Piano teacher overcomes disability, uses music to empower students

Virus left Mrs. Linda Camann paralyzed at age of 2

SAN ANTONIO – Whether it's through the rhythm and beat, or a song's words, music connects people.

A local piano teacher has overcome her disability, and she uses the power of music to empower her students. It's helping those with a disability to open up and share their musical gifts.

Her students know her as Mrs. Camann, and their time with her is a retreat from their daily routine.

"My class is basically two-thirds total-abled and one-third have a disability of some sort," Linda Camann said.

Betina Vega has been taking piano lessons here for 10 years. She's blind, but with the help of her teacher, she's gained the confidence and the skill to share her passion for music with others.

"I'm able to teach the blind and the sighted, and that's one of the biggest things," Vega said. "Not only to play, but be able to give back."

Camann is able to really touch those she works with because she herself is an inspiration. A virus left her paralyzed at the age of 2. She had to make adjustments, as many children do, to be able to play solo.

"So the abled-bodied child learns to work with someone who is disabled, and the disabled child gets to work with someone who has no physical or mental challenges," Camann said.

The Munoz brothers sit side by side, hitting the keys as they go through their song. You can't tell one is fighting a brain tumor and is learning to use his right hand again. Their mother is grateful she's found a teacher who can work with them together and happy it's something they both look forward to.

"It brings so much joy to the both of them because they have something in common that they can do," Vanessa Costilla said.

"Once we rise above our disability, then the focus is on what we're doing," Camann said.

Anyone can come out and help Mrs. Camann's students celebrate the power of music Sunday at the Empire Theatre downtown. The free concert starts at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.

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About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.