This list provides links and contact information for the organizations and services which have been found useful when people of any age are working on their musical development. We have divided it up into several categories, which thos using screen readers can find by searching for headings, or moving to items at the same level by using the heading level number, mostly levels 2 and 3.
In the following list, Several organizations will be mentioned more than once, due to the wide variety of services they offer. We have put an asterisk (*) before items we know have been repeated.
The sponsors of this web site have asked us to emphasize that this is not meant to be solely "self-service." If you cannot find what you are looking for, or would like to talk with someone who knows about your particular interest, please feel free to contact us-Phone 203 366-3300, firstname.lastname@example.org We may not know the answers ourselves, but will try or best to connect you with someone who does.
Our thanks to all of those we have consulted, listserv members, and the authors of the Resources pages of the Dancing Dots and NFB braille.org web site, which provided many ideas. We welcome yours.
Main home page for NLS, from which you can use the online catalog:
For the web page of the Music Section itself:
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides braille and recorded books on loan through a national network of cooperating libraries. Materials are made available only to U.S. citizens within the country and citizens living abroad, who meet NLS eligibility requirements. The music section is the country's Largest source of braille, Large print and recorded scores and instructional materials. Library patrons wishing to order music must register with the Music Section at the Library of congress itself and order directly from there. Registration forms are available from cooperating network libraries, or you may call the Music section at the toll-free number for NLS, 800 424-8567. Several thousand of its music holdings are now available for download through the NLS BARD site, for patrons registrered for the service. Braille readers must have access to an embosser or braille-aware device, such as a braille display or notetaker. Those interested in signing up for BARD should contact their cooperating network library.
One of the easiest ways to locate music is to use the catalog. From the main NLS home page, search for the link, "Quick Search for the Online Catalog. you can bookmark that page for future reference.
Additional Contact Information for Library of Congress:Music Section
Louis catalog: http//:www.aph.org/louis.htm
Go directly to the online store: http://shop.aph.org
APH transcribes music primarily on contract, but several scores and lesson books are available for purchase. One of the most popular is the Primer of Braille Music by Jenkins. APH also produces the music transcribing manuals and official braille bcodes for the Braille Authority of North America. APH houses a Union Catalog called Louis, listing books transcribed by agencies around the country, and this should be consulted in any search for music.
Additional Contact Information for APH:
P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
This web site of certified transcriber Tina Davidson offers resources for fellow
and blind guitarists who read braille music or who would like to learn braille music!
Topics include classical guitar music, guitar chords & strumming,
and voice & guitar arrangements, public domain music which may be freely downloaded or distributed.
The following lists may be helpful if you are looking for someone to transcribe music. Finding a transcriber is still mvery often a matter of "shopping", calling ones that seem likely, finding out whether they can handle the particular type of work you need done, whether they have time for an additional assignment and how much time it would take to complete, , and a price quote. Often material can be mailed or faxed to a transcriber, with the transcriber either mailing hardcopy or the file in a format, such as .brf, that can be embossed at school or at home.
Go to the Music Section's home page link and search for Circular 4, Braille Music Transcribers, available in HTML and braille formats.
The NBA works directly with music transcribers, provides support and workshops, and may be able to connect you with someone.
Additional Contact Information for National Braille Association:95 Allens Creek Road
Additional Contact Information for National Braille Press:<88 Saint Stephen Street
Among its many products and services, Dancing Dots will transcribe music using its GOODFEEL Braille Music Translator.
Additional Contact Information for Dancing Dots:1754 Quarry Lane
Additional Contact Information for Alternate Text Production Center:71-A Day Road
From existing print or electronic documents, the ATPC creates alternate media products for use by California Community College students with print-related disabilities.
A concise pamphlet from which hundreds of students have learned. It has good exercises, but needs the aid of a knowledgeable teacher to explain the braille and music concepts.
Also available from
National Braille Press
Very good and concise explanations, written at a fifth grade vocabulary level, of how the braille music code works, as it would be used especially by students in elementary school. Must be supplemented with exercises or actual music, such as band material, since the book does not contain exercises.
Additional Contact Information for Opus Technologies
13333 Thunderhead Street
San Diego, CA 92129-2329
Toll-free Phone: (866) OPUSTEC or (866) 678-7832
Phone: (858) 538-9401
Fax: (858) 538-9401
This is for use by people who already know the music code. It provides definitions and instances in the many ways the signs may be used.
From the Braillem web site:
Charts in braille and .pdf formats compiled by Jennifer Dunnam at the National
Federation of the Blind's braille.org site:
From the link below, search for "Braille Literacy Resources" and then "music."
Also available from Dancing Dots
This is a set of braille music symbols on Lego® style blocks, that may be fitted onto a board. Note that this learning aid costs $695.
This is another area in which the prospective student will need to shop for a program customized to individual needs. Some possibilities are
Braille Music Reading is an introduction to the code for students who are fluent readers of literarybraille. foundations and gives students the ability to read basic music. It is meant for adults or those of high school or college age, no younger than fourteen. Additional modules are available for reading music for voice or piano.
Braille Music Basics is a short course in large print addressed to teachers and those seeking background on how the music code works, issues involved in teaching and learning, and what's involved in becoming a transcriber. It is not a music transcribing course.
Additional Contact Information:
Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired
700 Elm Street
Winnetka, IL 60093
With a web site and listserv for those who sign up for free membership, MENVI does not itself offer distance learning but its members are happy to answer questions from teachers, parents and stduents and provide suggestions and support for getting the learning process started.
Has enlarged music in its collection and can produce music to order.
Has books on all aspects of music, including music history and theory, useful for all students, including braille readers, when braille is not available.
Additional Contact Information for Learning Alley:20 Roszel Road
No-CNotes, based in Duluth, Minnesota, converts Printed music scores into audio described format with music available in MP3 download. produced in Duluth, Minnesota.
Phone (218) 595-0762
The Low Vision page on this web siteprovides a good place to start. Check this Resource List page for sources of large print music.
The vendors below provide aids or support and transcription services useful to musicians with low vision.
This is the textbook for the Library of Congress' music braille transcription
Print and braille editions available for download from the Music Section, hardcopies may be purchased from the American Printing House
And Opus Technologies.
Supports braille transcribers through a committee of experts, publications and articles about braille music, and workshops at national development conferences.
Additional Contact Information for National Braille Association:95 Allens Creek Road
We no longer hold the Institute but stand ready to help with questions relating to preparing for music study in college, or locating music in special formats. We can usually connect people with teachers or others who can share their experience.
This program for musicians ages 14-24 is directed by Bill McCann and a team of teachers and musicians. The 2016 program takes place August 1-10, ten days of applying music literacy and performance skills designed for musicians who are blind or have low vision. The students will spend the first seven days at the Enchanted Hilles camp in the mountains just west of Nappa, California, and the final three at the new headquarters of the Sanfransisco Lighthouse. The first week will include opportunities to read, write, record and perform music, Learn to produce scores in braille music, magnified or standard print notation, create multi-track audio productions Sing in the EHC Summer Music Academy chorus, and sing or play solo or in a small group in performances at camp and in the community. There will be time to swim, hike, and hang out with others who are serious about their musicm too. During the final three days in San Francisco they will attend concerts and guest lecture presentations. See the link above, under the heading "Music Academy: August 1-10, 2016", for additional information, videos from previous years, and an application.
Approved by the state of Illinois as a vocational training school, the program provides blind and visually impaired adults solid foundations in sound engineering, to prepare for advanced training to become music producers, engineers, and DJ’s. The curriculum of training modules is offered during over seven-week periods several times a year. training uses state-of-the=-art equipment for the Macintosh platform. I See Music has studio space and equipment for rent and works with organizations nationally to promote training for blind people in the growing field of sound editing.
Contact Byron Harden, Founder & Managing Partner
I See Music, LLC
605 Reed Street
P.O. Box 219
Beecher, IL 60401
A music school with a full curriculum for people of all ages, teaches braille
music and the use of technology.
Dedicated to helping those who are visually impaired pursue their interest in, and study of, music while overcoming the challenges posed by vision loss.
Students include children and young people enrolled in public and private schools, colleges and universities, professional musicians -- and anyone interested
in enrichment through lifelong musical learning. It serves as a resource to music educators and performers
nationwide, and reaches out to potential students in New York as the leading provider of accessible music instruction.
Additional Contact Information for the Filomen M D'Agostino Greenberg Music School111 East 59th Street
This site has resources, tips, videos, and suggestions for preparation, based on extensive research confirmed by students making their way through higher education. The program can link a student with a mentor who can provide support and ideas on handling situations that come up while in high school through the college years.
Addresses visually impaired students' most common concerns, including how to take advantage of school resources and legal rights as a student with a disability, suggested assistive technology, and has a hand-selected list of scholarships available only to blind and visually impaired students.
Information for professors, administrators and others on methods of assuring course materials are accessible to students with all diabilities. Webinars both free and to members only feature speakers who present on on timely access topics, suc as how to make .pdf and PowerPoint files accessible.
Information, resources, employment listings, guides, and mentoring for people of all ages, from the young person beginning to think about jobs or college to older adults updating their job-seeking skills for a new job.
Nonprofit organization with an online index and well-written information to help users find colleges and trade schools; includes discussions of different types of degrees and on-campus and online learning programs, and sources of scholarships.
Lesson Tapes, CD's, and downloads for purchase for Learning Guitar, piano, and Other Instruments. Many of Mr. Brown's courses are available from the NLS Music Section, http://www.loc.gov/nls/music/ and may be downloaded by registered borrowers from the NLS BARD site.
http://www.standardguitar.com/accessible. A work in progress by its developer Ben Steinbuhler, This special outgrowth of the Standard Guitar web site provides verbal descriptions of fingering, with string and fret numbers for thousands of guitar chords and scales for every key and mode. Users may hear audio using all Java-equipped browsers except Internet Explorer.
Recorded Instructional materials and courses for a variety of instruments and at all levels are available from the NLS Music Section, http://www.loc.gov/nls/music/ Music Section
This IPA Braille web site, and the work behind it, was undertaken by Dr. Robert Englebretson of Rice University, in conjunction with the International Council on English Braille. There is a braille IPA code, recognized by the Braille Authority of North America. If the phonetic symbols are written in Unicode, the Dusbury Braille Translator (starting with version 11.1) can translate the Unicode into the equivalent braille symbols. The site contains links to the IPA Braille Code, JAWS scripts that allow for the unicode symbols to be spoken, and fonts and software tools that allow a student to enter IPA for submission in print. One of these tools configures a computer keyboard for entering phonetic characters. An article and links explain various ways phonetic symbols can be entered.
An international coalition of parents, educators and students. This is a membership organization, though its web site is available to all. Those who become members (membership is free) have access to each other through a roster, and can also get in touch with experts in a variety of different music issues for blind people. its listserv allows musicians and others to share information and their experience on such topics as getting through school, performance, and learning braille music. The web site includes articles and other useful tips.
BrailleM is a place for discussing and learning about all aspects of braille
music code. The list is designed to help beginners in Braille music and give
them a place where they can ask questions of more experienced braille music users. The list will also be useful to more experienced users, who can discuss about more difficult passages and formats. The list also covers any and all subjects related to braille music, such as where to find teaching materials, where to order braille music material, how to transcribe music into braille music code, and so on. Directions for subscribing to the list are provided on the home page.
A national organization for Blind, Visually Impaired, and Deaf-Blind artists,
musicians and writers, sculptors, painters, raconteurs,
dancers, actors, musicians, and art enthusiasts."An affiliate of the American council of the Blind.
A listserv of blind musicians sharing their experience and supporting each other
in the use and access to electronic music devices. interested
The web site, still under construction, has instructions for subscribing to the list.
Resource for educators, support, publications and conferences
Additional contact Information for AER1703 N. Beauregard Street, Suite 440
The extensive web site has many areas for exploration, including Career Connect, AccessWorld, information for families and elders, and directories of agencies and services.
Additional Contact Information for BlindskillsBlindskills, Inc.
Administrators of the schools communicate with each other through this organization and web site. Contains a directory of schools.
The following entries represent either resources that students and educators would want to check at the very start of their quest, or the less obvious ones that we often find ourselves directing people to when they call us. We caution those doing independent searches to remember that many of the most attractive offerings may not be practical or accessible without vision. Do not try to reinvent the wheel. It is often best to seek advice from those who are cognizant of the issues or have direct experience in the field, including vendors of specialized music technology. Our experience is that their suggestions will be honest, even among vendors of competing products--all have the interests of musicians and students at heart.
GOODFEEL suite of products for translating music into braille, with components
to be used by blind and sighted people in a variety of situations: Sharp-Eye,
Lime, and the GOODFEEL Braille Music Translator convert print music into braille;
Lime with the Lime Aloud scripts allow a blind student to enter print notation
for theory and composition, for reading by teachers and colleagues. A new reading system magnifies music on a screen for low-vision readers.
Cakewalk Sonar is used by professional musicians and people of all ages to make professional quality recordings. Dancing dots is a source for all necessary aspects of a a music system, from sound cards and keyboards to embossers and braille devices. Also braille music courses and training materials as listed above.
Additional Contact Information for Dancing Dots1754 Quarry Lane
Opusdots Lite, a simple translation program for single-part music, and Toccata, a full braille music translation system.
Additional Contact Information for Opus Technologies13333 Thunderhead Street
A plug-in for Finale for Windows that allows the creation of Braille music scores
free download from
http://andrelouis.com/qws/ This software allows for multi-track recording using a MIDI keyboard and/or sound card and maybe be installed easily. It has many of the features of professional sequencing software and requires no screen reader scripts. It cannot record audio. cIt can be a solution for a student or musician who wants something comparatively simple. A good support list is available from the web site.
Demo and low-cost versions from (http://www.reaper.fm). JAWS scripts called Reaacess at http:www.reaccess.com.
Free download from http://www.audacity.sourceforge.net/Scripts for JAWS are available at
Scripts for JAWS are available at
CAVI's Wiki site.
Contact Byron Harden, Founder & Managing Partner
I See Music, LLC
(Sibelius is up to at least version 7. The latest scripts for JAWS work with Sibelius 5.
Work is underway to make Sibelius 7 accessible with NVDA.)
Blog and resources maintained by Marc Sabatella, covering developments in access to MuseScore and other projects and ideas for music notation tools specifically designed for the blind and visually impaired.
Project of a European partnership to work with braille music scores. It gives readers study music more efficiently by having the ability to choose which details of a score they need at a given time. The utility is free for download.
Mario Langs Freedots project translates print music in MusicXML into braille. The software can be used from the Web. Another project, the Braille Music Compiler is underway to make it possible to input and edit braille music and have it translated into print. A live video of its potential may be found on Youtube.
Professor Toby Rush of the University of Dayton developed this solution to produce braille music for blind students. Rather than translating music into braille, the process is done by entering the braille directly using a choice of keyboard templates that display the palette of music symbols for the teacher to input.
A notation editor for the iPad (not iPhone) which has given attention to being accessible using Voiceover.
If you are in search of a metronome or instrument tuner, your best resource will be the listservs for blind musicians. Whether you are looking for units that fit in a pocket, computer software, or cell phone apps, changes occur rapidly, with models that were inaccessible becoming more so, or vice versa. There used to be a distinct difference between a metronome and tuner, but now the products called by either name may have features of both, possibly being better at one task than another. We will provide some tips about metronomes and tuners and then list some of the ones we have heard about recently from listserv participants. We have not tested any of these ourselves.
With pocket metronomes, access may not be an issue if you are looking for something to hear a regular two-beat rhythm and don't have to be exact about speed. If you do need to get the tempo at a consistent number every time, access may be more of a challenge. Models that have a single up/down button which one holds until the correct number comes up can be frustrating. (The metronome feature on electronic keyboards usually work this way.) Many users prefer units with a dial that has detents or clicks at two-beat intervals. A pointer can be marked to allow setting close to the desired tempo. A listserv member mentioned one model made by Wiltner, which features a switch to turn it into a chromatic tuner, adjusted by the same dial. By knowing the pitch on the tuner that corresponds to the tempo, one can find that pitch and switch back to the metronome. It is best to try out units at a music store. If portability is not a priority, many people still use the old wind-up clock-style units, or the electric ones with a pointer hand. It is fairly easy to put tactile marks at specific places.
If the rythms you work with are more complicated, you might consider software that will run on a laptop. >
Cell phone apps have different degrees of accessibility. An additional issue is that some may not produce enough volume.
Regarding tuners, I can't refrain from saying that in the good old days, we tuned our instruments to a piano, tuning fork, or pitch pipe. We can still use these options. Most of the tuners mentioned below are meant for guitars.We start with cell phone apps, then computer software, and stand-alone devices.
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