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Music Education Network
for The Visually Impaired

An International Coalition of Parents, Educators, and Students

- MENVI Headquarters -
Southern Calif. Conservatory of Music - 8230 Fallbrook Avenue, West Hills, CA 91304
Phone: (818) 704-3819; E-mail:

News Journal - Winter / Spring 2008 Issue No. 27

In this issue:
  1. CTEVH Conference Report Special People
  2. Training for Music Braille Educators
  3. more


Issue 12 of the MENVI Membership Roster is now available. Please see the short article by our webmaster regarding online subscriptions and downloading. Our Network has grown to over 500 members, and a braille version of the roster is available by special request. Unfortunately, the format is raw translation, but most readers use the online textfiles. The print copies will be sent to our print readers, and three different formats are available for online subscribers to download.


Our 49th annual CTEVH conference workshop was titled, Music Education, Networking, and Visually Impaired Students. The workshop was partially described as: "... if you are planning to teach English, English and literature must be a part of your music education degree; if you plan to teach music, you must major in music. What then is the credential to teach music braille? Surprise: There is none! Why is that? What do we do about it, and what are your thoughts?

Since 2003, The Library of Congress has certified over 25 new music transcribers, perhaps more than ever in the history of the NLS program! Why then are educators of music braille not afforded the same motivation, and held to similar standards? These were some of the questions that were tackled in the session. Everyone in attendance agreed that a standard of training for educators of music braille is imperative, and long overdue. The question was asked: "... is the demand or "need" still not enough to interest any curriculum review committee to at least consider a basic orientation specifically for those who may teach this important skill - a skill needed by blind music teachers who may face obsolescence without it? Or those who will have to scrape for itinerant work, while relying on Access Paratransit to get to dozens of different schools weekly?"

Many exciting subjects were reviewed. Among them were: Teaching Methods, Instructional Materials, Certification, and Networking. It is our hope that we will soon see an interest in training for teachers just as for transcribers.

Other good news to report is that of an announcement for an online course in music braille for educators now offered by the University of Massachusetts at Boston. The site can be found at:


A wonderful news video and interview with Andrew Luk, a blind swimmer, received much attention recently. Andrew came to us at SCCM Braille Music Division when he was only six years old, not long after being diagnosed with a brain tumor which left him blind. Since that time, he as become a fluent music braille reader, and performer of very complex piano repertoire - all learned from music braille scores. He can sight sing in solfege on a graduate school level, and we are most proud of him. One year, in the then-titled "Royal Conservatory of Music" examination program, he earned the highest grade for his practical exam over all of Southern California applicants - he was the only blind student, and the exam included SIGHT READING! He tells his own story on the video. We thought you would enjoy knowing what is possible, and perhaps wonder with us what music might have had to do with it. By the way, his family found us at the first annual meeting for the MENVI Network at a state conference over ten years ago!


Following is an item that has appeared in many places, and for our members who have not seen it, we will share it with you now:

Saturday evening [October 27, 07], Grant Horrocks and I were honored to be invited guests of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Trumpet Competition. This was an intimate dinner gathering, and part of an all- weekend event and special Tribute to Herbie Hancock.

Our reason for being there was their featured artist, our own Rachel Flowers. Her proud mother and father watched as Rachel shared her incredible gift, and very deep understanding of the meaning of jazz, with such icons as Quincy Jones (Host), Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk Junior, Herb Alpert, Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Hugh Masekela, Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry, and so many others.

Many great personalities were present, not to mention our generous financial supporters, Lou and Kelly Gonda. Refreshingly, Rachel was clearly accepted as a fine young artist. Rachel is blind from birth - it is part of who she is. And who she is musically touched every person in the Paley Center for Media during those precious moments.

Share with us the moment watching this young child stand next to Clark Terry in his wheelchair. He held her hand to his face - looking straight ahead - for what seemed to be a lifetime. Quincy Jones stood behind Rachel with his hands on her shoulders, watching Clark Terry, his musical idol and mentor, absorb her incredible energy. A moment never to be forgotten.

Herbie Hancock has been one of Rachel's musical idols since she first discovered jazz only four years ago. There he stood hugging her, and saying over and over, that no one has ever played the right chords at the ending of "Dolphin Dance" before. '... She played my song, she played my song!' All of this happened only because of the music. Just the music, a little girl's love for it, the man who inspired her, and who will continue giving to all of us through her.

- Richard Taesch

by Jared Rimer

Hello Everyone,

I am here to speak briefly about our downloads section. It is available to registered members of the service. You must have an account on the downloads section of the web site. Here's how it works:

  1. Call 818-921-4976 long distance, or 866-824-7876 to have an account created. Make sure you write down your information, as we cannot retrieve it later.
  2. Go to our downloads page (link provided to you after signup) and enter the username and password that you used to sign up.
  3. You will be greeted with our policy, and offered files you may want to acquire. All files are safe and virus free.

On the text files, right click and select 'save target as' or 'save link as', depending on the browser. If you need help, I am available. You may call 818-921-4976, or toll-free at 866-824-7876. If you use Skype, add jaredr80 to phone me. Have a great quarter, and I hope this information is helpful.

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