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Music Education Network For
The Visually Impaired

A Coalition of Parents, Educators, and Students

Southern California Conservatory of Music, MENVI Headquarters
8711 Sunland Blvd, Sun Valley, CA 91352
Phone: (818) 767-6554; E-mail: taeschr@ix.netcom.com
Newsletter, Fall/Winter Quarter 1997 Issue No. 3

MENVI


MENVI To Convene At CTEVH Conference!

MENVI Membership Meeting

A special meeting for members and advisors is planned for Saturday, March 28 at the 1998 CTEVH Conference in Los Angeles (March 26-28, 1998). Watch for your conference bulletin regarding details. For those who are not members of CTEVH (California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped), you can contact MENVI headquarters at SCCM for information. Or you may contact Braille Institute in Los Angeles to join CTEVH. Those interested in the activities and purpose of MENVI are also welcome.

What Have We Accomplished?

The most exciting accomplishment in our new organization is that of successfully bringing folks together. The membership list provided to members last quarter gave a number of people with special needs the means to communicate. The roster provides names, titles, and areas of expertise in the field. Members are encouraged to communicate with each other regarding their special interests and needs. A blind singer attending graduate school in Michigan was able to connect with Maureen Young, our Vocal Advisor. She politely wrote to Maureen in braille asking permission to contact her with questions. The connection was made, and the network grew a little stronger. Other advisors have been consulted, and member to member contact is becoming more frequent.

MENVI membership continues to grow weekly, and our current roster now holds well over fifty registered members. Please add the following new names to the list we provided last quarter. Also, make a note of changes shown below.

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!

  1. Kim Brown - VI Teacher; 424 So. 7th St.; Wapello, IA 52653; (319) 523-8209
  2. Dr. D. Gause-Snelson - Music Coordinator, J-I-A - Community College of So. Nevada; 3200 E. Cheyenne, No. Las Vegas, NV 89030; (702) 651-4118;
  3. John Heine - Music Therapist, The Missouri School for The Blind; 3815 Magnolia Ave., St. Louis, MO63144; (314) 776-3420 X368; moblind@stlnet.com (webmaster note E-mail address no longer on current roster to date please look at the main page under Specialists to contact John)
  4. Louise Johnson - Teacher, Utah School for The Deaf and Blind; 560 West 800 North, Pleasant Grove, Utah 84062; (801) 785-2809
  5. Shelly Jones - Voice, Piano; 2038 Palm St. Space 229 Las Vegas, NV 89104; (702) 457-4678 (webmaster note address in current roster is different than one shown. If you don't have a roster and am not a member please Click here to fill out an application.
  6. Mary Smaligo - Parent, Organist/Choir Dir.; Teacher - piano, organ, voice

Please note the following address change:

  1. Richard Dortch - 12 W. La Canoa, Green Valley, AZ 85614; (520) 648-2446 (webmaster note address has since changed)

Also, please add the following titles for Advisor,

  1. Sandra Kelly: Teacher of piano; Music Technical Committee, BANA

Member News

We are proud to announce that Bettye Krolick has been chosen to receive the 1997 Migel Award volunteer category). The award is presented by the American Foundation for the Blind, and will take place in New York City on November 7, 1997. Bettye is Chair of the Music Technical Committee, BANA, and is a past President of the National Braille Association. She is known the world over as a specialist in the field of braille music.

Thanks to those who contributed the fine articles to our last newsletter. The response from members was quite encouraging. If you plan to send a submission for publication, please note the following issue deadlines:

Teaching For Tomorrow

We have learned much about academic development through the teaching of music. At the SCCM Braille Music Division, we have seen youngsters begin new lives in the world of literary braille by means of their own natural musical gifts. We must, however, continue to look well beyond the obvious advantages of providing music to our children, and beyond merely providing the opportunity to play a musical instrument.

Whether a youngster will plan for music studies in college, or simply to play a band instrument in middle or high school, we have a serious obligation to see that proper groundwork is done at the earliest levels. Care must be taken to see that music fundamentals are established as real academic skills that can be built upon by future teachers. There is perhaps no subject more difficult to re-teach than music. It is for this reason that music classes are the one subject area that most universities and conservatories will not allow direct transfer credits. Students normally must either test out of a subject, or re-take it. In music, unlike other academic subjects, one must be able to clearly demonstrate skills required you simply can't "fake" it! The SCCM Braille Music Division has the opportunity of advising and serving the music transcription needs of at least 8 middle schools and several universities. It is from this vantage point that we are able to observe the weaknesses in braille music disciplines. Schools are becoming aware that blind students can use written music just as sighted students, and are requiring these skills at an accelerating rate. They are no longer forced to treat VH students musically different, other than procuring the specialized media required. We must, therefore, insist on requiring and providing specific approaches and good pedagogy for the youngest of children.

The educational consequences of weak fundamentals for a musical child can be just as devastating as the inability to read or write. PARENTS AND MUSIC TEACHERS, IT'S UP TO YOU!! We have provided a short strategy list of musical priorities that can be taught to children at very early levels. Parents can handle many of these items themselves without actually being music teachers or even musically trained. As far as teachers are concerned, you are the professionals. Do not shortchange your students musically. Do not make the mistake of assuming that sight singing and interval recognition is only for college students.

The following list of skills is highly recommended as an essential "gateway," to all music AND braille music skills.

BASIC EAR TRAINING
  1. Scale structure: SING, do re mi fa sol la ti do AND scale numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8.
  2. Recognize varied scale steps when played on piano. (Parents can easily learn where middle C is located, and drill step recognition daily).
  3. Recognize "intervals," i.e. the numbers of scale steps between different notes in the C scale, using middle C as "home-base."
  4. Sing back small groups of notes when played on the piano.
  5. Understand and recognize the different sound of major and minor chords (Sunny? Cloudy?)
  6. Play little note groups making a game out of recognizing when home-base or middle C is played
  7. Play short melodies of 2-4 (or more) notes, and ask the student to write the scale numbers they hear on a braille writer (melodic dictation).
PREPARATORY THEORY AND RHYTHM
  1. Teach simple alphabetical principles by asking students to recite the scale from various points in the musical alphabet, i.e. a b c d e f g a; b c d e f g a b; c d e f g a bc, etc.
  2. Clap and play simple rhythmic patterns, asking students to clap them back.
  3. CALL US! ASK QUESTIONS! BE CREATIVE!

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