[Athen] Student who is blind taking music courses- does not know braille

Nast, Joseph M Joseph.M.Nast at lonestar.edu
Thu Jan 5 09:21:54 PST 2017

Many institutions highly recommend Dancing Dots' products (http://www.dancingdots.com/main/index.htm) to help make music instruction accessible to students who are blind or have low vision. Of particular interest might be the CakeTalking add-on that works with JAWS to make the Cakewalk Sonar musician's studio software (http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR/Versions?gclid=CLH1_Ja7q9ECFRCewAodAkcMUw) accessible.

Because a lot of resources for music students who are blind incorporate Music Braille, the student may be limiting themselves by not knowing how to read it. FYI, Dancing Dots and the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired both offer Music Braille training, which may be available online.

- The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians offers a "get started" page that might answer some of your immediate questions:


- The NFB has a very informative white paper with detailed recommendations and resources for music instruction:


- Additionally, the NBP maintains a comprehensive resource web page:


- Valencia Community College has published a great white paper regarding best teaching practices for students who are blind or have low vision. If you keyword search "music" you'll find the section dealing specifically with music instruction:


Regarding your question about textbooks, software is available that will scan and play musical scores, but may be of limited use if the student needs to identify notational elements that can't be perceived by sound alone. Here's a link to one such program:


Hope that helps. Good luck!

Joseph M. Nast<mailto:joseph.m.nast at lonestar.edu>
Assistive Technology Lab Coordinator
office phone: 281.290.3207
office room number: CASA 109f
Lone Star College Cy Fair<http://cyfair.lonestar.edu/>
Counseling, Career, and Disability Services<http://www.lonestar.edu/counseling-services.htm>

The information in this e-mail is legally privileged and confidential information intended to be reviewed by only the individual or organization named above.

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Martin, Susan
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2017 11:37 AM
To: athen-list at mailman13.u.washington.edu
Subject: [Athen] Student who is blind taking music courses- does not know braille

Hello all-
The following question is from Pam LaBella at Northern Essex Community College:

I am looking for suggestions in regards to the best way to accommodate a student. It is an area I have never had to delve into until now.

I am working with a student for the spring 17 semester who is taking 4 music courses. The student is blind, uses JAWS, but does not read Braille.
He has a musical background and plays in a band so he has some good skills and knowledge when it comes to music.

I am not familiar with most of what the syllabi are referring to for software/ equipment to be use.

For his Music Technology: Composition course he needs to create compositions using
GarageBand (I did find a Garageband app available for $4.99 but I am not sure how it works with voice over)
Finale, Syllabus, Muse Score or other music notation software
A composition created in the style of 80s Synth Pop
A composition created using any digital audio workstation format or software the student prefers

For his Audio Recording II course the students are required to assist the instructor in developing, designing and installing a mobile multitrack audio recording studio to run on a MAC computer.
Must use Digidesign 002 audio/digital interface with the recording software ProTools
Align the convertor with an A.R.T. four channel analog pre amplifier as well as the Focusrite AD/DA pre amp
Incorporate the Mackie digital mixer and controller

For Jazz/Rock Ensemble I course
Each meeting will include melodic and rhythmic exercise, sight reading and performance of rehearsed pieces.

For his Applied Music: Guitar course
Some of the course requires him to read, analyze and perform chord comping, melody and improvise jazz standards

The format for the textbooks are also going to be a challenge. I am wondering if anyone out there has converted any of these textbooks into a format for students who are blind to use. Other than Braille. What does one do for a book that is basically music compositions. How does one convert and what is a good format for musical notes, scales, chords etc.?

The textbooks being used are;
'Classical Studies for Electric Guitar' by William Leavitt
'The Real Book' by Hal Leonard
'Modern Method for Guitar Vol 1' by William Leavitt
'The Guitarist's Music Theory Book' by Vogl
'Jazz Theory: From Basic to Advanced Study' by Dariusz Terefenko
'Music Theory for Computer Musicians' by Michael Hewitt
'Inside the Music' by Dave Stewart

I appreciate any help/suggestions

Thank you

Pam LaBella
Assistive Technology/Alternative Text Specialist
The Learning Accommodations Center
Northern Essex Community College
Behrakis One-Stop Student Services Center SC105
100 Elliot Street, Haverhill, MA 01830
Tel# 978-556-3705

Susan J Martin M.Ed - Director

The Learning Accommodations Center
Northern Essex Community College
Behrakis One- Stop Student Services Center SC111B
100 Elliot Street, Haverhill, MA 01830
Tel# 978-556-3647
Email: smartin at necc.mass.edu<mailto:smartin at necc.mass.edu>
Strategic Maximizer Arranger Individualization Relator

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