A Fife girl has been recognised for her impressive musical talents… even more impressive considering she suffers from hearing difficulties.
Zizi Wardle (12), from Ceres, is mildly deaf and has been selected by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) and deaf professionals from the arts industry for showcasing exceptional talent.
Along with 24 other deaf young people, Zizi – who attends Craigrothie Primary School – has been invited to a mentoring weekend as part of the Raising the Bar competition to work towards a live showcase.
The success came as a surprise to Zizi and the family as she has only been playing music for a ‘just over a year’ – since September 2014.
She plays the clarsach, an ancient Celtic instrument – the harp in the Irish flag – which worked well with her disability.
Her mother, Paloma Wardle, explained: “She tried a few instruments, but the clarsach is intimate and accessible for her with her hearing difficulties. We are very proud of her.”
Zizi said getting into the competition was “really exciting”, but admitted to be a little nervous about it.
She added: “I want to show other deaf children that they can get into music. I hope it can encourage others to play an instrument, and to find the right one for them.”
And Zizi also conveyed her gratitude to her music tutor Simon Chadwick, who has been teaching her Celtic songs.
Raising the Bar was developed by the NDCS to drive expectations of what the 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK can achieve.
The weekend will encompass dancing and drama as well as music.
The music masterclass, the part that Zizi will take part in, will be run by Danny Lane of Music and the Deaf, a unique charity working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy music.
The young stars will work towards a live showcase at the ‘mac Birmingham’ and perform in front of all of their family and friends.
Deaf actress Sophie Stone, who has appeared on Doctor Who, launched the competition earlier this year.
She said: “I am so impressed by the high standard of entries for the NDCS Raising the Bar competition.
“Having attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, I know how vital it is for deaf children and young people to be in an environment where they can build confidence, gain skills and make new friends.
“Deaf children are just as capable as everyone else; we just need to make they get the right support.”
Bryony Parkes, NDCS inclusive activities implementation manager, said: “It is really important that deaf children get the same opportunities.”