What’s Working: Blind Pianist Has Extraordinary Talent

In tonight’s What’s Working, we introduce you to an extraordinary student musician at the University of South Alabama. He is an accomplished pianist, double majoring in piano performance and music education. Here is the part that is so amazing. Wei Min Patrick is blind. He came to the United States at the age of 10 after living in an orphanage for years. He was never exposed to the piano until he was adopted by an American family.

Patrick played by ear until he learned that many classical pieces are also written in Braille. He uses the Braille version for many of his pieces, but it is time-consuming.

For example, there is a Braille version of one of his favorite Mozart works, but it takes him hours longer to learn it. He has to memorize every note. His mentor, Dr. Robert Holm, with the USA Department of Music, says, “He can remember things in an incredible way. I think when I say measure sixty-four, I think he knows what that is before we even play. There are things about this memory that are exceptional.”

Wei Min is planning his senior piano recital next year. He will play an entire hour from memory. He hopes to one day be a music teacher, maybe even a band director. He does not look at his blindness as a disability. “If other people can do it, I should be able to do it. There are many routes you can take to get to one goal.”

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