California Transcribers and Educators for the Visually Handicapped held its annual conference in San Francisco on April 25-28. CTEVH Music Committee and MENVI Specialists Committee collaborated on two days of workshops for braille music literacy, technology, and pedagogy. SCCM Braille Music Division student, Jessica Callahan, showed her ability to "sight read" orally dictated print music in the braille code on her Braille Lite, and to read and play jazz piano chord progressions in a live ensemble-type situation. She also demonstrated her skills at MIDI composition and audio recording using the "Caketalking" software developed and demonstrated by David Pinto (SCCM Computer Music Arts). Grant Horrocks (CTEVH Music Committee) demonstrated a mock practical examination for the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) with Jessica. Mr. Horrocks is the Los Angeles Representative for the RCM Examination Center.
The theme of the two-day sessions was ... how to prepare for, and to select a music teacher for the blind student. Some issues were: What kind of preparation does a teacher prefer in a prospective student; what kind of family involvement can help to prepare a student for a successful experience; what are essential qualities to look for in a music teacher for a blind student.
For those who think that technology is replacing braille, think again! Computer braille production has made it possible to provide braille textbooks and other materials faster than ever. Professional transcribers are working along with volunteers to provide the means of literary and music braille at an unprecedented rate. Even career music transcribers are using software such as Goodfeel, Toccata, Opus Dots Lite, and Duxbury to assist in higher production. Refreshable braille devices are being improved, and are available to more and more blind users. Attend the next CTEVH, CSUN, or other conference on disabilities and see for yourself!
Dancing Dots Technology has announced its release of the new curriculum by Richard Taesch, "An Introduction to Music For The Blind Student," Part I. This course is not typically a translation process from print music, but a course in music itself using braille music as the medium of notation. It can be administered by a person who has no knowledge of braille. Some knowledge of music is helpful, but any parent or tutor can assist a blind student in the lessons. Reading can be applied to all instruments, and a small keyboard is all that is necessary as a teaching tool. No previous knowledge of the piano is necessary.
Detailed lessons, assignments, and theory examinations are provided, and each "Phase" is summarized for music teachers who wish flexibility. There are three print books and four braille volumes. Contact Dancing Dots at (610) 783-6692, or
SCCM Braille Music Division also announces the availability of "Introduction To The Piano For The Blind Student" (Graded Studies) Books 1 and 2, and RepertoireBook 1 by Richard Taesch, a companion to the Curriculum. The course is a progressive study of piano formats, repertoire, and tackles the problems of bar-over-bar braille music reading. Contact Dancing Dots for ordering information.
This concludes issue 11. Please choose from one of the following links to continue.
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