[Menvi-discuss] Wands for blind people
themusicsuite at verizon.net
Thu Jan 12 08:39:48 PST 2012
I think the FM system idea might work. Honestly, if we are trying to have the sighted musical community take us seriously as "professional musicians", the last thing we need is to say, "Oh, you're gonna need this special conducting baton".
In my non-musical past, I exhibited dairy goats at competitions at the national level. One of the areas I competed in was showmanship--i.e., how well can you maneuver your animal around the ring, move around with other exhibitors, handle other people's animals, etc. The first thing you learn in these classes is that you have to always keep your goat between you and the judge--they want to see and evaluate the goat, not you, or your backside as your bending over, or your whatever!
Anyway, we used an FM system like Maureen described for this. This way, I didn't have to have somebody else walking around with me in person telling me when to change sides.
I think that, unfortunately, despite all the progress that has been made in the area of inclusion and accommodations, we are still dealing with people who, for the most part, have never even met a blind person and have never read anything about blind people. So we're still dealing with the old stereotypes.
Another unfortunate situation is that music is becoming a profession that's kind of frowned upon because it was one of the "old ways" blind people earned a living. Now, it's much more fashionable to go into the STEM subjects. But not everybody is passionate about numbers, chemicals, engineering, or computers.
I wish there was some way to form some sort of performing collective--that's not a great word, but I can't come up with a better one right now. If people were given an opportunity to see and hear, over and over and over, in lots of different places, that blind musicians are just as capable as sighted ones, then maybe the attitudes within the overall community would begin to change, too.
Any solution to this problem is going to be something big--either in scope or in the undertaking. Big problems need big solutions, after all.
I've really enjoyed the discussions on performing and sight-reading--I have yet to perform with an orchestra as a piano soloist. The one time I did, I organized a group and we did a Mozart concerto--with no conductor! Everybody in the group was sighted except me.
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