25th February 2005 at 00:00
Luke Nichols, 15, plays timpani in the orchestra at Bury St Edmunds County Upper School, where he is in Year 10 and taking music GCSE. He lost almost all his hearing when he had meningitis at 19 months. He has a cochlear implant, which brings him to the level of mild hearing loss.

"I started playing drums two years ago. I have a drum teacher who visits me at home. Playing with other people is quite tricky, because when I play the drums I only hear myself.

"I mostly like to play rock, groove, funk and punk music. I can hear live or recorded music. When I listen to music I listen most to the drum line. I am currently working on the drum line from Green Day's song 'Give Me Novocaine'.

"Some GCSE lessons are quite hard for me, such as hearing the difference in major and minor chords. People usually talk to me about feeling the vibrations of the music, but that's not how I listen to music. Sometimes during music lessons I go out of the classroom with my supporter, who happens to be my drum teacher. He plays some notes on the piano where it is quiet and I can hear better than in a noisy classroom.

"It is hard to say if I work differently to hearing musicians because I can't imagine what it would be like to hear any different to the way I do now."

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