[Menvi-discuss] Questions re. Blind Accompanists

Nicole Ming Hui Pua nicole.mhpua at gmail.com
Wed Apr 11 05:00:03 EDT 2012


Dear all,

This is not exactly music related. But, first of all, it is
encouraging and inspiring to read all the responses.

Karen's response reminds me of what happened in my office recently.
Not sure since when, my boss and colleagues have included me in their
discussion about graphic design for brochures, name-cards, posters,
flyers and so on. It is amazing since I am totally blind despite the
fact that I do love design and playing with words and truly believe
that I have a pictorial mind. I hope to do the same in music, where
blindness is no longer in the minds of the people I work with--one is
simply a musician.

Thank you all for sharing!

Nicole.


On 11/04/2012, taeschr at ix.netcom.com <taeschr at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> Karen, and all of our wonderful responders:
>
> Thank you all for such a fine and immediate response.
>
> At times such as this, it is good to know we have a real "family."
>
> Richard Taesch
> MENVI Headquarters - www.menvi.org
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
>>From: Karen Gearreald <karen118 at cox.net>
>>Sent: Apr 10, 2012 11:26 AM
>>To: 'This is for discussing music and braille literacy'
>> <menvi-discuss at menvi.org>
>>Cc: layhank at yahoo.com
>>Subject: Re: [Menvi-discuss] Questions re. Blind Accompanists
>>
>>	As a totally blind accompanist participating in church services
>>every week, I appreciate the fact that my director is very understanding
>> and
>>empathetic.  Often he or another singer will introduce the hymn or special
>>music which I am to accompany; thus I readily know when to start.  The
>>director and I confer several times a week before the service.  A "monitor
>>speaker" near me makes it easier for me to hear all cues during rehearsals
>>and during the actual service.  If the director senses that I am unaware of
>>the singers' readiness to begin, he will simply say "Karen" as a cue for
>> me.
>>Since our services tend to be informal, nobody seems to mind; but even in a
>>very formal setting, I would see no problem with such an audible cue.
>>
>>I am convinced that although lack of sight may seem to be a huge obstacle,
>>it can be overcome, especially if the blind accompanist finds ways to be
>>exceptionally helpful to the singers.  As a singer and pianist, I was
>>fortunate to study privately for many years with a fabulously empathetic
>>sighted teacher who has a graduate degree in accompanying.  By osmosis and
>>by specific instruction, I learned his secrets of accompaniment--helpful
>>little maneuvers which are unknown to most keyboard players.  I have become
>>skillful and comfortable in making all sorts of adaptations, modifications,
>>and transpositions--sometimes at the last minute or even during a
>>performance--to please the director and the singers.  In addition, prior to
>>performance I speak as many comforting and reassuring words as I can to any
>>singers who may be fretful or nervous.  I also am constantly working to
>>improve my skills and expand my repertoire so that even on very short
>>notice, I can accompany pieces which a sighted accompanist might be afraid
>>to try without adequate rehearsal.
>>
>>I have found that in accepting the musical challenges which come to me, I
>>need the grace and patience and sense of humor which only our Lord can
>> give.
>>Once, as I recall, I was asked to play for a wedding after three other
>>keyboardists had declared themselves unavailable.  In accepting the
>>opportunity, I decided that I must not be offended by the fact that I was
>>fourth choice.  I just said to myself:  "I'll play so well that these
>> people
>>will wish they had asked me first."
>>
>>When pieces are complicated and there Is sufficient lead time, I obtain
>>braille transcriptions if possible.  The value of this strategy was
>> recently
>>clear to me as I, in the position of vocal soloist, worked with two sighted
>>accompanists who were trying to play the ink-print score of Rossini's
>>"Inflammatus," a very challenging piece.  The transcriber, a dear and
>>understanding friend, had numbered my measures with her usual extraordinary
>>accuracy.  Thus when the sighted accompanists got lost, I was able to talk
>>about where they were and what I thought we should be doing.
>>
>>In summary, I'm delighted that Mr. Lay is assisting his blind friend.  More
>>power to such a determined effort!  In a word, my advice is that the blind
>>accompanist should develop so many assets that nobody even thinks of his
>>blindness as a liability or hindrance.
>>					Karen Gearreald
>>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: menvi-discuss-bounces at menvi.org
>>[mailto:menvi-discuss-bounces at menvi.org] On Behalf Of
>>richardtaesch at menvi.org
>>Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 1:38 PM
>>To: menvi-discuss at menvi.org
>>Cc: layhank at yahoo.com
>>Subject: [Menvi-discuss] Questions re. Blind Accompanists
>>
>>LIST SUBSCRIBERS:
>>
>>Hello all,
>>
>>Kindly read this very interesting question (below my signature). I am sure
>>many of you will be very willing to offer suggestions for Mr. Lay, as we
>>have seen several discussions on this subject over time.
>>
>>Please write him directly, but do copy the list. I have suggested that Mr.
>>Lay join us and the network, as well. His address is: <layhank at yahoo.com>
>>
>>Sincerely,
>>Richard Taesch
>>MENVI Headquarters - www.menvi.org
>>________________________________________
>>
>>comments: I'm a sighted person, trying to help a blind pianist get a job as
>>a church accompanist.
>>
>>I'm trying to find out if any devices or methods have been developed to
>> help
>>the music director communicate performance cues to the accompanist, such as
>>starts, stops, tempo changes, fermatti, etc.  Ways to identify measures
>>(normally numbered in printed scores) would also help.  I'm an amateur
>>singer myself, and have no experience with braille music, so links to
>>sources for such would also be helpful.
>>
>>Thanks,
>>Hank Lay
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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