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written by members of WTJU Charlottesville's folk department with stuff maybe of interest to listeners to the station. This blog is not an official WTJU or UVA website. Want to leave a message about any of our programs (or us in general) that we can broadcast over the air? Call 434-218-3655, and leave a voice mail.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

News from WTJU's Blue O'Connell

Hi to all in the WTJU community! Two years ago this past January, as you may recall, I underwent cochlear implant surgery. If you remember, I was excited for the opportunity to hear birds again and I signed on to the folk marathon to do a show on birds that following spring. But as it turned out, I had to cancel because my hearing did not come back so easily... but with some hard work, I have prevailed! This link is to an NPR interview that WVTF did with me that played on 1.4.11:
(scroll down to that date to find me)


You may know that cochlear implants  (CI) are more of a speech processor and they are not really known for being good with musical perception. Many with CIs can't discern one pitch from another and therefore cannot recognize a melody.  For this reason I worked with a music teacher friend doing various ear training exercises in the early stages of my aural rehab. We worked with tuning forks to aid me in feeling the vibrations of the pitches & frequencies of notes.   In one exercise she quizzed me on interval recognition. She would play two notes in succession and I would listen to see if I could discern what interval it was. I used some charts that can be found online as an aid with interval recognition.  Some examples are: first measure of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” has a perfect fifth, the intro to “When the Saints Go Marching In” is a major third, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” begins with an octave, and so on.  There are lots more things we did.. but suffice to say I have not only regained my musical perception but I have also surpassed anything I could have hoped to do with music. 

I started a recording with Jeff Romano a few months before my CI surgery and had to put the project on hold. But I have just about finished the project and you will be seeing a Kickstarter video soon to help fund it. I will have Mary Gordon Hall on harmonies with me and Peter Markush on cello. 

I thought you'd like to read about a happy ending! 
Thanks everyone for all the support you gave me throughout this challenging time for me.

Best wishes from Blue

Below is  a YouTube video from a recent concert I did in Phoenix, AZ.

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