11-year-old Wendell used to feel limited because he is partially deaf and mute. Almost every day after school, he and his brother just played video games and watched TV. Occasionally he’d go outside to play alone with no friends. All of that changed for Wendell when he joined the Studio Clubhouse at the YMCA. He quickly made friends and became very loved by his peers who helped him achieve his goals in the Studio.
Wendell’s journey at the Studio Clubhouse has been unique. At first, he spent most of his time listening to music by himself; his hearing aids allowed him to hear enough to follow the verses and emulate the sounds with his mouth. Soon after, however, Wendell started participating with the other youth as they would gather for karaoke or just to sing popular songs all together, with the microphones amplifying their voices. He enjoyed singing and performing with the group and also as a solo performer.
Eventually, Wendell also found an interest in the recording process. This came as a pleasant surprise to his Clubhouse Director.
“Initially, I would approach him when he was just listening to music and show him a few tricks on the recording software, like how to play with loops. But he did not show any interest in what I was doing,” he said. “Then one day he called me over and asked me to listen to what he was working on.”
What Wendell had created was a combination of audio track and loops using sounds he recorded of people playing in the Studio. Since then, Wendell has continued to explore and learn the recording technology. He is confident in working by himself but also very comfortable collaborating and performing with his peers.
Through his experiences at the Studio Clubhouse, Wendell has become a young man who is not limited by his disabilities. He has found joy in his new musical skill-set, and more importantly, in his personal relationships.