Sean Chandler is a professional musician, who has worked with Yorkshire Youth & Music on our Deaf Young People and Instrumental Learning programme as a facilitator and mentor. He is also Deaf.

We asked Sean to talk to us a little bit more about how he came to play the trumpet as a professional peer alongside hearing musicians, and how he is now a mentor and role model for aspiring young, deaf musicians across the UK.

“I was a Deaf child in a mainstream hearing school, and my parents were determined that I should communicate through speech. This was a great aspiration, but it made some things difficult – I didn’t learn to sign as a child and my speech wasn’t great when I was younger. So I was different from the other kids in the school and unsurprisingly was given nicknames. People also thought that because I was Deaf, I couldn’t hear anything, but like most Deaf people, that wasn’t the case. One day in Year 4 I heard sounds coming from somewhere in the school, and I followed the sounds to the Library. I found children having trumpet lessons, and a trumpet was lying on the table. I picked it up – and nobody told me I should put it down – in fact the teacher came over and asked if I was interested. And that’s when I started to play, and it changed my life.”

“I had a brilliant teacher in Secondary School who encouraged me to join the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain when I was 15. After 5 successful and enjoyable years performing with the band all over the UK I left and went to study at Salford University. I then qualified as a Music teacher at Liverpool Hope University. Now I teach deaf children and lead workshops with Youth Music, Music and the Deaf and of course, Yorkshire Youth & Music.”

“I’ve had some amazing experiences as a player, with Goldie’s Band at Buckingham Palace, and plenty of other bands and places. There’s nothing like playing music in a band with other people. It has given me a confidence and drive like no other. I am thankful for music and the many benefits it brings.”

To his own life and definitely to many others – we can attest to that.

Sean recently commented on his involvement in our Deaf Instrumental Learning project:

“What an amazing experience and privilege it was for me to see the deaf children and young people get excited and engage with music making. It was a real opportunity for both myself and Eloise Garland as Deaf professional musicians to shine a light on the possibilities of music making in the settings we visited. Highlights from the project include seeing the violinists perform together, leading a training session with music teachers (and practitioners) who teach Deaf children and hearing the sounds of the brass instruments being played by all of the workshop attendees. I was impressed particularly with the high level of organisation and engagement from leaders of the local music services we came into contact with. I very much hope to work with YY&M again.”