Section 1: Summer Institute Brochure and Course Description
Summer Braille Music Institute
A Seminar on Braille Music and Technology for School Music Study
The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians
Note: The following are excerpts from the brochure and course description that has been used in past years. We will not be offering a program of this type in the the near future, but we can help you find ways to gain specific skills you want to have under your belt before starting a music theory course. Please contact us.
The Summer Braille Music Institute instructs blind college-bound musicians in Braille music and the skills needed for full participation in music theory classes at the high school and college level. Days are comprised of individual and group instruction in braille music, use of the computer to submit written assignments, and tutoring in theory and related skills. Outdoor events, cookouts, outings, and group music activities meant for fun, make this a full and wholesome event. Interns, along with volunteers and staff from the National Resource Center and school where the program is held assure support for all involved.
Students can expect a morning and afternoon session of braille music, at least one of these being one-on-one with the teacher. The curriculum is customized to the student's level, from just beginning, to those requiring help reading piano or other types of scores. No prior knowledge of the braille music code is required.
Since one of the major requisites for reading music is a good understanding of rhythmic values and intervals, a group class combines fun with braille reading, singing, percussion instruments, and other activities to develop fluency and ear training, as well as discussing strategies for functioning in classes with sighted peers. Other activities include taking down music from dictation and learning how to use the "Dictionary of Braille Music Signs".
Students work with a sighted theory teacher in areas where help is needed. Objectives are set to make sure students understand the "grammar" of music, to insure they have the vocabulary and ability to share and articulate concepts with others. Topics often include scales and intervals, understanding print music concepts, going over the student's fall class syllabus or textbook, and analyzing a chorale from the music in braille.
The goal of the instruction is for students to be able, upon leaving, to produce music assignments in print for submission to teachers. Intensive training is provided in the use of the LIME Music Editor, made accessible through speech and braille with scripts developed by Dancing Dots, as part of its GOODFEEL (R) package. Students have demonstrations of, or try out, other music programs, such as Cakewalk Sonar and Sibelius. Time is also set aside to help students with general computer skills they may find challenging.
Students should consider this program only if they:
§ Are age 16 or older and are taking a high school theory class or lessons emphasizing an academic approach to music, or
§ Will be starting college and taking music courses in the fall, or
§ Are already in college and need help with music study.
Further, students should
§ Understand the need for braille music and have decided for themselves that they want to develop this skill;
§ Have had several years of music lessons and understand the importance of theory;
§ Demonstrate, in their audition, ability to present a polished and pleasing performance;
§ Are fluent readers of contracted English braille;
§ Need to be able to submit written music assignments;
§ Have some computer experience using a Windows operating system and a screen reader;
§ Already have, or demonstrate that they will soon obtain, the music software taught;
§ Demonstrate good independence, self-care, and organizational skills;
§ And are fully committed to spending several hours a day studying the essentials of their craft while displaying social readiness and maturity to be a contributing part of a close-knit group.
In past years, when the program has been one week, the cost for tuition, room and board has been is $1600. A limited number of partial scholarships of up to $750 have been made possible through the contributions of Institute supporters, and awarded based on documentation of income and student need.
Applications are sent only to those who request them after the program is announced and the period for applying has begun. Students are encouraged to request the application themselves, and contact us again to let us know they are applying. This provides them the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment from the very beginning.
The application typically comprises forms to be completed by the student, recommendation forms to be completed by teachers, and requires a short audition recording. Students will in most cases be interviewed by phone after the application is received.
The program only has room for a small number of students. Applicants and parents should note that the small capacity means difficult decisions will need to be made about who can attend. Primary considerations will be the student's immediate need for Braille music and the other skills taught, motivation and social readiness, and our perception of personalities that will match well in working together in a group as intimate as this one will be.
The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians, a division of Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County in Bridgeport, Connecticut, provides information and referral to students, parents, and teachers on braille music, technology, and strategies for including people who are blind or visually impaired in music activities.
National Resource Center for Blind Musicians
391 East Washington Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06608
Phone 203-366-3300, extension 229
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