Paper presented during the Carleton University Music and Culture Graduate Student Society 2021 Symposium on March 20th, 2021, the 2021 Midwest Graduate Music Consortium on April 11th, 2021, and the uOttawa Graduate Music Student Conference on April 16th, 2021.
It is often assumed that inquiry between music and disability is limited to the field of music therapy. I argue that a musician with a disability can develop a strong professional career, provided that a key adaptation occurs along the journey.
This paper explores methods employed by professional musicians to succeed in their careers despite their disability. It is illustrated by interviews of three different musicians, living in three different parts of the world, who chose three different instruments.
After defining what Critical Disability Studies can bring to music by examining the existing literature on music and disability, I propose an analytical approach of the three interviews, on medical issues, embodiment, perception, adaptation and accessibility. The past, present and vision of the future of the three musicians are addressed and show contrasting journeys and perspectives. The essay highlights how each artist was able to make use of their own reflections on their musical journey.
Based on the three case studies and the literary works already available on the subject, the paper finishes by providing a model for reflection to build a bridge between the music field and Critical Disability Studies to allow a complementarity that is rarely addressed in both scholarships.