AITKEN, James and DALTON, Alison
CHÁVEZ, Paula and Fabiana
HOYOS, Angela María Pino
JONES, Dr Leslie and SAKAS, Dr Dalia
KIM, Assistant Professor Chi
KUTSAR, Kadri, ERNITS, Tiiu and MICHAELIS, Jelena
LOW, Lord Colin of Dalston CBE
METATLA, Dr Oussama, BRYAN-KINNS, Dr Nick, STOCKMAN, Dr Tony, MARTIN, Fiore, TANAKA, Atau, PARKINSON, Adam, PROULX, Michael, and BROWN, Dave
OCKELFORD, Professor Adam
ORUWARI, Victoria Ekenta and SATIZABAL CARRASCAL, Kevin
PAMPEL, Mark and McDOWELL, Paula
PRISTIWA, Hendra Jatmika
STEINBOCK, Kristina Elisabeth
TSAMPATZIDIS, Fr Theodoros
YARYAN, Dr Jeanette Louise Yaryan
Dancing Dots and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Illinois, USA
"Seeing the music from school to symphony orchestra: A new approach to music-reading for the partially sighted"
With touch screens, lightweight tablets, etc. modern computer technology is finally capable of providing easy-to-use music stands for a wide variety of partially-sighted musicians, from those born with a visual impairment who need to learn to read music, to those who need to relearn how to read music after developing a visual impairment later in life. Simple paper-based magnification is cumbersome and only useful for very short pieces. Use of electronic images and associated manipulation, overcomes some of the problems, but requires a lot of work for anything but short pieces and does not have the flexibility to cater for differing impairments. An electronic music stand must "understand" the music, so it can adjust how it is presented to meet each user's requirements. It must be possible to:
This presentation describes and demonstrates how Dancing Dot's Lime Lighter meets these requirements and has helped users from beginners through experienced professionals in their own music-making. An experienced orchestral violinist, Alison Dalton will relate her own journey from 20-20 musician to partially-sighted performer and teacher. She will use the system to play a piece or two and describe the challenges posed by certain passages to the visually-impaired reader.
James Aitken was educated at Oxford University. James spent much of his career as a professional speaker in the mobile phone industry. Since retirement, he has used his programming and professional skills to assist in the development of music systems for blind and partially-sighted musicians.
Alison Dalton is a professional violinist and music teacher. She still plays with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in spite of her failing sight.
Trnava, Slovak Republic
Marian Bango, blind charismatic performer with a beautiful voice and a big heart, called the Slovak Bocelli. His wife, manager and presenter of his concerts is also blind and her name is Alexandra BangovÁ. He sings opera arias, operettas, cantilenas, classics, songs from the repertoire of famous tenors L. Pavarotti, A. Bocelli and P. Dvorsky, sacred music, dance and folk music of different nations, e.g. gypsy, Hungarian, Russian and Moravian songs. Maroš Bango has toured across the Slovak Republic for four years and is well known there from numerous television projects. Marian and his wife Alexandra founded, in 2006, the civic association for visually-impaired people called Ambrelo, which is dedicated to the cultural, charitable, educational, publishing and promoting activities of people with disabilities. Since then, they have organized more than 30 benefit concerts, in which Maroš has sung with many figures from Slovak opera and popular music.
Centre for Gender Studies, University for Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria
"Music education for blind people in Austria in the 19th and early 20th century"
In nineteenth-century Britain, vocational music training in piano tuning and organ playing were an integral part of many schools and institutions for blind people. Music was not taught as a creative art form, but mostly as a craft, which should enable pupils to find proper jobs after leaving school. But this was not a specific characteristic of the British institutions: Also in the Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles in Paris, the first European School for the Blind founded in 1785, music, as a craft, was integral part of its curriculum. Another early European school for the blind was the Royal Institute for the Blind (Blinden-Institut) in Vienna, founded in 1818 by Johann Wilhelm Klein. It was influenced and supported by famous Maria Theresia von Paradis, a well-known blind musician, who was also the founder of a music school for blind and sighted girls. Klein's idea (similar to Haüy and Armitage) was to educate blind people so that they were able to earn a living.
My presentation asks what importance music and music education had for Klein and therefore which status music education had in his school's curriculum. Based on Klein's writings, the following questions will be answered: Was music also taught as a craft? Was the main focus also on vocational training? Were the pupils also trained in organ playing and piano tuning or is this specific to Britain and Paris? Was music education on a professional level, like that provided in the Royal Normal College and Academy of Music for the Blind, being taught in Austria? Is there any evidence of an entangled history of the British and Austrian blind education movement concerning blindness and music?
Anna Benedikt is currently a PhD Candidate at the University for Music and Performing Arts, Graz (Austria) where she also holds the position as a University Assistant and as Deputy Director of the Centre for Gender Studies. She studied Musicology and Gender History at the University of Vienna and the University of Nottingham. Her interdisciplinary interests are diverse and include music since 1900, women and gender history, queer theory, disability studies and cultural studies. Her research has been presented at conferences including "Music in 21st century", Trinity College Dublin, "Sound: Gender: Feminism: Activism", London College of Communication, as well as at the Music Research Forum (MuGI@University of Huddersfield). Anna currently holds a grant from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy to complete her PhD at the University of Huddersfield and City University New York, USA.
International Association of Music Libraries, UK and Republic of Ireland
"The visually-impaired musician in the land of sight readers"
While some may still see Britain as the land without music, British musicians are generally recognised among world leaders in sight reading music. What does this mean for the visually-impaired musician at an advanced amateur and professional level? Western art music in Britain depends on musicians' sight-reading skills in the typical "classical" music concert of today. There is little time to rehearse for concerts and, therefore, very little opportunity for memorising music. Orchestral and choral musicians are often required to be advanced sight readers. In order to sight read, musicians require very good eyesight as speed is of the essence. The act of sight reading music puts extraordinary demands on the human eye, which becomes very apparent when comparing the outcomes of the human eye reading music fast with digital devices that are already available today to help musicians sight read adapted scores.
This paper presents examples of different situations and solutions that enable visually-impaired musicians retain their sight-reading skills. State of the art technologies such as Optical Music Recognition, alternative music formats and digital music stands will be discussed and their uses in real music situations examined. Furthermore, suggestions of solutions will be offered that also include the role of music libraries and other support services like the Royal National Institute of Blind People library and music transcription service in bringing fruitful outcomes of technological research to the end-user. We do not know how many visually-impaired musicians have given up their music-making altogether due to their loss of sight-reading skills. There will be musicians who will continue to make music that depends less on sight-reading skills but why should visually-impaired musicians not continue to participate fully in all areas of music-making?
Almut Boehme has been a professional music librarian for over twenty years. She worked at the King's College London music library and the Royal College of Music library before moving to the National Library of Scotland. Since 1996, Almut has been involved in committee work with the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML) both at national and international level, as well as British and Irish Sound Archives (BISA). Despite visual impairment, Almut has been an active musician as an orchestral violinist and fiddle player as well as choral singer for much of her life. Over the last fifteen years, she has followed technological advances in Optical Music Recognition and digital music display technologies, which hold the key to advanced musicians retaining vital sight-reading skills.
Soundlinks Ltd., Buckinghamshire, UK
"The VIBE project"
VIBE is a project whose aim is to create a platform, springboard and showcase to support, promote, demonstrate and share excellence among blind and partially-sighted musicians, sound engineers and producers. The vision is of a recognisable resource: a place that brings together examples of excellent musicians of all genres, using online and real world solutions. This will serve as a support network and resource base, to master, counteract and deal with the real difficulties we face in promotion and marketing, as well as accessibility, both general and technological.
Rationale: Three quarters of blind and partially-sighted people of working age are unemployed. Music and audio should be ideal fields of work, but we are largely excluded by a range of difficulties: getting to venues with equipment and instruments, navigating in unfamiliar places, visual presentation and communication, setting up and using inaccessible equipment and software. Context: During 2014, I discussed this idea with a wide range of people, and have been hugely encouraged by the enthusiasm and support shown by individuals and organisations including Drake Music, Queen Mary University of London, RNIB and EXTANT. We gained seed funding from Creative Works London to run a six-month pilot. At the time of writing, we have just held our first meeting, attended by around twenty potential participants, which confirmed the rationale, and proposed directions towards solutions. Aims: The aims of the pilot are: 1. to bring together a group of potential participants, to clarify what work will be of most benefit, and, at the same time, to create a peer support network; 2. to identify and bring together others with relevant skills, who can help define develop and start to deliver the VIBE platform; 3. from that initial phase, to put in place a prototype, which will demonstrate solutions in the key areas of promotion, marketing and accessibility. I shall present the evidence and suggested solutions, summarise outcomes from the pilot, report progress and discuss next steps towards a fruitful and sustainable future for VIBE.
Peter Bosher is a sound engineer and musician, and his company, Sound Links specialises in training blind and partially-sighted people how music technology can be used with adaptive systems e.g. Braille displays and screen readers. Peter was previously Chair of the British Computer Association of the Blind (BCAB) and, while working for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) as Project Manager for "Information superhighways", was a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as part of its Web Accessibility Initiative.
"Practical solutions to learning and composing music: Experiences of a blind musician and software developer"
Someone once commented that James would be a good musician if he hadn't discovered computers. But as a visually-impaired musician himself, James combines his interest in music and computing and finds computers a vital tool in learning and composing music. Classically trained, James learns music in a variety of ways. In the mid-1990s, he started using a MIDI sequencer and produced various backing tracks for a small choir he sang with. Things came to a head though when, due to computer hardware upgrade, his trusty old sequencer no longer ran. Having tried an off-the-shelf commercial package and failed to use it with anything like the success or speed he was used to, James decided to write a fully accessible MIDI sequencer. The result is Quick Windows Sequencer (QWS).
In this presentation, James will describe how he designed and built QWS, focussing on the features, usability and accessibility for blind users. James will briefly look at how QWS can be used to learn and compose music by ear, showing that, although not as powerful as modern Desktop Audio Workstations, QWS has many of the core functions needed to write or learn music. It also has the advantages of being fully accessible for blind users and currently free. James will touch on the question of how best to learn music: from MIDI, audio CD and Braille music according to the type of music and context. He will show that a variety of solutions is required to be a versatile musician. One reason James has done some composing is simply to have more music to play, practise with or enjoy. But now having the sequencer, James has put together various backing tracks for a choir and even produced an instrumental CD of his own.
James Bowden, a visually-impaired musician, was classically trained at New College Worcester, learning music both from Braille scores and by ear. He has studied piano, organ and trombone and sang in various choirs. He now plays keyboards in church each week and has played in bands at various events. James combines his interest in music with computing and is the author of the accessible MIDI sequencer QWS. James has produced a CD of instrumental music and several with a small choir, for which James produced the backing music. QWS has developed from a self-help solution to a tool which has been translated into several languages and used in education and for employment around the world.
Sponsored by Ministry of Culture of the Buenos Aires Government, Ministerio de Cultura GCBA, Argentina
"The acquisition and development of new skills in piano practice after vision loss"
Music history has outstanding personalities within the visually-impaired or blind musicians' sphere. However, there is an area that has not been very much approached so far. We refer to the area comprising studies dealing with the changes or adaptations that a musician should make at the time of losing his or her functional vision. This work introduces a case study, in which two twin sisters from Argentina, pianists and holders of a Bachelor's degree in Musical Arts, have lost their sight, due to a macular dystrophy called Stargardt disease. This descriptive study aims at characterizing the beginning of piano studies of both sisters until present times, and the changes that they had to introduce, both at technical and methodological levels, as a consequence of the progressive impairment of their vision. In this respect, the work reopens three primary aspects relative to piano practice:
The analysis of live presentations and the recording of an audio CD account for the effectiveness of the adaptations made. From the results obtained in this study, the application of such adaptations to pianists of similar conditions would allow analysing the responses and adjust the adaptations in terms of the experiences of each particular case.
Fabiana and Paula Chávez are identical twins, pianists, music researchers and educators. They were born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studied music at the Instituto Santa Ana (St. Anne Institute), and graduated from the National University of Art (UNA) after earning a Bachelor's degree in Musical Arts. They participated in numerous master classes and seminars with outstanding masters like Nélida Sánchez, Elsa Púppulo, Iván Citera and Eduardo Hubert. Apart from being a four-hand piano duo, they have done important work as researchers, thus contributing to the study of new methods, so as to provide visually-impaired music students with useful tools.
Salubrious Productions, Stafford Heights, Queensland, Australia
"Disability stream or mainstream: Brilliant or just blind?"
When I returned from working as an international opera singer to my hometown in Australia, I was totally blind. Although there was nothing wrong with my voice, opera companies and agents would no longer engage me. I realized there were many other professional-level artists who faced similar prejudice and preconceptions, thus I established Salubrious Productions, an entertainment and production agency specializing in representing professional artists with a disability.
Since establishing Salubrious Productions in 1999, I have produced over 1,400 mainstream and disability events and assisted hundreds of artists on their artistic journeys, the majority of whom are blind or vision-impaired musicians. I chose to become a social entrepreneur in order to support and encourage other artists who like me, could and should be working at a professional level, but in need of the right opportunities and support. In this presentation, I will discuss my journey as a blind agent, producer and singer, the barriers, prejudices and preconceptions I've battled for both me and my artists. I will outline some of the strategies I've used to hurdle these obstacles, market events, promote artists, and some of the observations I've made. For instance, why when we market a disability arts event do we focus on the disability not the abilities? Are the general public attending a Stevie Wonder or Jose Feliciano or Bach concert because the musician is blind or because they are brilliant? Why is this conference called "Visually-impaired musicians' lives" and not "Visionary musicians' lives"? I strive to get as many of my artists into the mainstream arts industry in order to break down barriers through the very visual and illuminating medium of the arts, and to showcase how artists with disability are often not just as good as the next person, they are often much, much better!
Janelle Colquhoun studied opera at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. While undertaking her postgraduate studies, she sang full time at World Expo'88 before accepting a full-time contract with the Australian Opera. Two years later, she moved to Europe and sang for six years with the Oper Frankfurt before aged 29, she went blind. Returning to Brisbane, she established Salubrious Productions, an entertainment and production agency specialising in professional artists with a disability. She has produced over 1,400 mainstream and disability events, including the Brisbane City Council Lunchtime Concert Series since 2002. Janelle is a professional speaker, MC, writer, health consumer representative, and classical and jazz singer. She has recorded three solo CDs. Her performance highlights include singing the High Priestess in Michael Edgley's Aida, and concerts in Paris, Bermuda, Seoul, Chicago, Montreal, Switzerland, Dubai, London, Auckland, Berlin and New Delhi.
University Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia
"Pedagogical strategies to support inclusive musical education for children with visual disabilities in Colombia"
Regardless of the advantages that musical activity offers to people with visual disability, there is a lack of opportunities in Colombia to integrate this population into music education. Music schools do not feel they are able to receive disabled students due to the teachers' lack of preparation to accept the challenge of inclusive education. Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to provide strategies to serve teachers and to guide the adaptation of new methodologies for educational inclusion in the regular music classroom. I indicate the possibility of integrating children with and without disability in the same classroom, as a result of the comparison between two groups on music initiation. Research drawing on a series of discussion groups, interviews with teachers and a bibliographic review allowed the compilation of pedagogical strategies for inclusion. These strategies were then grouped into different categories. I will explain the process that the teacher must follow in order to achieve the inclusion of the student with visual limitation in the regular music classroom. The most relevant conclusions of this investigation are that, in spite of the importance of reading and writing skills in music education, it cannot be understood as music itself. On the other hand, the teacher is held responsible for the educational inclusion. Further, there is the need to re-evaluate and transform the teaching system into one that allows the appropriation of music through a more auditory and sensory way. Thus, playing, singing, feeling music in the body and the appropriation of concepts through experience and internalization will be the main ways to achieve musical knowledge.
Angela María Pino Hoyos has a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, with music teaching experience with visually impaired students. Recently, she developed the investigation "Pedagogical strategies to support inclusive musical education for children with visual disabilities in Colombia". She has worked as a teacher at the Instituto para Niños Ciegos (Institute for Blind Children), at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and at Universidad Sergio Arboleda, providing pedagogical consultancy, talks and workshops to students with disabilities and to teachers. She is currently a Masters student at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and continues doing research on inclusive musical education for people with visual disabilities.
Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School, Lighthouse Guild, New York, USA
"The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School of Lighthouse Guild"
The presentation is a practitioners' report on the shared experience and nature of educational processes in The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School of Lighthouse Guild, the only community music school in the United States dedicated completely to students with vision loss. In this presentation, we seek to share the ways in which the music school vibrantly functions to serve the varying ages, abilities, and goals of our students from 5 to 95, through a highly developed suite of offerings in individual, ensemble, and classroom formats. Our work touches every area of music-making, with emphasis on how accessible music technology enables the process and allows for customized materials preparation. Complementing our mission of serving students with vision loss, the music school exists as a model, insofar as we are living examples of the ideals for instructing these students. No program lives in a vacuum, and others must be able to follow the path such as we have forged in groundwork laid through our first century of service. Only when we make inroads into designing music education curricula at the Higher Education level will significant change occur in the manner in which students with vision loss are included, and accommodated, in their music study. The presentation will highlight the most recent chapter of the school in which avenues for expanding knowledge and outreach to music educators are being tested and implemented beyond the school borders through teacher training. These offerings target music educators and non-musical teachers of the visually impaired, both on and off-site. The presentation concludes with a summary description of our affiliations with collegiate music education programs, our development of a sophisticated network of observers, interns, and paid accessible music technology fellows, and on whom we rely for the seed-planting for the continuation of this important work.
Dr Leslie Jones is Executive Director of The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School of Lighthouse Guild, a position she has held since 1997. She holds a DMA from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, MM from the University of North Texas, and BA in Music Education from Rowan University. She has served on the faculties of Ithaca College and Montana State University and is an accomplished and versatile pianist. Dr Jones has been instrumental in establishing an accessible music technology centre, expanding visibility and outreach of the music school, and forging collaborations and partnerships with cultural organizations such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and National Dance Institute. She is a strong advocate of music accessibility issues and is currently focused on developing higher education partnerships to facilitate future music educators' work with individuals who are visually impaired and blind.
Dr Dalia Sakas is Director of Music Studies at The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School of Lighthouse Guild where she has been on the faculty for twenty years. She received her BM from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, MM from the Manhattan School of Music and DMA from the University of South Carolina. She has also served on the faculty of William Paterson University in New Jersey. She maintains a piano studio of approximately fifteen students and serves on the board of the Associated Music Teachers League (AMTL).
Nova Scotia, Canada
Guitar and vocals
Terry Kelly comes from Newfoundland and has released seven full-length recordings, resulting in seven East Coast Music Awards and nominations for four Canadian Country Music Awards and a JUNO. Terry has shared the stage with symphony orchestras, and has performed his original music in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and for the troops in Afghanistan. He is most recognized for his inspirational song, "A Pittance of Time". Terry is a recipient of the King Clancy Award, and Honorary Doctorates in Civil Laws and in Fine Arts. He has received the Canadian Country Music Association's Humanitarian Award and is a member of the Order of Canada.
Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Keynote address: "Assistive music technology"
The Assistive Music Technology (AMT) Program for visually impaired students at Berklee College of Music is intended to fully integrate visually-impaired students into the Berklee experience and empower students to create and perform music at the highest levels, translating into a successful career in music. The program is based on the belief that, with the right support system, and a working knowledge of today's assistive technology, these students can succeed at the same levels as their sighted musician peers. The presentation will explore how this innovative program supports the students, faculty and staff at Berklee College of Music, and how visually-impaired students are using technology to succeed in their classes.
Chi Gook Kim, Berklee alum and Assistant Professor of Music Therapy, runs a ground-breaking program on assistive music technology for visually-impaired students at Berklee. Professor Kim also works to improve accessibility across the Berklee campus in all aspects, and consults with other universities to improve accessibility for their students. Professor Kim also works as a CTO/producer at Serotonics Music. As a producer, he participated in Stars Sing Out, an EMI album featuring the artists Lily Allen, K.T. Tunstall and Moby. As a composer, he has participated in scoring for media including documentaries and independent films featured at international film festivals. His life story was recently featured in a documentary film on KBS, the largest television network in South Korea. Professor Kim received a BM in song-writing and CWP from Berklee, and a MM in music technology from New York University, and he is in his fifth year as a faculty member at Berklee.
Tartu Emajôe and Tartu Second Music School, Estonia
"Learning opportunities for Estonian blind musicians in school in 2014"
This presentation will explore the music education or visually-impaired and blind people, noting that the educational journey of blind children is usually more complicated. It will discuss how to hold students' enthusiasm and engender better cooperation. It will cover: the process of lifelong learning; international cooperation and aims for the future; group activities and music camps for children; and training and seminars for teachers. The presentation will also comment on the standardisation of written music in Braille and its variations of usage for children with Special Educational Needs. We will suggest the importance of the same musical possibilities for everyone in the EU and the involvement of SEN children with technology. We suggest that educational problems are caused by narrow-mindedness within school music classes.
Kadri Kutsar has ten years of experience of working with blind and partially-sighted children. She is interested in Orff pedagogy and music therapy with SEN children. Kadri studied music at the University of Tartu to become teacher, in 1999–2003 and 2007–10. She has also taken a first course of music therapy in Estonia and participated in a Grundtvig workshop in Thessaloniki, Greece in 2012 on music Braille code and special worksheets for people with developmental disorders. Kadri is a music teacher at Tartu Emajõe School, an Estonian state school for the blind and partially sighted. She works with children with multiple disabilities.
Royal National Institute of Blind People, London, UK
Lord Colin Low of Dalston was born in Edinburgh in 1942. He was totally blind since the age of three and was educated at Worcester College for the Blind, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He taught Law and Criminology for 16 years at Leeds University, from 1968–84, before moving to London as Director of the Disability Resource Team, an organisation providing advice and services on disability. He, then, went on to become Senior Research Fellow at City University, researching theories of disability, a post he retired from in 2000. In May 2006, Colin was appointed to the House of Lords as one of the seven new non-party-political peers. He was recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission for his work as Chairman of the Royal National Institute of Blind People, President of the European Blind Union and as a long-time campaigner for disability rights. Colin has also undertaken important roles in a wide range of organisations concerned with blindness and disability, including: the National Federation of the Blind, the Disability Alliance, the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment and SKILL (the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities). Colin has a CBE for services to: the Royal National Institute of Blind People and disabled people' rights. He is married to Jill and has two children, Peter and Philippa. His leisure interests include music, current affairs and an appreciation of fine wines.
Prima Vista Braille Music Services, Leeds, UK
"Hand in hand: Braille music, modified stave notation and partnerships with print music publishers"
This presentation explores the issues surrounding the availability of scores in accessible formats and explains Prima Vista Braille Music Services' approach to production and distribution. Since its launch in 2010, Prima Vista has been unique in working in partnership with print music publishers in order to make accessible scores available to visually-impaired musicians. This collaboration means that Prima Vista gains not only access to copyright material, but access to publishers' production files in the form of digital scores. Prima Vista's own software works directly with these digital scores to produce accessible editions. These can be purchased from Prima Vista's website as either digital downloads or hard copies.
While the technological advantages of this approach are clear, with faster and cheaper production of scores, Prima Vista is equally concerned with the underlying implications for what could be called the culture of Braille music. The world of music publishing has seen a revolution in the past 20 years. Production has shifted from engraving on steel plates to the development of powerful score-writing applications. Routes to market and means of delivery have also changed and the expectation among sighted musicians is that they should be able to get what they want, when they want it. More than ever, they have a broader choice of music, with faster delivery.
For the visually-impaired musician, these advances mean that the accessibility gap that was always there has now become an accessibility chasm. Developing new technologies for the transcription of Braille music will get us only halfway across. To truly bridge this chasm, we must ensure that braille and Modified Stave Notation production becomes integrated into the world of music publishing, and, just as crucially, into our expectations. This presentation will show how this is beginning to happen through small projects with far-reaching effects.
Lydia Machell is an innovator in the field of music for blind and partially-sighted people. She has developed systems and approaches that help to ensure that technology works for, not against, blind musicians. A keen amateur musician with a background in music publishing, experience in software development and a history of visual impairment, Lydia is well-placed to tackle issues of accessibility for blind music-makers. Her publishing company, Prima Vista Braille Music Services, was launched in 2010. Prima Vista's Braille scores are distributed through its website at www.primavistamusic.com and its range of Modified Stave Notation editions, Vista Scores, will be launched later this year.
Royal Blind School, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
"Approaches to music education working with pupils of age 5–18 years with a visual impairment"
Providing an inclusive music education for pupils with a visual impairment requires a fully-differentiated approach. Based on my experience at the Royal Blind School, Edinburgh, Scotland, I will present a range of case studies that demonstrate pupil-centred music-making for children and young people with visual impairments and multiple disabilities with a visual impairment. I will also provide best practice examples of the use of access technology in the music classroom.
Louisa Maddison is originally from North West England. She came to Scotland to study at Edinburgh University, graduating with a BMus(Hons) in 1999. Louisa then decided to embark on a career in teaching, achieving her Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in music education in 2001. Louisa is a fully qualified teacher of music and a specialist teacher of the visually impaired. At the Royal Blind School, Louisa's work involves providing a fully-inclusive music curriculum for pupils with visual impairments, and multiple disabilities and visual impairments. She has developed a wide range of teaching approaches, incorporating a variety of differentiated techniques, including the use of access technology, adaptations to musical material, and the inclusion of a variety of multi-sensory and experiential music making activities.
Dancing Dots, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, USA
"Dancing Dots: A continuing quest for literacy, inclusion and independence"
Aren't we visually-impaired musicians like the man who said he would happily make his own bed in exchange for a discount on his hotel room only to find, on entering his guest room, boards, hammer and nails? Aren't we like competitors who must sprint half a mile just to get to the starting line as the gun sounds? To participate fully, we quickly learn that we must work harder and smarter than our sighted brethren.
In 1967, I received my all-time favorite birthday present: a trumpet. I would send print scores off in the mail to generous volunteer transcribers who would return the equivalent Braille scores in weeks or months. By 1997, in just minutes, I could automatically convert print music into Braille using Dancing Dots' newly developed GOODFEEL®software, the world's first commercial Braille music translator designed by Albert Milani. Now, eighteen years further on, Dancing Dots offers accessible solutions for reading, writing, and recording music to visually-impaired musicians the world over.
I have been blessed to come so far on my own quest for literacy, inclusion and independence. So many smart, kind, and resourceful people have helped me along the way. My own quest reflects that of so many visually-impaired musicians I have had the pleasure to come to know through my work with Dancing Dots. We want to get the musical details in a comparable time as our sighted counterparts; to join in music-making at school, at work, or at play; and to do so as independently as possible. We'll make our own bed and sprint to the starting line if we must, but we would certainly prefer to skip out on the carpentry and just stroll nonchalantly up to the starting line with everyone else.
William McCann founded Dancing Dots in 1992 to develop and adapt technology for blind and partially-sighted musicians. Dancing Dots created world's first commercial Braille music translator software, GOODFEEL® in 1997. Their Lime Lighter enables low-vision musicians to comfortably read and to write magnified music. Their access solution allows independent creation of professional-sounding, multi-track audio productions. Dancing Dots has customers in over 50 countries. William has been interviewed by AccessWorld, BBC, Associated Press and Philadelphia Inquirer. He has published numerous articles about his work. For the bicentenary of the birth of Louis Braille in 2009, William was invited to speak about Braille music at UNESCO at an international conference in Paris dedicated to Braille's memory.
Museum of Historical Instruments, Royal College of Music, London, UK
"Discovering the Baroque music in the museum"
Museums exhibit and preserve items of cultural interest for current and future generations. However, postmodern theories regarding the role of a museum transcend these practical functions. Today, museums choose to include lectures and musical performances to illustrate their collections in an interactive manner. The Royal College of Music Museum was founded in 1894 to preserve and display an internationally renowned collection of musical instruments, many of which date to the early 17th century. The collection demonstrates the evolution of music through these instruments. In contrast to the predominantly visual nature of displays in many galleries, the museum hosts also regular concerts both to offer RCM students an opportunity to inform their performance practice by playing these historical instruments. In addition to the benefit to students, this practice allows visitors the opportunity to hear music played on period instruments.
However, in spite of the interactive element to public engagement strategy, the museum did not, until recently, offer events that allowed visually impaired members of the public to experience the collections. This paper will explore the process and outcome of a pilot workshop in the museum developed for visually impaired musicians, and will detail the progress made in developing a subsequent programme of bespoke events for visually-impaired persons.
Erin McHugh has worked as the Museum Assistant at the Royal College of Music museum since August 2013. She manages the volunteer programme and develops events that engage members of the public with the collections. Erin has, for the past year, been working to develop the museum's participatory access, focusing on visually-impaired visitors. In addition to her work in the museum, she is also a PhD candidate at the RCM, supervised by Richard Wistreich. Her research explores female vocality in opera, with particular focus on the Opera heroines of Richard Strauss. An opera singer herself, she has a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the RCM, and has sung operatic roles in Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni and Dido and Aeneas.
School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University of London, UK
"Developing audio-haptic interactive systems for accessible Digital Audio Workstations"
We present findings from the Design Patterns for Inclusive Collaboration (DePIC) project, an EPSRC cross-disciplinary project between computer scientists, psychologists and designers exploring how to reduce barriers to collaboration caused by sensory impairment. DePIC combines participatory design with empirical studies and technical implementation to develop new ideas for inclusive design grounded in users' needs with the aim of improving social and workplace inclusion.
In this context, we engaged with visually-impaired musicians and audio production specialists through a series of participatory design workshops to learn about their experiences with Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs). The workshops identified a number of accessibility issues that users face when they interact with this technology and with other members of the community. Typically, visually-impaired users rely on screen-reader technology to access DAWs but DAWs' interfaces are highly visual which stand in contrast to the linear presentation of information that screen-readers afford. DAWs also incorporate a number of graphical representations of sound to support editing and mastering, such as waveforms, which are entirely inaccessible to screen-readers. The participatory design workshops were an opportunity to generate joint design ideas for overcoming such barriers.
Based on workshop findings, we developed a number of accessibility solutions, which we validated through controlled lab-based user studies. Solutions included sonification of automation graphs, which map data values to the frequency of a tone to convey the overall shape of an envelope; haptic representations that allow for detailed non-visual spatial exploration of interface elements; and a physical prototype based on auto-faders to support scanning and conveying the shape of a waveform through the sense of touch. The major outcomes of our work include an audio-haptic prototype DAW, an open source VST plugin that uses sonification to provide access to peak level meters, a HapticWave device to support scanning of waveform representations, and an open source platform for developing accessible interaction using commercially available haptic devices such as the Sensible Phantom Omni and the Falcon.
Dr Oussama Metatla is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London. His research interests include non-visual human-computer interaction, accessibility, participatory design and computer-supported cooperative work particularly between sighted and visually impaired people. He has published award winning peer-reviewed papers in these areas and received the Prize for International Excellence in HCI Research by the British Computer Society Interaction Group for his work on the use of auditory display to support non-visual interaction with graphs and diagrams.
Dr Nick Bryan-Kinns is Reader in Interaction Design and Deputy Dean at Queen Mary University of London, and Visiting Professor of Interaction Design at Hunan University, China. He leads Interactional Sound and Music at QMUL and has published award winning international journal papers from his multi-million pound funded research. He provided expert opinion for the NSF and European Commission, chaired ACM Creativity and Cognition conference 2009, and BCS-HCI 2006. He is a BCS Fellow, recipient of ACM and BCS Recognition of Service Awards, and chair of ACM SIGCHI-CCaA Community. Bryan-Kinns is a Chartered Engineer and received his PhD in 1998.
Dr Tony Stockman is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London. His commercial experience includes working as a systems programmer at Rolls Royce PLC in Bristol, and as a systems analyst at ICI PLC in Manchester. He has taught at Staffordshire, Middlesex and for the last 12 years Queen Mary University of London. His research interests include the design and evaluation of auditory displays, Sonification for sports and performance, collaborative cross-modal interfaces and accessible information seeking. He has been a Board member of the International Community for Auditory Display since 2007 and ICAD President since 2011. He has over 50 peer-reviewed publications.
Fiore Martin is a software developer and designer with interest in sound and interaction. He has been working as a research associate at Queen Mary University of London on developing accessible audio-haptic interfaces to support collaboration between sighted and visually impaired people. Such research included looking at interfaces tackling the accessibility issues of visually impaired musicians and audio producers, which he enjoyed very much. In his spare time he likes indeed to make his own synthesisers and audio effects to play his own electronic music, although many, especially his neighbours, would argue that he just makes noise.
University of Roehampton, London, UK
"Focus on music: The impact of congenital visual impairment on the development of musical abilities in childhood"
This paper consolidates the findings from three studies, of children with septo-optic dysplasia (n = 32), retinopathy of prematurity (n = 37) and Leber congenital amaurosis (n = 66), as well as a comparison group of fully sighted children (n = 32). Data were gathered through parental questionnaires, observational case studies, and analysis of children's musical products, interactions and engagement, using the Sounds of Intent framework of musical development. Analysis was undertaken quantitatively, qualitatively and using zygonic theory. Key findings are as follows. First, children with visual impairment were more likely than their fully-sighted peers to show a particular interest in everyday sounds and music, and to evince relatively advanced musical skills. Here, it was children's level of vision rather than their medical condition that appeared to exert the greater effect. Second, there was a substantial difference in the prevalence of absolute pitch among the children who were visually impaired and those who were fully sighted. The data suggested that both level of vision and medical condition might affect the incidence AP. However, having AP was neither a necessary nor a sufficient factor in the development of exceptional musical interest or achievement. Third, the studies provided evidence that learning difficulties need not impede a child's evolving musicality. Here, however, the possession of AP appeared to be a necessary element in the development of exceptional skills. Fourth, it appears that blind children's learning styles in music may be very different from those of their partially- and fully-sighted peers. Young blind children frequently teach themselves to play by ear (particularly the keyboard), for example, whereas children without visual impairment typically learn informally at a later stage through emulating what their friends do (largely visually, anecdotal evidence suggests) or, more formally, by taking instruction from a teacher, who will usually use music notation as the main route to learning. Fifth, it may be that some teachers' perceptions of the impact of sight loss – especially in combination with other disabilities – may cause them to think, erroneously, that they lack the capacity to teach visually impaired pupils. Sixth, the young people who were reported to be learning Braille music were in their teens – although there is no pedagogical reason why music notation should not have been tackled earlier. Seventh, it was shown that neither visual impairment nor learning difficulties need be a barrier to musical accomplishment and, ultimately, to achievement at the highest level.
Professor Adam Ockelford is Director of the Applied Music Research Centre at the University of Roehampton, London. He was previously Music Advisor at the RNIB before becoming Director of Education. While attending the Royal Academy of Music in London, Adam started working with children with visual impairments – a number of whom, he noticed, had special musical abilities too – and he became interested in how we all intuitively make sense of music, without the need for formal education. Adam pursued this line of enquiry, and gained a PhD in music at Goldsmith's College in London in 1993, in which he set out his "zygonic" theory of musical understanding. This theory has proved a valuable tool in music theory and analysis, in investigating musical development, and exploring interaction in music therapy and education. Adam is Secretary of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE), Chair of Soundabout, an Oxfordshire-based charity that supports music provision for children and young people with complex needs; and founder of The AMBER Trust, a charity that supports visually impaired children in their pursuit of music.
Soprano and piano
Victoria Ekenta Oruwari hails from Rivers State, Nigeria. She learned the piano from the age of six before turning to singing two years later. She gave early performances at the National Art Theatre, the Muson Centre in Nigeria and at the Musical Society of Nigeria's concert hall. On coming to England, Victoria continued her singing studies performing with her school choir in the Birmingham Symphony Hall, Worcester Cathedral, Huntingdon Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, as well as giving solo recitals. Victoria studied at Trinity College of Music, London under John Wakefield, Alistair Young and Linda Hirst where she acquired her undergraduate degree, subsequently gaining her postgraduate diploma with distinction. With the choir at Trinity College of Music, Victoria performed Britten's War Requiem, Tippet's Child of Our Time, and Speminalium by Tallis. Her first opera role was that of the consultant in David Johnston's Sorry False Alarm.
Since graduating, Victoria has broadened her repertoire to include musical theatre and jazz. She enrolled on the Trinity College of Music musical theatre course under the direction of Robert Purvis, and had jazz singing lessons with Victoria Newton. She had master classes with celebrated tenors and sopranos such as Richard Jackson, Nick Clapton, Nick Searsens, Omar Ibrahim, Alison Wells and Mary King. She also had acting lessons with soprano and music psychologist, Dr Jane Davidson.
Opera roles in her repertoire include "Fiordiligi" in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, "Mathilde" in Rossini's Guilliame Tell, "Beatrice" in Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda, the "Dew Fairy" in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, "Sour Mathilde" in Poulenc's Dialogue des Carmelites, first soprano chorus in Bizet's Carmen and "Ladies of the Night" in Weill's Three Penny Opera. Victoria also performs songs from music theatre and jazz and was featured at the Liberty Festival 2011 at the Royal Festival Hall, and the Trinity College of Music musical theatre showcases at the Blackheath Halls, where she performed songs from various shows with the college orchestra. She has given recitals at the Royal Festival Hall, Regents Hall, The MUSON Centre's Agip Recital Hall in Lagos, and is in demand for corporate and private functions having performed in venues including The King's Gallery at Kensington Palace, in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, The Ritz Hotel in London and Shell Guest House, Abuja. Victoria was asked to sing the national anthem at the final ceremony held at Alexandra Palace to celebrate Nigeria's 50th anniversary of independence with the President of Nigeria in attendance. She has been awarded the Elizabeth Eagle Bott Memorial fund, the Newman Thomas Commonwealth Award for Outstanding Progress and the Eva Noreen Student Scholarship Award.
Victoria's work has attracted media interest, including Attitude pictures, the world's leading provider of television content about the lives of people living with disabilities. They flew into London from New Zealand to film a documentary about Victoria and her music.
Kevin Satizabal Carrascal is Online Communities Assistant for the Royal London Society for Blind People. Kevin was born in 1990 in Popayan Colombia. He moved to England with family at the age of three months, and has lived and been educated in England. While studying in mainstream school, Kevin also studied piano and recorder at the Royal College of Music Junior Department, and then completed a music degree with composition as his principal study at Birmingham Conservatoire. He has performed at London's Wigmore Hall, has two compositions published by the Royal National Institute for the Blind and been a prize winner at piano festivals around London.
"The use of social haptics communications to support orchestras in the production of music: London Symphony Orchestra's Create Orchestra"
This presentation will clearly demonstrate how successful social haptics communications enables severely sight-impaired pianists to rehearse and perform alongside sighted musicians. The pianist's music assistant will sit to the left of the pianist, receiving visual signals from the conductor to indicate solo, accidental, and crescendo and diminuendo markings where appropriate. This will be conveyed by discrete signals to the left side of the pianist's upper forearm by use of the music assistant's finger(s) making subtle symbols to accomplish this. The presentation will refer to a CD recording of the outcome of this in the ground-breaking premiere of the LSO Create Orchestra performance of a new composition at the Barbican Centre on 23 June 2014. Refer to www.lso.co.uk/lso-create.
Mark Pampel has retinitis pigmentosa, which slowly developed over the years. At age 5, he started to play the piano and had piano lessons with normal eyesight reaching Grade 6 standard before his retinitis pigmentosa made it impossible to read music. Mark decided to branch out into the areas of playing by ear (having perfect pitch) by reproducing popular tunes on piano before venturing into the world of improvisation and composition. He has attended many courses on developing improvisation techniques particularly in a classical style, e.g.at the Chetham International Piano Summer School, and has performed regularly in public venues as a member of London Piano Circle, London Composers Forum and Hampstead Music Club. Owing to the success of the Create Orchestra's premiere concert, Mark, who is also a hearing aid user, is now currently working with this orchestra and is engaged with ongoing projects related to rehearsal, composition and performance of new works at the Barbican Centre in the future.
Hendra Jatmika Pristiwa majored in music at the Indonesia University of Education. He is a music teacher, arranger and composer. Additionally, he is a programmer and trainer for digital music recording and has works in the Valentino Music Studio in Bandung.
Royal National Institute of Blind People, London, UK
James Risdon began playing the recorder aged eight and is still captivated by this most simple of instruments and its rich musical possibilities. He studied with Alan Davis and has played in master classes with Dan Laurin, Pamela Thorby and Piers Adams. In 2011, he gained his LRSM with distinction and continues his studies privately with Rebecca Miles supported by the Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund. In March 2011, James was runner up in the International Competition of Blind Musicians at the Jan Dale Conservatoire in Prague. As soloist he has appeared with the Prague Chamber Orchestra and London Musici with whom he performed Bach's 4th Brandenburg Concerto with Piers Adams. Since 2001, James has appeared several times with Devon Baroque under the direction of renowned violinist Margaret Faultless in performances of concertos by Vivaldi, Telemann and Bach. In 2009, he gave a lecture recital on Handel's recorder music at the Great Hall, Dartington. Past engagements have included recitals for the Treasury Music Society, the Totnes Early Music Society, at the Handel House Museum in London, Anglesey Abbey, on a pod on the London Eye and for the Japanese Government in Japan.
Away from music, James is a keen sportsman and was a member of the Great Britain men's Goalball team at the Paralympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, and is a seven times national champion. His other interests include languages and he has a Masters in German translation from Leeds University. He works as the Music Officer at the Royal National Institute of Blind People in London.
Sitar; Director, Inner Vision Orchestra
Baluji Shrivastav was born in Usmanpur in Uttar Pradesh, India. He was tragically blinded as a baby and was sent away as a young boy to live at Ajmer Blind School where music was a compulsory subject. His talent soon became apparent and he won many prizes for the school. While still a child, he graduated from Lucknow University with a BA in Vocal Studies and Sitar going on to gain a further BA in Tabla and an MA in Sitar from Alahabad University. Supporting his whole family from a young age, he toured India playing with the National Ballet Troupe. This exposed him to the rich variety of regional musical styles, which have become a lifelong fascination.
Baluji has written music for films, theatre and television and has pioneered the contribution that composers with an Indian classical perspective can make to contemporary music through his series of commissioned works including: "Portraits of the dark", "Sitar-guitar suites", "Indian in London", "Song celestial", "Taal zindagi" and the world's only Urdu oratorio "Sohini and Mahival", which he composed together with Oscar winner, Dario Marianelli. Baluji has performed and taught all over the world and has recorded many albums with a wide variety of artists and bands such as Stevie Wonder, Massive Attack, Annie Lennox , Madness, Andy Sheppard and Guy Barker. He has formed his own jazz ensemble Jazz Orient, which has produced five albums to much acclaim. Baluji is founder of the Baluji Music Foundation, which is a registered charity. One of its aims is to encourage the participation of disabled people in music. For this reason, he has founded the Inner Vision Orchestra of visually-impaired musicians. He is also actively involved with the British Paraorchestra founded by Charles Hazelwood. They performed at the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games in 2012 with Coldplay.
Cardiff, Wales, UK
Rachel Starritt began formal music training in 2006 with Alison Bowring at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, demonstrating extraordinary musicianship and piano improvisation skills. At the age of just fifteen, she completed her A. level Music, and has since delivered several acclaimed performances in local competitions, and nationally. In 2009, Rachel won the Cardiff and the Vale Young Musician of the Year Award, and gained first prize in the Junior Conservatoire's Beattie Piano Competition the following year. As winner of the Senior Piano Trophy for the South Glamorgan Festival of Young Musicians, she was invited to perform in Margam Abbey and on the Glanfa Stage at the Wales Millennium Centre.
At the Abertawe Festival for Young Musicians, Rachel was presented with the award for "Most Outstanding Pianist" for two years consecutively. In 2012, as a representative for AFYM, she competed in the Emanuel Trophy competition as part of the North London Festival, where she was Highly Commended for her performance under the esteemed jury of Frank Wibaut and Margaret Fingerhut.
Rachel has enjoyed master classes with Dr Michael Schreider and William Fong at the annual NLPS Summer Course at the Purcell school, and received guidance from UK and International specialists in piano performance: Irina Ossipova, Tessa Nicholson, Richard Ormrod, Irina Berkovich, Andrew Haigh and Fazliddin Husanov. In Autumn 2012, after performing to over 1,400 delegates at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, she was described as "the consummate performer" by Principal Sheila Tallon. Here Rachel received the Leonard Pegg Music Award for the student with outstanding musical ability at the annual prize-giving ceremony.
"The blind body as a canalizing sensory apparatus"
I research the embodiment of blind people through visual art. My aim is to show blindness in an aesthetic way and question the blind body as a fundamental bearer of sensations. In my films, I use authentic blind people as research subjects and characters on stage and this methodology gives a close connection between the seeing maker and the blind subject. My latest video work "A romantic notion of blindness" from 2014 focuses on three blind persons in their twenties. They express themselves through music and lyrics specially created for the video work with questions on gender, sexuality, human-relations and body performances. Working with "sound-to-image" through blind musicians and understanding the notion of inner sound perception and how it can be translated into a visual media, is the focus of my work. One of my future research groups is a Danish jazz ensemble of five blind men, all blind on different levels and experiences. Through this ensemble, I will investigate if the absence of visual information creates a heightened awareness of environmental auditory stimuli such as music and sounds. Can the income of sound create an inner space for reflection and can the outcome be musical? If all parts of our body serve us as tools for observing objects outside, how can sound and music be a translating tool for an inner creative process in the blind artist?
Kristina Elisabeth Steinbock has a BA(Hons) from Glasgow School of Art and a MA in Art and Theory from the Royal Danish Art Academy in Copenhagen. She works within video-art and video installations and has worked with the notion of blindness since 2011. So far, she has made two pieces: "House without windows" won the Jury´s Prize (2013) at the Focus Video Art Festival in Copenhagen; "A romantic notion of blindness" (2014) is a two screen video installation with sound. She is currently working on a practice-based PhD proposal on blindness. It will be an investigation of the embodiment of blind people through a notion of an inner sensory perception interpreted in cinematic video art referencing cases of blind artists and musicians.
Shadowsound Studios, Macon, Georgia, and the Los Angeles Recording Connection School, Mercer University School of Music, USA
"Seeing the light: The joy of life through music"
In this presentation, I will discuss working with sighted counterparts. There will be discussion of basic music theory and a short introduction to the things every blind person needs to know in order to maximize brain power to overcome the limitations of being a blind musician in a predominantly sighted field.
Joey Stuckey was born in Green Cove Springs, Florida, and is an award-winning blind guitarist, songwriter, singer, composer, producer, radio and TV personality, music columnist, educator, inspirational speaker, and sound engineer. Joey lost his sight and sense of smell as an infant as the result of a brain tumour. Despite this, he remained in mainstream education. Scholastically outstanding, he graduated from high school at the age of 14 years. At the age of 17, he began his musical career by taking classical guitar lessons from noted music professor, Terry Cantwell. Joey continued his musical education by studying with renowned jazz guitarists Stanley Jordan and Steve Crowell. Joey has released several albums, including "Take a walk in the shadows", "Ironies, pain and the light that guides", "Live and stuff", "Live and more stuff", "Oceanside" and "Shadowsound". He is owner of a recording facility, Shadow Sound Studio in Macon, Georgia and also owns and operates a 24-hour internet radio station. With the Joey Stuckey Band, he has worked with Ted Nugent, Bad Company, Trisha Yearwood, James Brown, Clarence Carter, and the B-52s. In his roles as a producer, composer, music columnist or sound engineer, Joey has worked with the Grateful Dead and Mike Mills from REM. He also works as a music professor at Mercer University.
Music School of Thessaloniki, Greece
"Byzantine music Braille code and innovative educational activities in music for visually-impaired students"
My paper focuses on the teaching of music to students with special educational needs (visual impairment and diffused developmental disorders) and presents the use of new technologies in the digitalisation of the musical text using the electronic transcription of European and Byzantine music notation into the Braille system and on the application of innovative and award-winning educational actions in the form of worksheets for special music education. My research is pioneering in Greece as a proposal about the methods of transcribing Byzantine music into Braille. This method has been used at Greek music schools for eight years and has also been presented and at Grundtvig workshops, Youth in Action and e-Twinning European projects.
Teaching Byzantine music to visually-impaired students: I have developed an electronic Braille code based on the Chryssaphidis method for the electronic transcription of Byzantine music and traditional Greek music, where each music tone corresponds to a combination of Latin letters-codes so that music can be printed with an embosser and read by visually-impaired pupils. I have taught the Braille code to students with low vision using multiple-choice questionnaires: I have used this method to teach the Braille system to students who are not ready to accept their visual problems and learn the Braille system. My project results are very useful to special music educationalists, students with special educational needs and their parents, music teachers, researchers, libraries and organisations that are connected with special music education.
Fr Theodoros Tsampatzidis is a doctoral candidate in the Music Department of the Ionian University. He holds a first class honours degree from the University Ecclesiastical Academy of Thessaloniki and a Master of Arts degree with Distinction from Middlesex University. Fr Tsampatzidis teaches music at the Music School of Thessaloniki focussing on special educational needs. He has been a speaker at educational seminars that concern the use of new technology in teaching music, the digitalisation of music to the Braille system, and on innovative educational projects.
"On playing the lute and theorbo professionally, and the launch of the world's first accessible guitar tablature platform"
Matthew Wadsworth, lutenist, is in great demand as a soloist, continuo player and chamber musician. He has appeared at major festivals in the UK, Europe and North America and can frequently be heard on radio, both in live performance and on disc. Matthew has recorded for Avie, Deux-Elles, Linn, EMI, Channel Classics and Wigmore Live. His 6 CDs to date, "When Laura smiles", (featuring music by Phillip Rosseter), "Away delights" (Robert Johnson), "Fourteen silver strings" (Kapsberger and Piccinini), "Masters of the lute" (Dowland, Kapsberger, de Visee), "Knight of the lute" (music from A Varietie Of Lute Lessons) and "Not just Dowland" (recorded live at the Wigmore Hall) have received international critical acclaim. Matthew studied lute with Nigel North at London's Royal Academy of Music, winning the London Student of the Year award in 1997 for his work on the development of Braille lute tablature. He then spent a year at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague. Recent engagements have included the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, the Georgian Concert Society (Edinburgh), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Lufthansa, Beverley, Spitalfields, Budapest, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal Baroque, Mitte-Europa and Innsbruck festivals. Matthew has also worked with The Academy of Ancient Music, English Touring Opera, Birmingham Opera Company, Independent Opera, The Netherlands Bach Society, I Fagiolini, The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, The Musicians of the Globe, Arion, Constantinople, The Theatre of Early Music and Les Violons du Roy, among others.
Idyllwild Arts Academy, California, USA
"Teaching piano to the visually impaired, without Braille"
In the recent past, I taught a private piano student, whom I shall call "Sam," who was almost completely without sight. Sam was an octogenarian, who used to be able to see until macular degeneration claimed his vision in his mid-30's. Sam played piano for years as a young, sighted person, and thoroughly enjoyed playing and practising. Later in life, Sam decided to pursue piano lessons again, and, to my knowledge, had two other teachers prior to coming to me. Sam had never been interested in learning to use Braille music either, so I did not teach with it in the lessons.
Several years ago, Sam developed what had been diagnosed as Charles Bonnet syndrome. (This syndrome, particular to visually-impaired patients, manifests itself in uncontrollable images entering the mind/visual field of the patient.) In Sam's experience, one particular visual manifestation made him quite tense and distracted, and unable to continue practising or playing, at the given moment. Sam was undergoing various types of treatment for it at the time. Using what I have learned about performance anxiety and mind-strengthening exercises for musicians, I tried different approaches in the lessons, as well, in hopes to break through the apparent – though unidentifiable – trigger for these manifestations. My own nonagenarian grandmother has macular degeneration. Through my experience with assisting her, I have learned many of the obstacles facing people who have low or no vision. I have also had experience with teaching adults of various ages, including a former septuagenarian student. Because of this combination, I was interested in the opportunity to teach an elderly, visually-impaired person.
Dr Jeanette Louise Yaryan is a creative pianist and educator in Southern California. Having performed across the USA and in parts of Europe and Canada, she has won numerous accolades over the years. An active chamber musician, she is the President of the board of Definiens, a non-profit organization specializing in bringing contemporary chamber music to new audiences. She teaches at the Idyllwild Arts Academy, a private boarding arts high school, and has taught numerous private students as well. Past appointments include teaching at University of Southern California, Cypress College, El Camino College, and California Academy of Math and Science.