[Menvi-discuss] Blind music major questions

Jared Rimer - MENVI webmaster menvi-webmaster at menvi.org
Sun Sep 17 13:13:09 EDT 2017


On lur links page at www.menvi.org we have links to a book entitled "a 
college survivial guide" and it is in two word documents.  You may go to 
www.menvi.org/links.html and there, you'll be directed to where the book 
is housed on our site.  If you have any trouble finding it, please let 
me know and I'll get you a copy.  Good points.

Jared Rimer
Music Education Network for the Visually Impaired
www.menvi.org
bridging the gap between the blind and music education

When reporting broken links, please kindly let us know what web page you 
came from so we may fix the error as quickly as possible. Thanks!

On 9/17/2017 8:58 AM, Chris Smart via Menvi-discuss wrote:
> Hi Janis.
> 
> Below, are my experiences. I'm sure other folks will chime in with theirs.
> What works for one student may not work for others.
> 
> I hope there is some sort of guide for new post-secondary music students 
> who are visually-impaired. If there isn't, there should be. A lot of 
> these more general things probably apply to everyone: self-advocacy, 
> getting book lists early, what technology is available, etc.
> 
> At 10:19 AM 9/17/2017, you wrote:
> 
>> 1. What technology do you use for music theory, music history and 
>> aural skills?
> When I was in college, I notated answers to harmony, counterpoint and 
> other assignments in Sibelius. These days, I would probably go with Lime 
> and Lime Aloud from Dancing Dots. You can find out more about that 
> package by visiting their Website at:
> http://www.dancingdots.com/prodesc/limealoud.htm
> 
>   There is no reason why she can't produce notation on paper for sighted 
> instructors, band members etc. although it might be helpful to have a 
> sighted friend visually check things before handing them in, keeping an 
> eye out for crowding, overlapping items etc. To me, working 
> independently is easier, cognitively, than trying to orally dictate  
> something complex like a counterpoint assignment to a sighted helper.
> 
> I used to record classes in audio form or take notes, depending on which 
> class it was and the kind of material being covered.  For instance, if a 
> class such as jazz harmony contained many aural examples, it was better 
> to record that and re-listen to it later. A class like music history was 
> a lot more about writing down facts, dates, etc. so I took notes using a 
> notetaker.
> 
> I completed most tests and exams with sighted help, that is, someone to 
> read me the questions and write down my answers. As you can imagine, 
> this requires holding lots of information in your head. "What was that 
> last note I gave you in the tenor part? Ok, now I need a B in the alto, 
> an A in the bass" etc. is how the conversation usually went.
> 
> If she isn't that clear on how notation looks on paper, just the simple 
> stuff like what the staff is, what leger lines are, transposing 
> instruments, the ranges of the various clefs etc. she should try and 
> learn that sooner rather than later.  You can't always tell a sighted 
> helper or instructor about octave and interval signs or other 
> peculiarities of Braille, and assume they will understand what you mean, 
> especially if that help is another classmate. Learn what you need to 
> know to communicate effectively, if someone is writing down your answers 
> - learn to speak their language.
> 
> For some reason, for years growing up, I had no idea what the staff 
> looked like for sighted folks, or even what a "note stem" felt like. 
> Finding this stuff out gave me more confidence talking to sighted 
> musicians. Heck, I didn't know there was such a thing as "beaming" notes 
> until I went to college.
> 
> I'm not saying this directly affects how we understand things - I still 
> think in terms of Braille, octaves, intervals, etc. - but most of the 
> people you're interacting with are sighted, and they're using different 
> terminology.
> 
> About tests and exams, doing things independently would have been 
> easier, had my college been equipped to produce things in music Braille, 
> and allow me to produce my answers on computer and print them out. But, 
> since they wern't able to produce music Braille on site, and professors 
> often didn't have tests prepared far enough in advance, it seemed easier 
> at the time to work with an assistant and they would read me questions 
> and write down my answers.  In hindsight, I should have advocated more 
> for what I needed to work independently and most effectively.
> 
> This help was often in the form of well-meaning classmates, who also 
> have busy schedules, social lives etc. so, what I did at the time was 
> apply for whatever bursaries, grants, etc. were available, no matter how 
> small, and used that money to pay my helpers a little.  You'd be amazed 
> how quickly people can find time to work with you once you're offering a 
> little cash. Schedules suddenly clear and you go from no volunteers 
> available to having a choice between several.  If money isn't an option, 
> people respond well to food. :)
> 
> Again, I was going to a smaller college, and a rather under-funded music 
> program at that. Ideally, I would have been meeting with professors or 
> teaching assistants to do exams, or having said exams transcribed into 
> Braille. But, for my particular situation, it made more sense to find 
> someone willing to volunteer a couple hours hear and there and just get 
> things done.
> 
>> 2.  How do you get your music theory assignments from your professors?
> 
> Sibelius and Finale, the two popular notation programs, can both produce 
> music XML files, which can then be imported into whichever notation 
> software the student is using. Again, I would talk to the folks at 
> Dancing Dots about this. Also, ask them about the Goodfeel music Braille 
> translator.
> 
>> 3.  What technology do you need to use to turn in your music theory 
>> homework?
> 
> Use notation software such as Lime and Lime Aloud. There are probably 
> other options that others here can list, but we don't have many notation 
> programs we can use. The two I know about are the aforementioned package 
> from Dancing Dots, or Sibelius 5.2.5 and some Jaws scripts for Sibelius 
> that were developed several years ago. Do a google search for "sibelius 
> access". Unfortunately, only this much older version of Sibelius has 
> been made accessible in this way.
> 
> 
> 
>> 4.  If you had to take a pre-test for music theory as an entrance 
>> exam, how was it made accessible for you?
> 
> In one case, a college accepted prior conservatory theory grades as 
> equivalent. In another case, when I auditioned, one of the professors 
> played me things on piano that I identified aurally: chords, scales, 
> intervals etc. (This was for a jazz program. I have no idea what goes on 
> for classical schools)
> 
>> 5.  How did you get your textbooks in braille and audio?
> I obtained a book list for the upcoming semester or year well in 
> advance, and the college's office for students with disabilities would 
> see if any items were already available in alternate formats, or if they 
> needed to be produced. As you can imagine, producing books in Braille 
> takes lots of time, so get the list of required textbooks early, really 
> early! You certainly can't show up on the first day of class and go 
> "hey, where are my books?"
> 
>> Advocate for yourself. Assume that some people will not get things to 
>> you soon enough, or know what format you need, and be ready to tell 
>> them otherwise. Be polite but firm.
> 
>> You may also run into issues and attitudes such as, but not limited to:
> 
> * Sighted help, a classmate for instance, feels bad about your 
> disability and really wants you to succeed, so they offer you an answer 
> or two, during a exam situation. Bad! Don't go along with this or let 
> people assume, wrongly, that you cannot do things. Don't take the easy 
> way out.
> 
> * If you are able to produce things on paper for folks, do it. If this 
> means learning how to use new software, do it. Don't go along with 
> anybody's faulty assumption that you can't do something, because you are 
> blind. (and don't try to learn your notation software while in the 
> middle of a busy semester. I learned this one the hard way haha!)
> 
> The rest of this is probably not relevant, but I need to write about it 
> somewhere, and this seems as good a place as any.
> 
> Here's a brief cautionary tale.
> 
> As I was finishing a three-year jazz program, another student who was 
> blind was in their first year. I immediately started hearing strange 
> things from peers and professors alike.
> 
> Chris, can I ask you something? You took my sight singing class a couple 
> of years ago. How did you read the textbook?
> 
> What do you mean? I had the book in Braille. It's already transcribed, 
> so your student needs to just call the disability office and ask for it. 
> It's probably sitting on a shelf. It turns out the student had received 
> the book, even, he just wasn't reading it, taking it to class etc.
> 
> The professor couldn't remember how things were done before all that 
> clearly, and was probably thinking "how on earth is this new kid going 
> to complete my class"?
> 
> Then, a classmate came to me with the following:
> 
> Chris, um, can I talk to you about something?  I was helping X with an 
> exam the other day, and he kept asking me for answers.  I didn't want 
> him to fail, so I "helped". Note the quotation marks around helped.
> 
> He felt horrible being put in a jam like this. His well-meaning response 
> was to help this guy cheat.
> 
> If you encounter well-meaning but bad attitudes like this, people who 
> offer to just do things for you, when you clearly haven't studied or 
> don't know the answers, don't go along with this. It's tempting, but it 
> poisons the environment for whomever follows you; it erodes any 
> accumulated good will you have built up, or people who came before you 
> built up.
> 
> and, I wasn't a great student either. But, when I failed something, I 
> did so honestly.
> 
> Chris
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------
> "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and 
> cats." - Albert Schweitzer
> 
> ---------
> 
> Thank you for subscribing to MENVI.  Should you wish to unsubscribe, 
> change your delivery, or set any other options available to you, please 
> view the list information page below.  Should you have any questions, 
> please contact the owner of the list.
> _______________________________________________
> Menvi-discuss mailing list
> Menvi-discuss at menvi.org
> http://menvi.org/mailman/listinfo/menvi-discuss_menvi.org




More information about the Menvi-discuss mailing list