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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:
Newsletter, Summer Quarter 1998 Issue No. 6


MENVI Redefines Goals and Purpose

MENVI - An International Registry

MENVI celebrated its first birthday at the first annual membership meeting at the CTEVH state conference last March 28. Since that time, membership has grown worldwide in excess of one-hundred administrators, students, parents, and teachers. It has become clear to us that MENVI, in itself, cannot function effectively as a resource for music education for blind students without the availability of recognized specialists in distinct musical fields. The purpose of the network must be re-defined as an International Registry and coalition of parents, educators, and students. We know of no other such registry where so many people with a common need and interest in braille music come together in one place. Only about one-third of our members worldwide are on-line with Internet communication capabilities. The rest depend solely on mail communication and old-fashioned networking with others through their membership and registry in our Membership Roster which is published yearly. It has become clear that we must recruit internationally recognized specialists in the braille music field to be listed in one place, and to be accessible for questions from members and for problem solving when needed. The existing MENVI Advisory Committee is a good cross-section of experienced members at large. Not all of our Advisors, however, are "Specialists," and cannot be expected to carry the burden of certain expertise which is so crucial to those in need of direction and guidance. Our MENVI Advisory Committee will always be composed of only blind musicians and students.

Even with the many wonderful organizations available to help with the needs of the visually impaired, we continually find so many involved in music with questions, resource needs, and lack of guidance. Although MENVI has seemed to give many a feeling of unity and some comradery, it must move forward to provide a better means of accessing those who are recognized as specialists and are willing to be available. MENVI should not become an additional organization, but it can serve as a means to gather and make known the music specialists of other organizations serving the blind. A Music Specialists Committee for MENVI is in the planning. Recognized specialists, sighted and blind, will soon be contacted and asked to be listed and available as an information service for all blind musicians. More news later.

New Projects

Music Education Network for The Visually Impaired is beginning research for a special list of higher education schools that can be recommended for blind music majors. The list will include colleges, universities, conservatories, and music vocational schools whose music departments and D.S.S. offices are experienced in, and are equipped to serve the needs of blind music majors. The departments must be aware of outside braille music specialists, and willing to seek their guidance when needed. The support of braille music literacy is ESSENTIAL for schools to be included in this list. If you have such information, please send it on to us. If you happen to know of a contact person, we would be most grateful for names and phone numbers.

News From Members

Special Concert Planned

MENVI Advisor, Stephanie Pieck will perform in concert at Southern California Conservatory Of Music on Saturday, November 14, 1998 - 7 P.M. The Concert will be held at SCCM'S La Canada Campus, 245 Berkshire Avenue in La Canada near Pasadena, California. There is no charge for admission. Miss Pieck is a very successful blind teacher and performer located in New York. She often carries a roster of 45 to 60 students weekly at The Music Suite, of which she is founder, and presently its director.

John di Francesco Braille Library

There are few in the field of music services for the blind who have not heard of John di Francesco. His contributions to music and to blind musicians are enormous, to say the least. Prior to retirement, John was not only a professional singer and teacher, but a renowned blind conductor as well. Southern California Conservatory of Music, Braille Music Division, is very honored and grateful to be the recipient of much of his extensive braille music library. The John di Francesco Library will be housed at the new SCCM Braille headquarters in La Canada. Mr. di Francesco is retired in California. He remains a Library of Congress Proof-reader and serves as an Advisor to MENVI.

Programs and Classes

The Saturday Music Camp at SCCM has been temporarily postponed to the Fall Quarter. SCCM Braille Music Division will announce a new date soon. They have asked that anyone interested in attending the Music Camp MUST PRE-REGISTER for each Saturday they wish to attend. Registrations must be posted at least one week in advance of a scheduled event.

Mr. David Pinto is planning a class in midi composition for blind students at SCCM in September. There is no pre-requisite, and applicants need not have knowledge of braille music to attend. Special flyers will be sent out regarding details.

Wish List

Anyone looking to donate a PC-compatible overhead projector??? SCCM Braille Music Division is in need of such an item for the planned midi composition class in Fall Quarter.

"How To Read Braille Music, Second Edition"

Opus Technologies is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of a new edition of "How to Read Braille Music" by Bettye Krolick, available in print, braille, and CD-ROM. In the new edition, the self-help teaching materials have been expanded with the addition of a section for guitar chords. All of the vocal examples have been updated to reflect the latest changes in the braille music code. The material on "Resources" is completely new, and "Tips for Sighted Music Teachers" has been added. Opus Technologies also distributes the "New International Manual of Braille Music Notation" in print, braille, and on CD-ROM. You may contact Opus at (619) 538-9401. E-mail is:

Speaking of Music Code Changes

Braille music readers may have begun to notice some changes in transcriptions done for them recently. Following is a summary of these changes as published in the Summer issue of the CTEVH Journal:

  1. All title pages for music must be written in uncontracted braille. Librarians around the world pressed for this rule to apply to every language. Cataloguing music with contractions in different languages is a nightmare! This applies only to the actual title page.
  2. Song texts must be written in uncontracted braille, but when a grade 2 transcriptions of the words is requested, the transcriber should provide a separate sheet with the text in grade 2 braille. The international request was that ALL text to music should be written in grade 1. Deciding whether "text" applies to books about music, extensive written material accompanying music, school music books that are largely text, etc. proved to be a formidable task. Therefore, the decision was made to limit uncontracted text to song texts (with some exceptions) and to the directions, indications of tempo or mood, and to the transcriber notes for these songs.
  3. The "word sign" (dots 3-4-5) should be used for words as well as abbreviations. Instead of parentheses around words, readers will see word signs. The impetus for this rule was the fact that music text often had parentheses in braille when there were no parentheses in the print copies. This rule will eliminate an annoying problem for blind teachers or college students working with sighted students or classmates. If parentheses do appear in print, the parentheses, as well as the text will be surrounded by word signs.
  4. Any added rest, accidental or other feature that was added to the braille must be preceded by a dot 5. There are excellent reasons why features are added to braille music, but, again, readers sometimes need to know whether or not the character is actually part of the print music. Music will still be transcribed as "non-facsimile" (not every single detail of the print layout will be explained to readers unless they request "facsimile" transcription), but dot 5 for all added signs is now a part of "non-facsimile" transcription.

A workshop packet with further information and with some examples of these changes is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed business envelope to Bettye Krolick, 724 Powderhorn Dr., Fort Collins, CO 80526.


  1. Sarah Jane Blake - Teacher/Parent, Pasadena, Tx
  2. Rick Coates - Mus Teacher - Gov. Morehead School, Raleigh, NC
  3. Kevin and Susan Clark -Parents; Natalie - student, Wichita, KS
  4. Steve Elmore - Piano Teacher (Senseney Music Inc.) Wichita, KS
  5. Cindy Fenn - Piano Teacher, San Bernardino, CA
  6. Dan and Jeanie Flowers - Parents; Rachel - student, Spring Valley, CA
  7. Robyn and John Herrera III - Parents; John IV, student, Hac. Heights, CA
  8. Bill Huerta - VI Resource Assist., Metropolitan. Skills Ctr, L..A., CA
  9. Shirley Otterman - Music Braillist, Ontario, Canada
  10. Kathy Reissen - Brl Transcriber, Townsend Sch. For Vision Impaired Children, Aberfoyle Park, South Australia
  11. Craig Russell - Mus Teacher, Washington. State School For the Blind, Vancouver, WA
  12. Lawrence R. Smith - Chair, Music Braille Committee, National Braille Assn., Kalamazoo, MI

NOTE: Addresses/phone/e-mail are available only to members, and will be printed in the next membership roster. Call MENVI Headquarters if you would like to reach new members not on the current roster.


  1. Glaeser, Margaret - new area code: 530
  2. Hamilton, Carol - e-mail:
  3. Heine, John - e-mail:
  4. Patel, Soniya - e-mail:
  5. Young, Maureen Carole - e-mail:
  6. Zagoria, Cheryl - note spelling of last name

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