[blindkid] braille music notation?

Deborah Kent Stein dkent5817 at att.net
Fri May 28 20:58:30 UTC 2010

I am not a musician myself, but I know several serious blind musicians all 
of whom are proficient users of Braille music.  I think the same argument we 
make for literary Braille can be applied to Braille music code - if being 
able to read notation is important for sighted students, it is important for 
blind students as well.  A student who learns exclusively by listening to 
the performances of others never has full access to what the composer 
intended; he/she only knows how others have interpreted the material.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard Holloway" <rholloway at gopbc.org>
To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)" 
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, May 28, 2010 12:58 PM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] braille music notation?

> Sounds like you're already thinking of this the right way. Sighted 
> musicians sometimes "play by ear" as well, but more successful and 
> versatile musicians need to learn to read music.
> Does that mean that your kids can't enjoy and benefit from music  without 
> knowing how to read braille music? Certainly not, but just  like some kids 
> who could benefit from braille (print) but do not use  it are still 
> successful, both readers and musicians could probably be  even more 
> successful with the use of braille text and music notation  respectively.
> In some cases, like with piano playing, braille music readers can play 
> the right hand part while reading with the left, then switch, and in  any 
> case, you always have the option of reading a small passage then  playing 
> what you just read. Among other things, braille music can (as  you 
> suggest) ultimately let a musician-- unassisted and without a need  to 
> play a recording, etc., read and play music-- that is a powerful  thing to 
> be able to do.
> Another option it can allow is to listen to music, perhaps even a 
> recoding of yourself and to compare it to the actual printed (or 
> brailled) music and then observe that you did (or did not) play (sing, 
> etc.) correctly (real time) and correct as appropriate. You can't  really 
> do that just "by ear".
> The "difficult time" thing is hard to know about as every situation is 
> different, but is sort of smacks of "I don't want to deal with  teaching 
> this to anyone so why not wait till later"...
> Good luck!
> Richard
> On May 28, 2010, at 9:27 AM, Rosina Solano wrote:
>> Okay, I have a couple questions for both the kids and the parents:
>> My sons love music, my ycounger one can read larger size, but my  older 
>> one is strictly a braille reader.  What do you all think of  braille 
>> music notation?
>> I have read anywhere from, "you can't read braille music and play at  the 
>> same time, so why bother"  to "just learn to play by ear".
>> Or that "he is at a difficult time and just needs to concentrate on 
>> doing his math and regular braille better right now"
>> Ok, that all said and done, how many of you learned braille music  and do 
>> you really use it?
>> My big thing is that if he really loves it, then I hate for him to  have 
>> to wait for me or someone else to "read" to him the music or to  have to 
>> find a copy of it somewhere for him to listen to.  Shouldn't  all good 
>> musicians be able to "read" the music in the way it was  written?
>> Okay, so maybe he can't read and play at the same time, but he CAN 
>> memorize, after all he memorizes all his songs now and he does great 
>> with it.
>> I just want him to reach his potential and he really LOVES music.   He is 
>> 12.5 years old and plays piano and drums.  He loves band in  school and 
>> wants to take his piano even further.
>> So if you are for or against braille music, please chime in and tell  me 
>> about it.  And if you are for it, do you know of a good system to  teach 
>> him this at home.  keep in mind I know NO music myself and  don't know 
>> the pros or cons.
>> Thank you in advance;
>> Rosina
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