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Musical Celebrity Profiles

Here's a list of performers and composers who hit some high notes in their careers. Each of them also happened to live with a disability. Their unique combination of intelligences -- strengths as well as weaknesses -- made them such successful people.

Cher
Pop star and Academy Award-winning actress. You know she's an outrageous dresser, but did you know she's dyslexic?

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Russian pianist, composer, and conductor. He had a learning disability.

Robert Schumann
German composer and music critic. A hand injury forced him to abandon a career as a pianist. He had a mental illness.

Itzhak Perlman
Celebrated Israeli violinist. He contracted polio as a child.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Revolutionary German composer who lost his hearing as an adult. Though he could no longer perform, he continued to compose works of great depth and complexity.

Stevie Wonder
Award-winning singer, composer, producer, arranger, and instrumentalist. He signed his first record deal at age 10. He has been blind since birth.

What do your kids think?
Ask your kids if they can think of any famous people who have high musical intelligence. Start them off with a few familiar names:

  • Carlos Santana
  • Barbara Streisand
  • Leonard Bernstein
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Paul Simon
  • Sarah Brightman
  • Miles Davis

    Brought to you by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

    Source: Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom by Thomas Armstrong (ASCD 1994)

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    Bodily-Kinesthetic Musical Naturalistic Spatial

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