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Blind Boy Defines His Life With Music


When Frankie Moran first saw his son Cole, he could not imagine ever sharing his love of music with the boy. Cole had cognitive delays and other birth defects. And he was blind.

"When he was born I didn't see any eyes like how we have eyes. And my heart sank."

But Cole was not deaf, and quickly showed an interest in music. Mr. Moran is a singer and songwriter. He says his son liked to be nearby when he was making music at home. He says Cole would touch the instruments.

At around the age of one, Cole started playing notes of simple songs on a toy piano.

“That is about the same time we discovered he had perfect pitch. Because when he would miss a note and hit the wrong note in a melody like ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,’ he would go back and find that note. So that’s how we figured he knew what he was hearing.”

Constant practice

Cole Moran is now 12 years old. Cole plays music every day. He records his performances and listens back to the sound. He enjoys the work.

"Happy. When I am playing music, I am happy.”

Father-Son duets

Cole's choice of instrument since he was four has been the harmonica, which he often plays with his dad. Last year, the father and son duo won second place at a Fiddler's Convention in their hometown, Berlin, Maryland.

Now and then, Cole performs with his father under the name Blind Wind at a restaurant in Berlin.

The 12-year-old released his first CD recently. His mother, Jenny Moran, was excited.

“It is wonderful that he has something that he can do for the rest of his life that he will always enjoy."

Cole attends Maryland School for the Blind in Baltimore. There will be lots of time for music when classes end for the summer break. Frankie Moran says he and Cole plan to hit the road. They want to do a series of Blind Wind performances around the country.

I’m ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Kelly Jean Kelly.

VOA’s June Soh reported on this story from Washington. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. ­­George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

cognitiveadj. of, relating to, or involving mental activities (such as thinking, understanding, learning and remembering)

defectn. a physical problem that causes something to be less valuable, effective or healthy

blindadj. unable to see

perfect pitch – n. the ability to correctly identify any musical note that you hear or to sing any musical note correctly without help

duo n. two people who perform together, are usually seen together, or with ties to each other

hit the road verb phrase to travel; to go on a trip

Do you know someone like Cole, who has overcome physical difficulties to achieve important goals? Tell us about it and practice your English writing skills at the same time. Post your comments below.

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