A Difficult Childhood
Ray Charles was born into poverty and hard times. He loved music and he practiced and became very successful. When he was 7 years old, he lost his sight to glaucoma and he was devastated. A year later, his father died. Then his mother died. He didn't understand what was happening to him, but he really wanted to learn music again. He wanted to keep playing music.
Ray Charles - Mini Bio
Skip to 0:41 for his resiliency
A whole different world
Ray needed to learn how to live in a totally different way. He had to learn Braille, so he can read text and music. "By age twelve, was reportedly able to arrange and score all parts of big band or orchestral music."(Marilyn Williams) He learned very quickly because he was a natural musician.
Learning to play agian
Ray went to the Florida School for the deaf and blind in St. Augustine, Florida. "Charles became familiar with classical music there, it was at the upright piano of Wylie Pittman, a local grocer, where Charles first experienced playing the piano."(Marilyn Williams and Tom Pendergast) He learned how to read, write, and play music even though he was blind. By age 18, he could play on the road, but he had become addicted to heroin. "By 1948, now 18 years old, Charles was a seasoned road musician. By this time, however, Charles had become acquainted with heroin, which he continued using for many years to come."(Marilyn Williams and Tom Pendergast) It wasn't always easy when he was learning, he had to use his brain. "His blindness required him to use his strong memory for music and his gift of perfect pitch."(NotableBiographies.com) He was on the path to becoming a professional musician.
Why was ray charles so resilient?
Ray Charles was a very resilient person for a few reasons. One, because he lost both his parents and still tried as hard as he could to become a professional musician. Second, he lost his right eye and then he lost all eyesight at the age of 7 and he went to a school for deaf and blind people so he could keep learning to write and read music. Third, even with all of the bad things that happened to him, Ray helped invent a new type of music - Soul Music. No matter what challenge was given to him, he overcame it.