A very special visitor- Paul Whittaker, a deaf Musician

In 1988 Paul founded Music and the Deaf”, a charity to help deaf people enjoy music. In 1992, Paul began giving signed theatre performances, working on shows such as Les Miserables, Cats, Phantom Of The Opera, West Side Story, Carousel, My Fair Lady, and many more. He has also signed for The Sixteen Choir, Rambert Dance Company, Opera North, and at the Edinburgh International and Aldeburgh Festivals. This is truly an amazing guy and he came to visit us on Tuesday 18th January.

Paul has a wicked sense of humour and immediately connected with our children. He engaged them, made them laugh and shared his passion for music by teaching us 2 songs; Three Little Birds (don’t worry be happy) by Bob Marley and Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Andrew Lloyd Webber).

In 2007, Paul was awarded an OBE for Services to Music and also holds Honorary degrees from the University of Huddersfield and the Open University. 

These are some of the children’s reflections after Paul’s visit.

Alice wrote…. What I really enjoyed was learning the sign language because it was a new skill…This was the first time I had met a person who was deaf and I had always wondered what it would be like to communicate with them…..learning sign language at 10 must have been really hard.

Gracie reflected…I was fascinated by Paul’s music career because I wondered how could you do music and be deaf? He made me laugh whilst simultaneously opening my eyes to the struggles that deaf people face every day.

Paul is internationally renowned and is a truly inspirational figure. He held a question and answer session after our fun teaching session. I was really impressed by the standard of questions our children asked such as If you can’t hear the music how can you teach the words?’ That was Jack. Paul reads the musical notation, translates the words into sounds and can feel the vibrations.

Henry asked if he had ever been bullied because of his deafness. Paul said that he remembers a boy who sat behind him in Maths when he was at secondary school who used to say horrible things to him. It just made him more determined to do his best and achieve his dreams.

Paul whittaker 2