[Menvi-discuss] Blind music major questions

Janice Stone rhinogirl414 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 17 21:08:49 EDT 2017


Thank you Chris and Jared!  I really appreciate the advice, and I was able
to find the links for the book.  I look forward to reading it, and I'm sure
my student will also.

Janice

On Sun, Sep 17, 2017 at 2:10 PM, Jared Rimer - MENVI webmaster via
Menvi-discuss <menvi-discuss at menvi.org> wrote:

> I hope it is found to help you in your endeavors.
>
> 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 10:18 AM, Chris Smart via Menvi-discuss wrote:
>
>> that's excelent! I'm glad that resource exists.
>>
>> At 01:13 PM 9/17/2017, you wrote:
>>
>>> 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/pro
>>> desc/limealoud.htm > >  Â 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.Â
>>> 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 >
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>>
>>
>>
>> ----------------------------------------
>> "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and
>> cats." - Albert Schweitzer
>>
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