[Menvi-discuss] Wands for blind people
data at papermusic.org
Thu Jan 12 10:18:24 PST 2012
Thank you, Stephanie.
This is definitely an area I have strived to educate sighted people about.
Naturally, the ways in which we interpret the printed music and the
performing environments are different, but I believe that those differences
disappear in the unity of a musical ensemble. Time after time, I hear
stories of sighted music teachers telling blind students what instrument
they can and cannot play; how they should or should not pursue a certain
field of expertise. Frankly, it conveys ignorance, insecurity, and perhaps a
little laziness. (I mean, come on? Ask me a question and I'll Google it for
I do not have enough fingers or toes to count the number of blind
colleagues I've worked with that are not having any problems functioning at
and above the level of sighted musicians, in all aspects of musicianship,
scholarship, and artistry. (And, by the way, that's *every* one I've worked
From: menvi-discuss-bounces at menvi.org
[mailto:menvi-discuss-bounces at menvi.org]On Behalf Of STEPHANIE PIECK
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2012 9:40 AM
To: This is for discussing music and braille literacy
Subject: [Menvi-discuss] Wands for blind people
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
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
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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