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Music Education Network
for The Visually Impaired

An International Coalition of Parents, Educators, and Students

Webmaster note: Throughout the newsletter, we use the word "at" and point to a URL on the MENVI domain. Instead of that tactic, especially in my article you'll read, we will just link the links directly as in: "News Journal 15" for your convenience. When we talk about the main domain, I'll leave it alone, as clicking on home in the footer will take you back there. Any questions, contact us. Thanks.

- MENVI Headquarters -
So. Calif. Conservatory of Music - 8230 Fallbrook Avenue, West Hills, CA 91304
Phone: (818) 704-3819; E-mail:

News Journal - Fall / Winter 2006-2007 Issue No. 24
In this issue:


Our Network has grown again this past year. Special thanks to the folks who have come on board as supporting members, as your contributions are deciding the future of MENVI and its services. MENVI services are provided free, including the constant vigil contributed by our prestigious committee of specialists. However, without the financial support to produce and disseminate media to its members, the Network cannot function as a "network." SCCM is a non-profit, and has run out of funds to fully sponsor and support our network.

Our new membership roster contains twenty print pages, and will probably approach 100 braille pages with this issue. As we advocate for literacy, we are conversely bound by limitations in the practice of what we preach. Membership rosters are included in print only with this mailing, and accessible rosters are now only available on line and in braille by download. Members must now request the files for the roster if they would like them in braille, and arrange to emboss them on their own. They will be offered in Duxbury format. Many members who use refreshable braille devices such as BrailleLite, or Braille Note, can easily store the files into them for instant recall.


Jared Rimer founded and maintains our Website. Without it, in this Internet dominated world, MENVI would not be available to many. And yet, braille is essential for Jared - a blind person - to build pages that conform to print format. Following is his fine article.

By Jared Rimer

Here at MENVI [Web services], we are working to have braille music become more available to our kids. You can view the numerous newsletters on our Website at our newsletters index page, or upon request, ask for one by contacting Jared Rimer or Richard Taesch through our Website at our contact form or by giving us a call. It is important for me to express how much braille means to me and to my work in maintaining this Website.

I began the Website in 2003, as I felt it a good idea for MENVI to have Internet notice. I was working on my Superior Software Support page, and thought that MENVI should now become present. I learned HTML quickly and began the long task of building the MENVI Website.

The Website took many long hours, as I was not looking at braille for older newsletters. Once I began work on Issue 9, I was relieved to have saved a copy. It helped with the time it took for me to develop the newsletter template, and to get a presentable web copy online. When I recently completed newsletter Issue 22 it came to my attention that there was confusion between my helper, Jessica Oso, myself, and the fact that when I finally did get my braille, much of what was being reported to me was not all that clear.

Sadly, when I didn't have the braille for my news journals, it took me days just to complete, if not weeks. I would contact Richard by e-mail, but would have to wait for a response before continuing. Even so, I did well with 22 except for a change I should have detected within the text where a heading should have been used instead of a paragraph marker.

Some of the newsletters use complicated lists in which the text version did not implement. One example of a complex sub-list is News Journal 15. Though I initially wrote the newsletter without braille, I was now able to use the braille copy to help construct it into a more complex HTML document as it exists on the Web today. Other newsletters use the list format, but you will need to read them to see what you think.

In short, I will now be getting the newsletters ahead of time in braille to help me with HTML work. It will save the time it takes for me to compose them for the site, and I can have the text and web versions up and out while everyone is waiting to receive their copy. I didn't release Issue 22 to the web and to e-mail subscribers until I received my braille copy of the newsletter. Fight to get your braille, whether its literary to help you with your job, or music to help you with your recitals and performances. Although I didn't have to fight, Richard now better understands the problems that HTML poses while attempting to guess at what he prefers as a presentation.

Jared Rimer
MENVI Webmaster
(866) 824-7876 Toll-free U.S. and Canada
(818) 703-0741 International
Ed. Note: The author of the above article is a fine example of accomplishment. Jared is a young blind man who, as a teenager, attended SCCM in music studies. He went on to learn about computers and the intricacies of Website building and maintenance. Among his work with the Code Amber project for missing children, he graciously donates much of his time to our MENVI Website .


A new publication by Richard Taesch is now available exclusively through SCCM, Braille Music Division for $10.00 per copy. Funds will be applied to blind children who cannot afford tuition at the school. Contact SCCM at: 818.704.3819, or write:

This work was the basis for a historical first workshop presentation given since the formation of a new Partnership between California State University, Northridge - Center on Disabilities and SCCM, Braille Music Division. Following is a brief description of the content, and the first of a two-part series on the 2006 CSUN session:


California State University, Northridge -
Conference on Disabilities
March 22, 2006

Are you career-bound, or merely planning music in your college portfolio? Blind students are at serious academic risk without preparation and support. Braille music, technology, and disabled student services hold the key to success.

  1. Richard Taesch - Southern California Conservatory of Music, Braille Music Division; Music Specialist California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH)
  2. Susan Cullen - Adaptive Technology Specialist, Center on Disabilities - California State University, Northridge
  3. Grant Horrocks - Co-chair, SCCM Braille Music Division; Chair - SCCM Piano Department; Los Angeles Representative - Examination Center, Royal American Conservatory of Music (Toronto)

Gone are the days when a blind college student would wait months to obtain his or her books transcribed into the braille music code only by volunteers, sit in classes for weeks before having them in hand, then be required to memorize everything before becoming marginally functional along with sighted classmates.

In order to succeed in today's fast-paced educational arena, blind music students must be able to work - with materials in hand - concurrently with their sighted peers. They are completely capable of doing so, but only if prudent planning, advocacy, and informed information is available to them. They are capable of sight singing, theory and harmonic analysis, composition, orchestration, and all other musical areas.

Musically inclined individuals need not limit career plans to performance and/or teaching options. Articles in major journals have pointed out that many corporations may look very favorably on music backgrounds in their hiring policies where such skills are applied to non-music fields. Musically trained students often find their disciplines very appealing in all kinds of academic and occupational endeavors. Transferable skills for job placement may include Organization, Memory, Multi-tasking, Public Speaking or Performance, Sequencing, Creativity, and Communication. It has been pointed out by some, that music graduates often make excellent computer programmers.


Preparation for college as a blind person is essential. However, this presentation is not only about preparing for college, but it is also aimed at what to do once you are ready to go, and then find yourself not prepared! The majority of blind music students will fall into this category.

Those who have the easiest time in music school generally have developed music reading skills as children. Or perhaps they will be fortunate enough to have a music braille teacher or mentor by their side throughout their experience in school. In most cases, it is more about what to do - and how to survive - when the "Cavalry is not coming to the rescue." Mostly, don't panic, as you can make it if you are determined, but then only if you are well informed.

- Getting Ready**

1. If you are fortunate enough to have a few months before school starts, begin basic music reading in braille. Do NOT make the mistake of trying to learn to read music on your instrument!

Learn first to sight sing very basic single-line music in the braille music code (solfege). One class you are usually required to take is sight singing. The good news is, that many of the sighted students may have never read print music in solfege either. You may have enough time to catch up, or even pass them, if you prepare even just a little ahead.

In some cases you may be able to "test out" of a solfege class if you can prove that you can sight sing at the early level required by the class work. We will present a suggested course and strategy for this study later in the presentation.

2. When you are interviewed by the Disabled Students Officer or the Chair of the Music Department, be ready to state your needs and to know what they are. It is essential that you start right, and that they know that you know exactly what is needed, and what you expect of them. They will have little problem telling you what they will expect of you. They will highly respect your self-direction and advocacy if you demonstrate your assertiveness in a polite and respectful way.

**Reprinted with permission from: "A Blind Music Student's College Survival Guide" - Richard Taesch
- Learning to sight sing -

the oldest of essential music reading skills! Fundamental keyboard skills - no music major or minor can avoid them!

We are speaking of two essential skills - music literacy, and becoming functional on the piano keyboard. Yes there have been colleges and universities who have dared to waive reading requirements for blind students, however, most today will not!

Moreover, if your instrument is the harp or the jazz guitar, for example, you must still possess basic keyboard skills in order to complete composition assignments, understand instrumental ranges, orchestration, and musical structure in general. Without these two essentials, even if you manage to "squeak by," you will graduate both illiterate and handicapped in the true sense of the word. We have prepared a group-participation and lessons for you later in this presentation. Our goal here is to create an encouraging and feasible plan for preparation. There is no shortage of successful blind college graduates willing to share their knowledge with you.**

**Music Education Network
for The Visually Impaired -
MENVI - a coalition of parents,
educators, and students registered worldwide
with common interests, concerns, and
educational needs.

There is no cost to register. See: our home page.

Next Issue, we will continue with subjects such as:

  1. III. Choosing The Right College
  2. IV. Presentations in the session
  3. V. Common Challenges and Solutions
  4. VI. Myths and Facts for Students, Parents, and Professors to Consider


The following is in table format. Columns for the sighted follow each other as follows: name of organization: E-mail address: web site(s): phone number. If the column has an N/A no data is available.
MENVI online roster catalogue
name E-mail address web site(s) phone number
CNIB (Canada) N/A N/A
RNIB N/A Reveal Online Database N/A
National Library for the Blind N/A National Library for the Blind Web site or OPAC Catalogue Login N/A
lighthouse N/A Lighthouse International N/A
National Braille Association, Inc. N/A National Braille Association web site 585-427-8260
NLS NLS home page 800-424-8567
American Printing House for the blind APH web site 800-223-1839

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