2000 Conference Proceedings

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TECHNOLOGY OPENS DOORS TO BRAILLE MUSIC

Jim Palmer
Bonnie Powell
Overbrook School for the Blind
1754 Quarry Lane, PO Box 927
Valley Forge, PA 19482
Phone: 610-783-6692
Fax: 610-783-6732
Web: www.dancingdots.com Email: info@dancingdots.com

The teaching of Braille music notation seems to be avoided and largely feared by professionals who work with the blind. Most people assume that Braille music notation is very difficult to learn, and equally difficult to teach. For these reasons, among others, the use of Braille music in schools has been in sharp decline for many years. However, thanks to new teaching tools, and the arrival of Braille music transcription software, learning, teaching and using Braille music notation has never been easier. It is now possible for both the student and educator to use Braille music in a school setting with minimal time, cost, and effort. In fact, based on our anecdotal evidence, the use of Braille music notation seems to be undergoing a resurgence.

Methods and Materials

This presentation will provide the participants with an overview of the latest materials and methods for teaching Braille music notation to the blind. It will include the use of Tack Tiles (TM) Braille code for Music Notation as well as the GOODFEEL (TM) Braille music transcription software. Other teaching materials include the textbook and CD-ROM How to Read Braille Music (C) and a collection of over 300 Braille music practice exercises written by the presenters. The presentation will discuss methods of how to best initiate Braille music instruction with students who already have some musical abilities, and are proficient Braille readers. Examples of printed music transcribed into Braille music notation using the "Goodfeel" Braille music transcription software and Lime (TM) music notation software will also be used.

Braille Music at Overbrook School for the Blind

Lead by its music teachers, Overbrook is currently in the second year of its innovative Braille music instruction curriculum with a class of five students aged 9 to 15. The presenters deal with the day to day issues of how to teach Braille music, and will provide "real life" examples of what does and doesn't work. They firmly believe that learning Braille music empowers students who are blind to function in music classes on a level with their sighted peers; thus providing them an independence from tedious rote dictation or tapes which might otherwise limit their ability to progress as musicians. As they have learned Braille music, the students have found that a bonus has been improved Braille reading skills and a deeper appreciation for music in general.

Resources

Tack-Tiles Braille Systems
Los Olvidados, Ltd.
P.O. Box 475
Plaistow, New Hampshire, 03865-0475
Phone: 1-800-822-5854 U.S. and Canada (603) 382-1904
Fax (603) 382-1748
Website: onmouseover="window.status='http://www.tack-tiles.com'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">http://www.tack-tiles.com 
Email: Kevin@tack-tiles.com 

How to Read Braille Music: An Introduction, Second Edition
Opus Technologies
13333 thunderhead Street
San Diego, CA 92129-2329, USA
Phone/Fax: (619) 538-9401
Website:http://www.opustec.com
Email: opus@opustec.com 

GOODFEEL Braille Music Translator
Dancing Dots
130 Hampden Road, third floor
Upper Darby, PA 19082-3110
Phone: (610)352-7607
Website: http://www.netaxs.com/~ddots 
Email: ddots@netaxs.com 

Lime 5.00
1906 Augusta
Champaign, Illinois, USA 61821-6067
Website: http://datura.cerl.uiuc.edu
Email: Lime@uiuc.edu


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