Deaf pianist on hitting the right notes
Born with 80 per cent hearing loss, Ron Tan taught himself how to play the piano at 17. Four years later, not only does he have a regular gig, but also helps musicians with disabilities make music

This is brought to you by Our Better World, an initiative of the Singapore International Foundation – sharing stories to inspire good

MANILA, Philippines – At 17, Ron Tan taught himself how to play the piano. Growing up, he got involved in a slew of other hobbies,  but the moment he sat and learned how to work the ivories, he knew music was going to be a big part of his life.

Four years later, at 21, he’s a regular performer at Singapore’s Changi Village Hotel. He continues to make music with more fervor than when he first started out. 

Ron is also 80 per cent deaf.

“People say – ‘Ron you are deaf, you can’t do this. You can’t perform,'” he says. “But you still want to do it because you love to do it.”

Together with his friend Danial bin Hamdan, Ron founded a social enterprise for performers with disabilities. Called I.AM or the Inclusive Art Movement, Ron says he now wants to help others find their purpose through music in spite of a physical handicap.