Music in Different Words

Friday night, 1/21/11, as I was watching ABC World News and “Person of the Week,” they featured the story of Allyson Townsend, who interprets the words to many different songs in American Sign Language. She’s a second grade teacher in Texas. Many of her students are completely deaf. She has made music part of the curriculum where she can, and has a big following on her YouTube Channel. She is also getting her sign language interpreting certification, and one day hopes to interpret at concerts and other events. More power to her! She’s great. (Waving two hands in the air as applause!)

Here’s Allyson doing her rendition of Tim McGraw’s “Just to See You Smile,” and explaining how to sign to music, conveying the emotion:

I learned a bit of ASL at camp one year long ago, and later through former co-workers, who shared the book The Joy of Signing with me. Doing the two-handed signs was difficult. I haven’t had to use it in years, and I miss it.

A co-worker who was hearing-impaired once told me that she felt music through speakers and the vibrations in the floor. That inspired her to dance.


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