The Deaf Musicians

by Pete Seeger

Other authorsR. Gregory Gregory Christie (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2006





G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (2006), 32 pages


Lee, a jazz pianist, has to leave his band when he begins losing his hearing, but he meets a deaf saxophone player in a sign language class and together they form a snazzy new band.

User reviews

LibraryThing member mcrotti
Pete Seeger's Schneider Family Award winning book tells the story of Lee, a jazz musician who has lost his hearing and can no longer play in his band. He begins taking class at a school for the deaf and learning sign language. He eventually meets other students who want to make music, and they begin to sign music to each other. Soon they have their very own sign language band, and begin performing for crowds in the subway station.
Libraries can use this book in a storytime lesson about deafness, in tandem with a basic sign language activity, perhaps. This book should be added to collections because it will be useful and inspirational for young readers. It shows the importance of never giving up, and it helps readers to realize that full, fulfilling, interesting lives can be lived even in the face of disablity.
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LibraryThing member emgalford
Seeger, P. and P.D. Jacobs. (2006). The Deaf Musicians. New York City: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

In The Deaf Musicians, Lee used to love to play the piano, but now that he has lost his ability to hear, he can no longer make music. He is very depressed until he begins attending a special school to learn sign language. There he meets another young deaf boy named Max. Max used to play the saxophone. Like Lee, Max desperately misses making music. While riding the subway to school one day, Max and Lee start signing all the songs they used to love to play with their instruments. While they are signing, others on the bus join in. Soon, they have a small sign language band on the bus. Now Lee can make music again, just in a different way. This book encourages people with disabilities to think outside the box. Even though Lee had lost the ability to make music with the piano, he found another way to make music. Just because a person may lack the ability to do something the way most people do it, it doesn’t mean they are incapable of doing it their own way. This way isn’t any less correct than the most popular way. This book serves as a reminder to people with disabilities that they are capable of doing the same things that people without disabilities can do. They just may need to do these things in their own special way. This picture book is the 2007 winner of the Schneider Family Book Award.

This book could be used in an elementary school library to celebrate the accomplishments of people with hearing disabilities. After read the story to the class, students can discuss what it would be like to lose their hearing. They could discuss how things may become more difficult or less difficult. The students could then share their feelings about learning sign language. As a group, the students could learn a short song using sign language. Then, the students could perform their song for other classes in the school.
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LibraryThing member michelleraphael
This book about people who are hard of hearing. They love to play music and start a band on the subway. Its strong message that nothing can hold you back from what you want, really struck a cord with me.
LibraryThing member ambourg7
This book made my heart smile. A man who was a great musician suddenly became deaf. After messing up on stage with his original band, they decided it was best they let him go. He came across a school for the deaf. Here he learned sign language and how to communicate. He came to befriend another man who liked to place music also. After practicing and practicing, they put a band together with other musicians who were deaf and some that weren't deaf but knew how to communicate with them. People loved listening to them play. This is a story that teaches students that just because you have a obstacle in life, practice and figure out a way to overcome it. This is a great read!… (more)
LibraryThing member Jill.Barrington
A musician in a band becomes deaf. His band decides not to include him in their music anymore. He begins a group, unintentionally, of other deaf musicians. His former band mates learn to appreciate his new music style.

The book would be useful in discussing deafness, music, and creativity.
LibraryThing member vwhitt
This is a special book about overcoming the obstacle of deafness. Lee is a piano player. However, losing his hearing is affecting his ability to play music. After losing his spot in the band, he chooses to overcome it by learning to sign. He meets Max, who is a saxophone player who is also deaf. Together, they create a subway band where the sign and mimic the sounds of their instruments. They became hugely popular. They would perform to crowded subway trains every night to cheers and applause. Turns out, people didn’t look at their disability as an issue, but a unique difference.

Details: This book was written o interest children in grades K-3 and is on a 2.2 reading level.
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LibraryThing member McEvilla
I felt very bad for this Lee in the beginning of the story because he was in a band and he was starting to lose his hearing. His band kicked him out because they said that no one will be able to hear a deaf person play music. Lee saw an ad on the bus one day that was a school for the deaf. Lee went there and met a great friend they soon became close and started their own deaf band. Everyone loved there music. Lee learned how to play notes from his schooling.… (more)
LibraryThing member lmhudson
While reading this book I just couldn't help but think did Beethoven continue to create great music after becoming completely deaf. Although it was a good story about overcoming obstacles and still following your dreams even though it became more difficult I still couldn't wrap my head around Lee's band mates kicking him out of the band and the phrase "Who would listen to a deaf musician" with knowing about Beethoven and the fact that many people listen to the music Beethoven created after losing his hearing.… (more)
LibraryThing member CSLA2Team
After losing his hearing, jazzman Lee learns to make music in a new way. The book’s upbeat narrative, along with its bright colors, teaches the reader that there is more than one way to do everything, to never give up on your dreams and that music can be enjoyed by all.
LibraryThing member AnnaMoody
The Deaf Musicians is a piano man named Lee. Lee plays in a snazzy style band. Unfortunately Lee begins to lose his hearing and gets kicked out of his band. As the story progresses Lee makes a new band with other deaf musicians. All the sounds in the book are in a different font and color than the other writing. This is great emphasis for this type of book. I would recommend that the reader sings these parts. The illustrations are bright and jazzy. I would recommend this book for a music lesson.… (more)
LibraryThing member epalaz
This book is an excellent in showing that music is not only for the hearing people. Deaf people uses their hands to communicate and music is no exception. The illustrations shows the emotions of the characters and other people in the story and how they are still a band without musical instruments.
LibraryThing member Anthony2013
In this book Lee overcomes the obstacle of being deaf. He is a piano player. However, losing his hearing is affecting his ability to play music. After losing his spot in the band, he chooses to overcome it by learning to sign. He meets Max, who is a saxophone player who is also deaf. Together, they create a subway band where the sign and mimic the sounds of their instruments. They became hugely popular. They would perform to crowded subway trains every night to cheers and applause. Turns out, people didn’t look at their disability as an issue, but a unique difference.

Book Review, Pierce College Ages (3)6)
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LibraryThing member ArielDean
Lee is in a band but is losing his hearing. When he is no longer to follow the notes of his band mates, he is kicked out the group. He is sad but sees a sign for a school for the deaf. He attends and eventually makes a new band of death musicians. I really liked how the musical words were in different color and font. It was attention grabbing. I also liked the whole band being deaf. It's something I've never seen but shows how music isn't heard with the hears but felt with the heart.… (more)
LibraryThing member bereneezypie
Such a good book, especially for those that are hard of hearing or deaf (really, any disability). It tells the tale of a musician who is going deaf and can no longer play. After he goes to a school for deaf people, he realizes he can still do many things. The illustrations are nice, too!
LibraryThing member KellyLPickett
Lee is a talented Jazz musician who sadly realizes that he is losing his hearing. When his bandmates realize that he is no longer playing as well as he once had, they ask him to leave the band. Saddened by this rejection, Lee finds an advertisement for a school of the deaf and decides to give ti a try in hopes of finding something new that he can learn to do. Learning sign language was so much fun and the rhythm of which people were moving their hands reminded him of music.
This is a fun read with very bright and colorful illustrations that I feel children would really enjoy. It talks about having a love and passion for something and no matter what happens that passion stays with you. It also talks about how we are capable of doing so much more than other people may think we are.
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LibraryThing member sreinh2
I thought that this book was really good. I went into thinking that it would be about a child who was deaf who was in a band, but I was surprised when the main character was an older man who was losing his hearing. This was very different because most of the books I have read were about children, but this was good to show what can happen if someone loses their hearing later in life.

I really liked that the main character in the book was not discouraged when he was kicked out of the band. I mean he was sad but once he saw the sign for the deaf school he had a new purpose in life: to learn sign language. I loved how this book showed that anyone could learn new things if the put their mind and heart to it. This book showed that even though the main character was kicked out of the band that he was originally in he found something that made him happy and turned out to be even better for him.

The illustrations in this book compliment the story well. They show the characters signing the music and I loved that it showed the other people having a good time watching the band perform. This book shows that even though people face obstacles in their lives, they can overcome them and possibly find something even better. I can definitely see why this book was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award. It was fantastic and I think that everyone should read it.
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LibraryThing member MSittig
This book is a colorful picture book about a jazz musician who learns how to make music in a new way considering he is deaf. After starting to those his hearing more and more, Lee goes to school for the deaf and learns sign language. He finds people that are just like him and creates his own band. They perform night after night and this book is so inspirational it teaches others that just because someone tells you that you cannot do something, does not mean that you cant do it!… (more)
LibraryThing member HannahRevard
Lee is a jazz musician who loses his hearing. His band members kick him out because, "Who will listen to a deaf musician?" He ends up going to a school for the deaf, where he learns sign language and makes new friends. He loves sign language because it allows him to move his hands in the rhythmic yet chaotic way jazz music is played. He also finds that signing allowed him and his friends to "talk over the racket of subway cars and rush hour crowds."… (more)
LibraryThing member slbenne1
Lee loved to play the piano. However, his band started to notice a change. Lee was losing his hearing, and he was messing up his notes. It got so bad, he eventually quit the band. He decided to go to a school for the deaf hoping to learn how to do something new. He learned sign language and felt it helped him communicate better. Little did he know, there were many deaf people who could play music, and he'd be able what he loved to do after all.… (more)
LibraryThing member SMLawrence
Lee plays the piano and every night he plays beautiful jazz with his band until one night he starts to realize he cannot hear the notes anymore - he is going deaf. Lee's bandmates fire him and ask him, "Who will listen to a deaf musician?" Lee feels like he has no purpose anymore, that is until he sees a sign for a school for the deaf. Lee starts to learn sign language and he starts to play music with his hands. Lee draws huge crowds and realizes that everyone wants to hear a deaf musician play.
This book is great, I have had trouble finding books in the library about hearing impairments, but this one is perfect. Not only does it show that someone with a hearing impairment can achieve great things, but it shows that they do not have to give up on their aspirations or settle for anything. The illustrations also perfectly capture music, they are fun and colorful and the musical notes are written in fun and interesting text.
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LibraryThing member amartino1208
A hearing disability can be something that can change you life around. A musician had to leave his band when he became hearing impaired. While at a sign language class he meets another deaf musician who plays the saxophone. Together they create a band and play wonderful jazz music. Don't let one disability stop you from doing the things you love to do. Even if they could not hear what they were playing they still played anyways. I enjoyed this book because despite the sudden difficulty the musician had to undergo, he still dis what he loved to do.… (more)
LibraryThing member Analley
Lee loved to play the piano; he played in a band with some of his buddies at a jazz club every night. Lee and his band were playing one night and Lee seemed to be off beat with the notes, the notes were not matching up with the other band members. His buddies asked him why the notes were off and he was too ashamed to tell them that we was becoming deaf. As time went on Lee's hearing became worse and worse to the point where the bandleader had to ask Lee to leave. The bandleader said no one would want to hear music from someone who is deaf, or hear the music themselves. Lee didn't know what to do until he saw a sign about deaf school. He thought that this would help point him in the right direction. Lee attended the school and really enjoyed every minute in school. Sign language was his favorite class; it reminded him of how he used to play the notes on a piano and other musical instruments. While attending school Lee became really good friends with a young man named Max. Together they started their own band. They played all over the city, but the subway train rides to and from school were where they mostly played. Rose was on one of the subways they happened to be playing one, and she wanted to join the band, to play the flute. Together the three of them played throughout the city in and out of the subway stations. Rose's friend Ellie became the vocals for the band. and with vocals added to the band they were unstoppable. While playing on the subways Lee's old band member heard the new music and loved the music so much. Lee said to his old band member that EVERYONE loved to listen to a deaf musician. I really enjoyed this story because it shows that even if someone has a disability it doesn't mean that they are not capable of doing the same think as someone without a disability. This short story pointed out that you shouldn't knock someone down just because they are different than you.… (more)
LibraryThing member jwesley
The Deaf Musicians is about a jazz musician named Lee who loses his hearing. After his bandleader let him go because of his inability to hear, Lee saw an advertisement on a subway for a school for the deaf where he meets Max. The two start up a subway band with two other band members and gained a large audience. I found the book inspirational as it emphasizes Lee's ability to never give up his dream because of his disability. Additionally, the book showcases the power of music and how it unites everyone.… (more)
LibraryThing member kbartholomew1
Lee, the piano player, was devastated when he lost his hearing; how can a deaf man play in a jazz band? While on the subway, Lee sees a sign for a school for the deaf. To fill the void of playing in the band, Lee thought he could learn something new at the school for the deaf. At the school, Lee learns sign language from Max who is a deaf saxophone player. On their subway rides home, Lee and Max begin to play music using sign language, the musicians could hear the music in their heads. Soon a group formed and people on the subway watched the deaf musicians practice. On the last page of the book, Lee’s old band leader tells Lee how fantastic his new band is, in return, Lee says “Remember when you asked me who will listen to a deaf musician?...Everyone!” Lee thought that he would never be a musician again, but to his own surprise, the music was still apart of him. Like many others, Lee did not let his disability define him. People with or without a disability can relate to this book, the message in the book is to never give up on your dreams.… (more)
LibraryThing member Rvalencia
This book is a powerful message that nothing should hinder you from doing what you love, not even becoming deaf. Lee plays the piano and he slowly starts to loose his hearing and when he is kicked off his band, he turns to the school for deaf where he learns that his hands can become his ears.


Original language


Physical description

32 p.; 10.4 inches


039924316X / 9780399243165


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