Logo: UCL Institute of Education, London

"Visually-impaired musicians' lives" two-day international conference
10–11 March 2015, Jeffery Hall, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Presented with the generous support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Music Advisory Service of the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Our gratitude also goes to our conference panel, which included: Dr David Baker, UCL Institute of Education, London; Peter Bosher, Soundlinks Ltd.; Jacqueline Clifton MBE, Royal College of Music, London; Professor Lucy Green, UCL Institute of Education; Dr Anthony Gritten, Royal Academy of Music, London; Kevin Kern; Lord Colin Low of Dalston CBE, Royal National Institute of Blind People; Lydia Machell, Prima Vista Braille Music Services; James Risdon, Royal National Institute of Blind People; Julian West, Royal Academy of Music; and Sally Zimmermann, Royal National Institute of Blind People.


10 March 2015

09.00–09.30: Registration and coffee

09.30–09.40: Victoria Oruwari (soprano) with Kevin Satizabal (accomp.), UK

09.40–09.50: Welcome address, Lord Colin Low of Dalston, CBE, Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK

09.50–10.10: "Visually-impaired musicians' lives" and the conference programme, Dr David Baker, UCL Institute of Education, UK

10.10–10.40: Keynote address, "Assistive music technology", Chi Kim, Music Technology Lab for the Visually Impaired, Berklee College of Music, Boston, USA

10.40–10.50: James Risdon (recorder), Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK

10.50–11.10: Break

11.10–11.35: "Dancing Dots: A continuing quest for literacy, inclusion and independence", William McCann, Dancing Dots, USA

11.35–12.00: "Seeing the music from school to symphony orchestra: A new approach to music-reading for the partially sighted", James Aitken and Alison Dalton, Dancing Dots and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, USA

12.00–12.25: "The visually-impaired musician in the land of sight-readers", Almut Boehme, International Association of Music Libraries, UK and Republic of Ireland

12.25–13.25: Lunch

13.25–13.40: MySight Choir, Nottingham, UK

13.40–14.05: "The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School of Lighthouse Guild", Drs Leslie Jones and Dalia Sakas, Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School, Lighthouse Guild, New York, USA

14.05–14.30: "Learning opportunities for Estonian blind musicians in school in 2014", Kadri Kutsar, Tiiu Ernits, Jelena Michaelis, Tartu Emajôe and Tartu Second Music School, Estonia

14.30–14.55: "Approaches to music education working with pupils of age 5–18 years with a visual impairment", Louisa Maddison, Royal Blind School, Edinburgh, UK

14.55–15.15: Break

15.15–15.30: Paula and Fabiana Chávez (piano duo), (sponsored by Ministry of Culture of the Buenos Aires Government), Argentina

15.30–15.50: "The acquisition and development of new skills in piano practice after vision loss", Paula and Fabiana Chávez, Argentina

15.50–16.15: "The use of social haptics communications to support orchestras in the production of music: London Symphony Orchestra's Create Orchestra", Mark Pampel and Paula McDowell, UK

16.15–16.40: "Discovering the Baroque music in the museum", Erin McHugh, Museum of Historical Instruments, Royal College of Music, London, UK

16.40–17.10: Terry Kelly (guitar and vocals) with Lucas Haneman (guitar and backing vocals), Canada

11 March 2015

09.00–09.30: Arrival and coffee

09.30–09.55: "Teaching piano to the visually impaired, without Braille", Dr Jeanette Louise Yaryan, Idyllwild Arts Academy, California, USA

09.55–10.20: "Hand in hand: Braille music, modified stave notation and partnerships with print music publishers", Lydia Machell, Prima Vista Braille Music Services, Leeds, UK

10.20–10.40: Maros Bango (tenor), (sponsored by the British Czech and Slovak Association), Slovak Republic

10.40–11.00: Break

11.00–11.30: Inner Vision Orchestra, UK

11.30–11.55: "Practical solutions to learning and composing music: Experiences of a blind musician and software developer", James Bowden, UK

11.55–12.20: "The VIBE project", Peter Bosher, Soundlinks Ltd., Buckinghamshire, UK

12.20–12.45: "Byzantine music Braille code and innovative educational activities in music for visually-impaired students", Fr Theodoros Tsampatzidis, Music School of Thessaloniki, Greece

12.45–13.45: Lunch

13.45–14.10: "Focus on music: The impact of congenital visual impairment on the development of musical abilities in childhood", Professor Adam Ockelford, University of Roehampton, UK

14.10–14.35: "Developing audio-haptic interactive systems for accessible Digital Audio Workstations", Drs Oussama Metatla, Nick Bryan-Kinns, Tony Stockman, Fiore Martin, Atau Tanaka, Adam Parkinson, Michael Proulx, Dave Brown, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University of London, UK

14.35–14.55: Rachel Starritt (piano), UK

14.55–15.15: Break

15.15–15.40: "The blind body as a canalizing sensory apparatus", Kristina Elisabeth Steinbock, Denmark

15.40–16.00: "On playing the lute and theorbo professionally, and the launch of the world's first accessible guitar tablature platform", Matthew Wadsworth, UK

16.00–16.15: Matthew Wadsworth (theorbo), UK

16.15–16.35: Break

16.35–17.00: "Disability stream or mainstream: Brilliant or just blind?", Janelle Colquhoun, Salubrious Productions, Queensland, Australia

17.00–17.20: "Seeing the light: The joy of life through music", Joey Stuckey, Shadowsound Studios, Macon, Georgia, and the Los Angeles Recording Connection School, Mercer University School of Music, USA

17.20–17.40: Joey Stuckey (guitar and vocals), USA


  • Dr David Baker, UCL Institute of Education, UK
  • Dr Charles Ford
  • Professor Lucy Green, UCL Institute of Education
  • Clarie Middleton, Chief Executive, Hackney Empire, London, UK
  • James Risdon, Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK
  • Dr Mary Stakelum, Institute of Education, Reading University, UK
  • Sally Zimmermann, Royal National Institute of Blind People

Conference administrators:

  • Robert Mitchell, r.mitchell@ioe.ac.uk
  • Diana Rugyendo, d.rugyendo@ioe.ac.uk


  • Dan Gritzman, d.gritzman@ioe.ac.uk

UCL Institute of Education "Student ambassadors" and others kindly helping us at the conference:

  • Sarah Breen
  • Dr Charles Ford
  • Thuy Hoang
  • Wei Hee Hong
  • Aniqa Rob
  • Hermione Ruck-Keene
  • Michelle Tay
  • Dr Maria Vraka

Abstracts and biographies

Abstracts for the oral presentations; and presenter and performer biographies


There will be exhibitor tables at the back of the Jeffery Hall for delegates to visit during breaks and lunchtimes. Planned exhibitors include:

  • Baum Retec AG, Germany
  • Dancing Dots, USA
  • Dr Maria Vraka (a research poster "The concept and development of absolute pitch: Lessons learnt by a visually-impaired musician" that she will be pleased to describe and discuss with visually-impaired delegates), UK
  • Inner Vision Orchestra and Baluji Music Foundation, UK
  • Joey Stuckey, USA
  • Prima Vista Braille Music Services, UK
  • Terry Kelly, Canada

Return to the main conference page

Return to the abstracts and biographies page

Return to the homepage

Logo: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Logo: Royal National Institute of Blind People

Logo: Royal Academy of Music