them. Glennie removes her shoes on wooden platforms to allow vibrations to pass through her bare feet and up her legs. Through these tactile sensations, she immerses herself in the physicality of music, connecting deeply with its rhythms and textures on a visceral level, transcending the auditory experience.

Q4: What recognition and awards has Evelyn Glennie received for her contributions to music?

A4: Evelyn Glennie’s exceptional contributions to music have garnered her numerous prestigious awards and recognition throughout her career. In 1991, she was presented with the Royal Philharmonic Society’s esteemed Soloist of the Year Award, a testament to her remarkable talent and accomplishments as a musician. 

Glennie has received numerous accolades, including honorary doctorates from several universities, highlighting her significant impact and influence in music. Her achievements include being appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2007 for her services to music. These honours underscore the profound admiration and respect for Glennie’s groundbreaking work as a multipercussionist and her dedication to advancing the art of percussion on the global stage.

Q5: What impact has Evelyn Glennie had on the perception of percussion in classical music and those with disabilities?

A5: Evelyn Glennie’s pioneering work has profoundly impacted the perception of percussion in classical music and transformed attitudes towards individuals with disabilities. Through her unparalleled skill and artistry, Glennie has elevated percussion to the forefront of classical music, showcasing its depth, versatility, and emotional resonance. Her groundbreaking performances have shattered stereotypes and expanded the traditional understanding of orchestral music, demonstrating the power and complexity of percussion instruments. 

Glennie’s journey as a profoundly deaf musician has inspired countless individuals with disabilities, proving that any obstacle can be overcome with determination and innovation. Her success is a beacon of hope and empowerment, encouraging inclusivity and diversity within the music industry while challenging perceptions and fostering greater appreciation for percussion and the abilities of individuals with disabilities.

Q6: How does Evelyn Glennie’s philosophy of “feeling” rather than “hearing” music challenge societal attitudes towards disability and ability?

A6: Evelyn Glennie’s philosophy of “feeling” rather than “hearing” music challenges societal attitudes towards disability and ability by redefining what it means to experience and excel in music. By showcasing her remarkable ability to perceive and interpret music through tactile sensations and vibrations, Glennie demonstrates that traditional notions of ability, particularly in music, are limited and often exclusionary. 

Her approach highlights the importance of embracing diverse perspectives and abilities, challenging the conventional hierarchy of sensory perception and highlighting the richness of human experience beyond auditory faculties. Glennie’s success as a deaf musician not only celebrates the resilience and ingenuity of individuals with disabilities but also encourages society to reconsider its perceptions of talent, potential, and the boundaries of human achievement.

YouTube: The Sound of Music Part 1 Explanation:


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