[musictlk] New Member Introduction

Ella Yu ellaxyu at gmail.com
Mon Oct 17 14:31:55 UTC 2016

Hi Mike,
I can tell you that even sighted people probably have a lot of 
the same issues you have, and I'm almost certain that the pros go 
by muscle memory.  Jumps was a problem for me years ago, but not 
anymore.  You'll probably have to repeat these passages over and 
over again.

 ----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Jolls via musictlk <musictlk at nfbnet.org
To: "musictlk at nfbnet.org" <musictlk at nfbnet.org
Date sent: Mon, 17 Oct 2016 11:31:19 +0000
Subject: Re: [musictlk] New Member Introduction

Hi Linda

Here are some follow up questions.

Are you saying that when you first start out, you feel for the 
black keys to get your bearing, but then after awhile you don’t 
need that crutch, whereupon your mind just knows how far to jump?  
I’m assuming to master jumps for any particular assigned lesson 
means you have to do a lot of repetition.

Second (assuming the answer to the first question is yes) how 
long does it take to acquire this skill?  Are we talking weeks, 3 
months, 6 months?  A couple of years?  I’m assuming complete 
mastery only happens after you are exposed to a very wide variety 
of music over several years which require you to make a great 
variety of jumps.

Third, before I acquire this skill, how much extra time (in 
general) should I expect to add to my practice sessions because I 
have a vision issue to contend with?  I’m already practicing a 
couple of hours a day.  I’m assuming I’m going to have to add a 
lot of repetitions to practicing these jumps so they do 
eventually become automatic.  And It’s logical to therefore 
expect longer practices.  Am I talking about adding 20% more time 
to sessions, 30% more, etc??  As I say, I’m already practicing a 
couple of hours a day.

The questions about extra time are not because I’m impatient.  
I’m a guitar player now (have been for the last 25 years) and 
I’ve figured out how to get around on the neck already.  Normally 
it takes no more than a couple of weeks to master something, and 
that’s for something very difficult.  Usually a week is all that 
is needed.  But given the piano is physical different, and it 
appears I’m going to HAVE to learn to play by feel (which is not 
a bad thing) and I see I may have to set a different time 
expectation because of this extra skill that has to be learned.  
I’m just trying to estimate this extra time so I can set a 
reasonable expectation ..  one that I can be successful with so I 
avoid frustration.

Hope this all makes sense.  I don’t mind working at it.  I’ve 
been wanting to take piano lessons for some years, but didn’t 
have the time because I was working.  Now that I’m retired that 
opens up the time.

Finally, Linda, yes I was living in Omaha, Nebraska.  I now live 
in St.  Louis, Missouri.  Due to the President Obama’s policy on 
coal, the coal business dried up.  The railroad I worked for lost 
a lot of revenue in coal shipments and they had to reevaluate 
their staffing levels.  I was let go as a result of that.  That 
wasn’t completely a bad thing.  We wanted to move back to St.  
Louis where our families are anyway, so that gave us an excuse.  
It just happened a year or two sooner than I expected.  That just 
goes to show that Presidential policy DOES impact the economy.  
And that’s something that people need to realize in this election 
year.  But not to get started on politics, I just want to say I’m 
no longer in Nebraska.  Out of curiosity, where do you call home?

From: Linda Mentink via musictlk<mailto:musictlk at nfbnet.org
Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2016 8:46 PM
To: Music Talk Mailing List<mailto:musictlk at nfbnet.org
Cc: Linda Mentink<mailto:mentink at frontiernet.net
Subject: Re: [musictlk] New Member Introduction

Hi Mike,

Welcome.  Let's see.  You're on the right track.  It's mostly 
memory, so you will get the hang of how far two octaves is.
That's a big jump, and, depending on the fingering, and what
notes you have to play with whichever hand needs to do the
jumping, just practice that hand alone.

I think you live in Nebraska.  I'd be more than happy to talk to
you or your teacher if that would help.  Please email me off list
if you want to.



 ----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Jolls via musictlk <musictlk at nfbnet.org
To: "musictlk at nfbnet.org" <musictlk at nfbnet.org
Date sent: Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:11:33 +0000
Subject: [musictlk] New Member Introduction

Hi, My name is Mike Jolls.  I’m new to the list

I’m not a professional musician, but I have a music related
question that I hope someone can answer … relating to the
I’m a visually impaired person taking piano lessons, and the
teacher has said to sight read the music (I do have vision to
sight read print music).  And of course,  I need to do so without
looking at my hands.  Some pieces I’m learning have large
jumps.  Without looking at my hands, I don’t know how far to
jump to hit the target keys accurately and I make a lot of
mistakes if I just try to jump by trying to guess the distance or
do it by muscle memory.

What I’d like to know is what techniques do totally blind
people use to know where to go when they have to make jumps of
say two octaves on the keyboard accurately?  The teacher I have
has not taught blind people and his answer is … “you just
figure it out”.  But I’d like ..  if possible ..  and answer
that tells me HOW to do this.  I’ve figured out that if I feel
the black keys as they pass under my fingers, I can (it seems
like most cases) accurately know where I’m at and where I need
to stop.  This is especially true if I’m at one note and have
to move a 5th up or down, or a 4th, etc… I use the feel of the
black keys to know when I’m where I need to be.  This seems to
be working.

The question, however, is whether this is a good strategy?  Do
you eventually, with repetition, develop the ability to quickly
and accurately feel the black keys to know where you are and thus
make the large jumps required?  Or, is this method too slow and I
need to abandon it and select a different method?  And if so,
what is the method and where do I go to find out about it.

One final thing.  How do I locate a teacher that teaches blind
piano students?  Call the state school for the blind for
contacts?  Other ways?

Any help in this matter would be appreciated.  I’ve wanted to
take piano for quite a few years and am making progress, but my
teacher (at least in this issue) doesn’t know how to advise me.
Perhaps getting a different teacher would be in order.

Thanks in advance.

Mike Jolls

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