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.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)

Search

Loading...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Berklee Offers Accessible Music Program

by John Christie

For six semesters, Wayne Pearcy, a Berklee College student was just trying to get by. He would rely on friends to write out music and go to professors’ office hours to recite concepts that he couldn’t get down on paper.

Pearcy, who is blind, did not have access to the same software as his sighted classmates did. He came up short on exercises such as reharmonizing tunes and writing them out on the computer. Pearcy came to Berklee without knowing Braille Music. This is unfortunate because the college could have made this accessible to him.

It’s been a struggle for him just to keep up with his classes–a serious source of frustration for him. As a result, a piece of his musicality suffered. “The creative side of my brain sort of turned off,” said Pearcy, who plays trumpet and is majoring in performance.

This is all beginning to change, though, for Pearcy and other blind & visually impaired students who go to Berklee because of a new class that was added. The class is called Assisted Music Technology for Visually Impaired Students.

Recently in one class, students imported recorded tracks for a mixing exercise using CakeTalking. This software lets the student’s access Sonar software. Their professor producer/composer, Chi Kim, was teaching them how to use this accessible program as well as Sibelius Access for Sibelius. These Windows-based programs require PCs, while the rest of the Berklee students use Macs with software such as Finale for notation and Logic for MIDI sequencing and audio recording–software that’s not accessible for visually impaired students.

Kim’s class provides instruction in hardware and software for blind and visually impaired students as well as Braille notation. In addition to giving students access to technology that until now has been beyond their reach, the class also gives them the skills to sight-read, which is similar to arranging, harmony and ear training.

Students are finding the class challenging and some hope to take it twice. “I feel like I just ran a computer marathon,” said Pearcy after one class session, with his characteristic hearty laugh.

The class has really benefitted Pearcy and he has since written his first composition–a score for a jazz combo. He submitted it to Jazz Revelation Records and hopes they will consider it on the labels next album. “It’s been great,” he said. “I feel like I have a much better grasp at using programs that are accessible to me.”

“The doors have opened for me,” he continued. “I felt like I was not learning enough in class or able to express myself the way I wanted to. Because of the tools Berklee gave me, it’s been really life-changing. I’m so grateful I can sit down at a computer and do it.”

“It changes everything,” said Kim. “It opens up more career choices, other than just being a performer. It opens up a lot of possibilities as a writer. Students will have a more full experience like sighted students. They’ll get more out of classes, more education.”

The class that Berklee has is great for its blind & visually impaired students. It gives them the confidence to make it in the music world and it can make Berklee a role model for other schools to follow.

Source:
http://www.berklee.edu/news/print/2671

Article Source:
Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter

Archives

Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at fredshead@aph.org.

Disclaimers

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.



The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.





The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.





Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.





Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.





Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email fredshead@aph.org to request permission.





Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.





Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.





Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.