Our first meeting was Saturday, March 28 1998. This was our first annual membership meeting at the California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH) Conference held in Los Angeles March 25-28. MENVI is now officially one year old. Of the many issues discussed, one of the highlights was a planned MENVI handbook that will be a compilation of actual experiences of problems and solutions encountered by our blind members and their families and teachers. Many of the articles presented in our newsletters would be appropriate for such a handbook. Those present were asked if they would be willing to contribute to the project. All were favorable to the idea. Richard Taesch felt that the contributions must be actual situations, and not only philosophies or advice. All felt that there was definitely no shortage of real-life problems and solutions to offer. It was decided that our planned development of a braille music data-base would be temporarily put on hold pending a Netherlands-based project of a similar nature. We will await their progress and perhaps join them in contributing our resources to a larger project.
Regarding MENVI's purposes and goals, it was clarified that our primary function is that of an international registry of blind students, parents, and teachers. All present felt satisfied with MENVI's performance as such, and felt that networking and communication between registered members has been quite successful.
We have purposely produced a one-print page newsletter this quarter in order to make room for our new membership roster. The new roster is published yearly, and has grown considerably. Please keep us up to date with your current information. Rosters are only available to registered members due to the fact that they include personal information such as telephone numbers. MENVI is a communication network, and one of the understandings in our information letter to new members is that we have your permission to include you in our roster.
We are very pleased to announce the addition of Bill McCann, President of Dancing Dots Technology, as our newest Advisor. As you know, Mr. McCann's company is the producer and developer of one of the first successful braille music translation software programs. You may visit their web-site at: http://www.netaxs.com/~ddots. E-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 610-352-7607. Mr. McCann was a panelist at Richard Taesch's workshop, "Teaching Music Braille: The Structuring of Early Curriculum for Blind Music Students" at the CTEVH Conference.
Those who attended our CTEVH conference were able to see a fine performance by our Vocal Advisor, Maureen Young. She sang a lovely program at the Awards Luncheon accompanied by one of L.A.'s busiest accompanists, Mr. Paul Switzler. If you would like to hear Maureen for yourself, there is a professional tape available for ten dollars. The recording includes musical styles ranging from Bach to Bachelet. She is accompanied by Mr. Dimitriy Cogan. You may contact Maureen directly for ordering information.
Our new member, Kimberly Morrow, is a student at the University of Kansas. She is earning her doctorate in the field of educational policy and leadership. Her dissertation will focus on the topic of second language acquisition by individuals studying on the high school and college level who are blind and visually impaired. In December of last year, Kimberly wrote these most encouraging words as a part of her message to the on-line subscribers of "Braillem."
"So far as music is concerned: Well, music has never been more than a hobby for me, albeit an avid one. I am totally blind, and began learning to play the piano by ear (the Suzuki method) when I was nine years old. At age 13, I had my first encounter with braille music (and lessons with a braille music teacher). I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn braille music, because, while I never became what I would term absolutely 100 percent proficient in applying what I read in a score down to the last detail, I CAN now grasp theoretical concepts that I would have had absolutely no access to without a working knowledge of music braille. Also, if a piece of music is transcribed into braille for me, I can learn every detail of the piece as the composer wrote it something that is very important to me."
BANA (Braille Authority of North America) has announced several new changes in the braille Music Code. For details, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Bettye Krolick requesting her CTEVH 1998 workshop handout.
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