There is only one international network - now going on its sixth year of service - for blind students and their families, including musicians, educators, transcribers, administrators, and many others in related fields. MENVI Advisors are exclusively blind musicians, teachers, and students who help guide the network, and MENVI Specialists are professionals in their fields who are willing to help when needed.
The MENVI Listserve is a separate and independent free service available as an option for registered members. Many members choose not to use Internet, and do not have email addresses listed. All members will always receive mailed print or braille News Journals and Rosters. MENVI Headquarters recognizes the overwhelming trend toward an Internet-dependent society and its affects on many blind members and their families. Advantages and disadvantages not withstanding, the nearly three-hundred-member roster only contains slightly more than half of members who are on line. Bravo to those who exercise their choices!
On March 9, 2003, MENVI met for its sixth annual meeting and open forum at the 44th annual state conference for California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped - CTEVH - in San Francisco. Many things were discussed on the agenda, among which was the pending launch of our new Website now under construction. Members and non-members can go to view the web site at: www.superior-software.com/menvi to view the progress.
All News Journals will eventually become available there, along with other articles and materials of special interest to music folks with visual impairment of any kind. A number of links are planned to sites of related subjects and interests, and participating specialists will also become linked to the site. Our special thanks to Jared Rimer who is the Webmaster of the site. Jared has volunteered his expertise, and is another fine example of a musically trained blind person who has risen above his disability, and clearly leads a most productive and busy life. On-line help will also become available for those who may need guidance and information in their educational pursuits in such areas as braille music, computer composition, and related course studies. Those working with "An Introduction To Music For The Blind Student," Parts I and II by Richard Taesch, will have on line help and free consulting regarding their work in the course.
MENVI is a wonderful Listserve available by subscription to registered members only. Although not directly affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored by the MENVI Network itself, it is a special service available to members who are on line. MENVI List owner, Jared Rimer, offers the following article regarding the list.
Do you want to join some e-mail lists available to MENVI members? MENVI is in no way affiliated with these lists, but they have become a most valuable communication resource for members. One is a discussion list, the other is an announcement list. Announcements can be items that become posted to the MENVI list from such venues such as Dancing Dots, Opus Technologies, and organizations that might be relevant to braille music, or music in general for blind and visually impaired individuals. Simply send a blank email to the address of the list you want, and follow instructions. If you need help, contact Jared Rimer at: List addresses are:
Kindly remember that these lists are hosted at a domain that is provided for us. MENVI does not have its own domain to host lists. These lists are low volume, so if you don't want the day-to-day discussion that might occur on MENVI Discuss, then the announcement list might be your best choice. ENJOY!
Jared Rimer, MENVI List Owner
Also note, you may also subscribe to the lists by going to our subscriptions page and putting your E-mail address in the appropriate subscription box. Thanks for having an interest in MENVI!
An earlier issue of our journal presented an article on typical problems and solutions regarding college professors and music transcriber communications. A successful workshop at the 2002 CTEVH state conference was then given called Braille Music and the College Educator. Subsequent inquiries regarding that session have resulted in an ongoing discussion in our Music In Education column in the CTEVH journal. We would like to present further discussion for the MENVI membership, as many of our student members who are college-bound may find the information helpful.
Problem: A music class is required and no braille materials are available.
Possible solution: If the professor is willing to organize the specifics of his or her testing criteria and send exam requirements with the student to the private music teacher, outside preparation can be made in advance of the exam date. In one such case, a student in college could have easily avoided failing a theory class had the professor communicated with us and required that the student spend private lesson time on class materials. The tragedy of an unnecessary failure due to a lack of communication can not be tolerated.
*CTEVH Journal, Summer 1999
Unfortunately, many transcribers do not feel that pro-active intervention is their responsibility. Understandably so, as most music transcribers are not educators, and are overwhelmed with assignment requests. Moreover, their sentiments are quite right in theory - this should not be their job. But then who else can better understand the applied needs of a blind student requesting their services? The #602 session addressed the notion that music transcribers might consider themselves as acting braille music educators, as least in some capacity. Why? "Because no one is better qualified!"
Our state CTEVH conference this year was buzzing with many new workshops. In many of them, the severe shortage of textbook transcribers was discussed, and the new trend moving toward more career and professional textbook transcribers was clearly evident. Obviously technology and translation software cannot replace transcribers - only aid them. Moreover, the better technology becomes, more volume is created, and even more professionals are required.
Keeping up with the demands in all codes will become a true challenge for those of us in the braille world. At a wonderful session on career paths for transcribers, recent APH figures pointed out that we are now short about 385 transcribers, and in within ten years - in spite of technology, the figure will soar to over 1,020, and perhaps well beyond! Clearly, if trained transcribers are to invest the time it takes to do the job and still pay their bills, paid careers in the field are essential.
With only 30% of recruiting efforts being successful currently, it is essential that we support college and secondary programs leading to careers in transcribing and technology braille sciences. Apparently, several efforts are under way in Texas, New York, and moving forward in some California community college districts. Literacy is clearly on the march!
The sixth annual MENVI meeting and forum was lightly attended, but lacked no enthusiasm. Among subjects that were discussed was the long-delayed project to create a guidebook for colleges that have proven to be supportive of blind music majors. One interesting discussion that needs to be continued and explored further, was that of whether a college-bound blind individual should consider the reputation of the music program over the specialized services that will be needed. Certainly, seeking the best training possible in music is essential, especially when investing four or five years of one's life, and the substantial cost involved. However, too many sad experiences have shown that even the best schools can fall dramatically short regarding disabilities. No matter how energetic and determined a student may be, the finest music department in the world could prove ineffective, and its reputation totally irrelevant to a blind student's needs. A logical balance is perhaps possible, and there are many fine colleges with outstanding music programs that do indeed support their blind students. Without adequate technological support, and a willingness to communicate with outside specialists, a blind college student is given an otherwise avoidable handicap" and more unnecessary challenges. Students themselves, therefore, must become better informed as to their own needs, and how they can communicate with administration - long BEFORE considering any college music program!
This is a list of Specialists belonging to the MENVI network. To E-mail them, click on the appropriate link. If you have questions, please and tell me who you are trying to contact and what address you are using. Please be specific as this will aid in responding quicker. If you call and get my voice mail, please leave your name, number, who you are trying to contact, and the problem you are having. You will get a call back within 24-48 hours in most cases.
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