An Introduction to Music for the Blind Student: A Course in Braille Music Reading, Part One

By Richard Taesch
Published by Dancing Dots

This is a new, flexible curriculum which equips the mainstreameducator with no prior experience with braille to teach and learn musicbraille. The author, Richard Taesch, is a life-long music educator andguitarist who is certified by the Library of Congress as a braille musictranscriber. He heads the Braille Music Division of the Southern CaliforniaConservatory of Music and chairs the guitar department.

Description of Curriculum

Braille music reading has traditionally been taught as a translation processfrom print music as the sighted musician views it. This course differs fromthe norm in that it is a true instructional course-curriculum in musicfundamentals, music reading, sight singing, theory, and ear-training usingthe international Braille Music Code as the medium. Print music isconsidered secondary, and included for the convenience of the sightedteacher or tutor.

It is, therefore, possible for a sighted (or blind) musician to administeror to study this work without prior knowledge of the braille music code. Itis also intended that a sighted teacher, parent, or tutor with little or noknowledge of braille or conventional print music, may guide a blind studentthrough this course. Teacher training is also a natural application for thecourse. Much testing by correspondence has been conducted, and the coursehas been the official curriculum at Southern California Conservatory ofMusic – Braille Music Division for many years.

Content Description

The course is divided into two Parts. Part I (Phases One through Four) is”ground level,” and covers rudiments through intermediate melodic interpretation and keysignatures. Part I is written into three separate print volumes- Lessons;Lesson Exercises; Supplemental Exercises. The braille edition exists in 4braille volumes. All three print volumes are integrated and usedsimultaneously, however, each may also be used separately depending uponindividual application.

The course is intended to teach the essentials of music reading regardlessof the student’s chosen instrument. The piano is considered as a basic toolcommon to all instrumentalists. Separate instrumental Supplements willeventually become part of the course.

First Volume: Lessons

Each Phase concludes with a lesson summary as an outline. This is intendedto give experienced music teachers the option of flexibility, while guidingthem through critical essentials specific to the braille Music Code. Thereare eighty-six print pages in this volume.

“Phase One” addresses rudiments of music in five separate lessons. Generalcontent covers introductory ear training, and an introduction to solfege(sight singing) by reading braille scale step numbers only. Structuralconcepts of scales and intervals in the form of Musical Arithmetic is also apart of Phase One.

“Phase Two” introduces true braille music notation and the braille MusicCode. Notation covering the first five notes of the C Major Scale is taughtin four lessons. Lesson 4 introduces the concept of Melodic Dictation,whereby the blind student is required to write the notes on the braillewriter as they are played by the teacher or tutor.

“Phase Three” introduces the braille melody line incorporating such conceptsas time signatures, note duration, repeat signs, piano fingerings, notes inthe third & fifth octave, accidentals, major and minor scales, and otheressentials needed at this level.

“Phase Four” covers key signatures and other musical devices such as ties,phrase marks, use of the braille music hyphen, and composition andformatting techniques.

“Appendix” contains Theory Examinations pertinent to all four Phases, andconcludes with a detailed Index of the text.

Second Volume: Lesson Exercises

This volume includes the Lesson Exercises that are assigned in the Lessonstext. A “facsimile” of the braille page as the braille reader sees it isshown on the left page with equivalent print music on the right page. Eachbraille facsimile page includes print fonts that point out each new braille sign as it is introduced in the lessons. The sighted teacher uses thesefonts to reference their place on the braille page.

Third Volume: Supplemental Exercises

This volume is composed of graded supplemental material intended to expandexercise opportunities, and serves to illustrate concepts presented in thecourse. It may be used independently of the rest of the course, however, itfunctions as an extension of the curriculum as it is written. There aresixty-seven print pages and one braille volume. All exercises have beencomposed by the author with the exception of a section called “Duets andClassic Themes”.

Some exercises are used for sight singing and playing, others are forsinging only or playing only. Duets are common, and right and left handfingered versions are plentiful. The text concludes with a section of scaleexercises for comprehensive note study and review. Each print music exerciseis immediately followed by simulated braille print dots.

Part II will be a continuation and expansion of Part I. It completes the discussion of all keys, scales, andkey signatures. It introduces students to the concept of key modulation and other music theory issues.

For more information contact:

Dancing Dots
Phone: 610-783-6692

Alfred’s Basic Guitar Method I

by Alfred Dauberge

Beginning guitar instruction from the popular music training series.

Enlarged Print (14 point) — L-90001-00

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Alison Currey
Being a Literature Students she loves to write and always kept working for the society and who really need a hand. Apart from writing she is an excellent singer herself. Have found her either reading or drawing in her free time. An inspiring personality you may want to follow at FredForum here.

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