Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Musical Instruments For The Blind

Blind children can learn to play a musical instrument just as well and often even better than, sighted children provided the desire and interest is there. Blind children often have a strong sense of rhythm and musical sensation since their hearing is more in tuned with the world.

Of course the assumption should not be made that just because they are blind they should play a musical instrument. However if a child or an adult who is visually impaired decides that playing a musical instrument is something they would find beneficial, then by all means, there should be every consideration made just as you would for a sighted individual.

There are instruments which are better suited for the visually impaired than others. Most string instruments are a good musical instrument for the visually impaired because the strings can be easily felt in order, especially for the violin, viola, and cello.

The piano and woodwind musical instruments can also make very good choices for the visually impaired when learning to play a musical instrument. They are considered the easiest of the musical instruments to memorize tactilely and are fairly versatile in the musical arrangements they can be applied to playing. However, there is of course no restriction to the possibilities.

It is usually not necessary to find the visually impaired musical student a specially trained music teacher. A teacher that is creative and patient (which we would hope all music teachers are) should be able to help the visually impaired student feel the musical instrument of their choice in order to learn to play it competently. Musical instruments often are able to be handled by the visually impaired simply because their design and structure is quite unique from a tactile standpoint.

Children and adults from all walks of life should learn to play at least one musical instrument. Learning to play a musical instrument teaches so many skills at once that it can be difficult to find a downfall to learning to play a musical instrument regardless of who you are, where you come from, or what type of disability you may bring to the table. It should never be assumed that simply because an individual doesn't see the world that they can't fully participate in it. Learning to play a musical instrument is just one way of reaching out through the world and bringing the world as we know it to life.

Hetzler's Fakebook is a resource for beginning through intermediate fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and dulcimer players who want to learn traditional music.

The basic premise of this site is this: If you can hear the music, adjust the tempo and see it written out you will learn faster. The site features over eighty pages of information and five hundred tunes. It offers an adjustable tempo MIDI player, standard notation sheet music and provides contextual history where available.

Click this link to visit Hetzler's Fakebook:

Thirty-Three Guitar Lessons for the Blind and Visually Impaired

These are links to some guitar lessons on Blink Nation, a social network for the blind. They have been written by Corey

Guitar Lesson 1: Introduction

Guitar Lesson 2: Tuning The Guitar

Guitar Lesson 3: Basic Finger Exercise and Intro to Intervals

Guitar Lesson 4: Intervals Continued and a New Finger Exercis

Guitar Lesson 5: Identifying Notes on the Guitar Neck

Guitar Lesson 6: Using a Pick

Guitar Lesson 7: A More Complete Notation For Blind Guitar Players

Guitar Lesson 8: The C Major Scale

Guitar Lesson 9: The C Major Scale as a Finger

Guitar Lesson 10: Taking Our Picking More

Guitar Lesson 11

Guitar Lesson 12

Guitar Lesson 13

Guitar Lesson 14

Guitar Lesson 15

Guitar Lesson 16

Guitar Lesson 17

Guitar Lesson 18

Guitar Lesson 19

Guitar Lesson 20

Guitar Lesson 21

Guitar Lesson 22

Guitar Lesson 23

Guitar Lesson 24

Guitar Lesson 25

Guitar Lesson 26

Guitar Lesson 27

Guitar Lesson 28

Guitar Lesson 29

Guitar Lesson 30

Guitar Lesson 31

Guitar Lesson 32

Guitar Lesson 33: Q & A with Corey

No-C-Notes: Alternative Method of Reading Music

No-C-Notes Bridges the gap between Visually Impaired Musicians and Printed Music Notation. No-C-Notes is an easy and cost effective way of using sheet music notation. Used by the singer, songwriter, teacher or instrumentalist who wants their sheet music spoken, not written. There is no need to learn clefs, staffs, ledger lines, note heads and flags and other visual sheet music notation as this method reads the actual tone and timing without having to know its placement on paper. Whether used for voice, keyboards, guitar, strings or woodwinds, it gives musicians a common verbal language of reading their sheet music to one another.

No-C-Notes audio music description can replace printed, Braille or Big-Note sheet music. Musicians listen to their sheet music being read verbally in the same manner as you would use an audio book. Readings can be saved any audio method such as MP3, CD or audio cassette.

Currently available is lead sheet music in audio MP3 format, along with a how-to CD included audio descriptions of 166 chords. Other services include transcribing music score and instruction books into an audio book complete with midi recording of music along with reading of all tones, timing, phrases, chords and lyrics along with any fingerings, accidentals and text. Seminars available across the U.S. for music teachers and educational institutions. Contact Christina and check out the website for offerings.

No-C-Notes Music
Christina Cotruvo
PO Box 3583
Duluth, MN 55803

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