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Blind-deaf drummer beats physical hurdles

January 14, 2015 in Community News

 

 

Vaughn Brown graduates from prestigious music school, teaches lessons

The Columbian, Vancouver, WA
By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter
January 1, 2015

Some people achieve so much, despite the odds, that they inspire those around them. Vaughn Brown, a deaf-blind percussionist and music educator, is one of those inspiring people.

Clapping out the beat, Brown turned toward his student, Leilani Towner, who sat at Brown’s drum kit, pounding out a rhythm.

“Excellent!” Brown said. “Let’s speed it up a bit.”

He clapped a faster beat. Leilani played the piece again. Smiling, Brown nodded.

Brown, 27, graduated from Berklee College of Music, a prestigious private school in Boston, in May. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music with a focus on education and performance. Now he’s back in Vancouver teaching private lessons and looking for a day job to pay the bills.

“He didn’t consider that he had barriers,” said Jennifer Langley, who was Brown’s music teacher at Washington State School for the Blind. “He just shined. Everything he did, he did to not just his best ability, but to the best ability possible. He had that kind of moral fortitude you’d want everyone to have. He inspired everyone.”

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