f MENVI, bridging the gap between the blind and music, Journal 28
This is MENVI's logo. It has MENVI in all caps.

Music Education Network For
The Visually Impaired

An International Coalition of Parents, Educators, and Students

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

News Journal - Fall / Winter 2008 Issue No. 28

In this newsletter:
  1. - The College Survival Guide is Now Available for Download -
  2. - The Seven Little Steps To Read Music in Braille -
  3. More


The newly revised edition of "A Blind Music Student's College Survival Guide" is now available as a special free service on the MENVI website at www.menvi.org. A braille edition is available by special request at ATPC. If you are planning to enter college as a blind music major, consider doing a little early homework to avoid an inevitable struggle. By knowing your own special needs, and letting your chosen school know that "you know" what your needs will be, you can make your own difference in success or failure. Never does an approaching Fall Semester go by that we are not confronted with a student whose college Disabled Student Services has assured him or her that they are in control of needs and can supply alt-media. About 90 % of time, the student ends up frantic within weeks of beginning classes with no transcriber, no texts, and promises that cannot be met.

Sadly, there are schools that believe all they need to do is purchase software, and away they go. Wrong! The time needed for tutorial training must be considered, and rarely is. All of these problems can be avoided with a little information and preparation. Hopefully this little manual will fill the gap. Prominent educators and DSS officers have endorsed the guidebook, and their contributions have been included.

The guide book can be found on the links page under special downloads. Any trouble downloading the files, contact us through our contact form, and we'll be happy to send you a copy of the book. --webmaster and team--


Since music education and braille music is our focus, we thought you might find the following "mini-course" in music braille reading useful and fun. It has been used at several conference presentations, including the recent 49th CTEVH conference, and at CSUN conferences. Try it with groups by dividing them into singing sections. Use Middle C on your keyboard for "do" as the pitch, and watch the smiles.

On the serious side of music braille pedagogy, use the little ear training steps 1-4 before attempting to introduce actual music code. No, VI teachers, you will NEVER, EVER confuse a student with music vs. literary IF you begin with solfege, and ONLY if you leave the dots 3-6 for later to teach values. That way, the Seven Little eighth notes never change, and music students only need to know those seven at first. The value dots, 3 & 6, are added later.

7 Little Steps To Read Music in Braille

Whether you read print music, or think it looks like your worst nightmare, anyone can read music in braille!

STEP 1   "Do" (pronounced as "dough") is the Middle C on the piano keyboard.

STEP 2  Learn the first five notes of the C Scale:

  1. Solfege Syllables: do re mi fa sol
  2. Letters: C D E F G
  3. Numbers: 1 2 3 4 5 = Piano Keyboard = Right Hand fingers 1-5 Thumb = finger 1

STEP 3 - a Trio:

Group 1 sing: do - re - mi - fa - sol
Group 2. sing: mi - fa - sol - fa - mi
Group 3 sing: sol - fa - mi - re - do
  Name That Tune!
  1. do - re - mi - do - mi - do - mi  /  re - mi - fa - fa - mi - re - fa ...
  2. mi - mi - mi --- mi - mi -mi --- mi - sol - do - re - mi ...
    A Duet:
Group 1 Sing:  mi - mi - mi --- mi - mi -mi --- mi - sol - do - re - mi
Group 2 Sing:  do - re - do --- do - re - do --- do -re - mi - fa - sol
STEP 4  Quiz:  [The answers are written backward -- don't cheat -- try it first]
  1. Which scale step number is mi? ---------------------- [ eerht ]
  2. Which solfege syllable is number 3? ------------------ [ im ]
  3. Which solfege syllable is the note G? ----------------- [ los ] in the scale of C
  4. What is the interval name between do and fa? -------- [ htruof ]
STEP 5 - Reading Music in Braille With Numbers (sing step 1 as "do," and so on)
step 5: Reading Music in Braille with numbers: graphic image of text and braille

 STEP 6 - Reading with Braille Music Notation

step 6:Reading with braille music notation: graphic image of text and braille
STEP 7 -  All Notes - The C Scale
step 7: All notes - the C scale: graphic image of text and braille
Now, divide your classes into little groups. Rehearse each group's part first, then put your first braille choir together!
Let's Sing and Play!
Harry Had a Little Jam - Duet; graphic image of text and braille
Jazz for beginners - Duet: graphic image of text and braille
Braille Music Dictionary; graphic image of text and braille


Serving as a webmaster for an organization such as the MENVI Network is quite involved. One must be able to keep track of applications, contact forms, billing for maintenance of the site, upkeep after development, and much more. I've just described my work for the MENVI Network overall. However, in addition to keeping up, I also have another responsibility. As part of the job, I maintain a database of subscribers who have signed up for E-mail and web delivery notification. While I may not cover those lists as in previous articles, I would like to describe more of what goes on, and what we all can do to help eliminate problems.

Here at MENVI web services, we have a privacy policy that went into effect last year. I've modified it this year in order to cover the Downloads section of the site. A new section will be developed to address the purpose of our internal database, which we keep track of when a member signs up for e-mail and web delivery. This database will never be shared with anyone outside the inner workings of our network. We may from time to time send it to members who are subscribed to both lists so that they might see what is there, and to make sure they are up to date. This is generally done at least twice a year, about one month before the new roster is due, and again in six months after the roster has been published.

In January of this year, I requested that someone internally assist me in compiling members' names with the e-mail addresses so that we could track those who were missing. That work was not done as I had hoped, thus it became necessary to ask a volunteer to help complete the project. At that point, I went through all of our applications, dating back to 2003, in order to determine who was missing. We telephoned at least 15 different members, and then discarded the names of those where the info was invalid. While I was not expecting everyone to return calls, I was glad to have folks in contact with us again. I want to remind everyone that I really need YOUR help! I've designed the lists in such a way that we can track bounces more accurately. I won't go into detail on how we do it, but we have accomplished much. With over 500 network members, there are now 190 online, with about 200 using e-mail and website delivery.

One thing that I have noticed on this database, is the fact that we have members who have not provided us with phone numbers. It has been necessary to look up international codes for quite a few of the members to determine how to dial numbers. As I've indicated, your privacy is a priority here at MENVI web. If you do not want to publish your number with the network, that is your choice, but be aware that if your e-mail address bounces, and we do not have a phone number, we have no choice but to remove your listing from the communication feature of the network. We will not attempt to locate you through other means. [

editor's note: Please remember that the purpose of any network cannot be fully realized without the ability of members to "network" by contacting one another. Your application assumes your permission to publish your contact information.]

In one instance, the number of an applicant actually belonged to someone else. Fortunately, the party was very pleasant, and provided the necessary information for me. I am unable to invest time and network resources to search for elusive information.

I respectfully ask that you try to help us with your accurate updates. If you know you are moving, or your phone number changes, your e-mail address changes, or if you are receiving braille or print and your mailing address changes, please fill out a new application. Or, you can contact Jared Rimer if you need a new application faxed to you. If you are online, we do require that you fill out a new application.

I am here to help. I will only call or send mail to those who request it. If you do not want us to contact you, kindly contact us through our "contact form," or by calling Jared Rimer directly. I can then verify the information that we have on file, and make corrections accordingly.

You may read our privacy policy at any time by going to our web site at www.menvi.org. The privacy policy link can be found on any page. If you have questions, please look up Jared Rimer in your roster, or call 818-921-4976 international, or toll-free 866-824-7876 and follow the voice prompts.

Jared Rimer, Webmaster

COMMON SENSE ... has it gone the way of the cassette?

An edited digest from CTEVH Journal - Summer 2008 - reprinted here with permission.

In the effort to see that music examples are in the hands of a reader on a class day that they are needed, there is no substitute for the combined efforts of the music transcriber, and a textbook specialist who may use the files such as NIMAS to document-process text portions of a music theory book. Sadly, if the crystal ball continues to yield the direction of an un-checked paradigm shift, we could begin to see a serious decline in quality of music transcriptions used in classrooms. With so many wonderful newly certified transcribers coming out of NLS, and only beginning the process of acquiring precious experience, the potential problems for music braille readers could become simply unimaginable. In addition, refreshable braille is great! But until the developers put aside some profits to create a note-taker whereby two to five vertical lines of braille can be viewed, the devices will remain about 80% useless for music theory in the college arena.

And so the analogous cassette tape may not have gone the way of the horse and buggy altogether, that is if we apply a little of that rare "C" word. Consider a parallel: Not long ago, a simple recorder and cassette tape was the perfect tool to use in music lessons. An instructor could instantly re-play examples, and send home inexpensive and priceless impromptu demonstrations with his or her student. Now, it is virtually impossible to do without mounds of digital technology at hand. And, the result is that decline in quality of which I spoke, and clearly emerging evidence of un-controlled paradigm shift. UNLESS we, the music teachers, apply the simple catalyst of common sense, just like inferior and more flimsy products we see everywhere, nature will take its course and our readers will be the losers. This is simply not a good direction, particularly considering the dramatic increase of blind music majors who are now required to read music in most colleges!

MENVI Specialists Committee

For an up-to-date listing of specialists, please see the list of specialists on our home page. This list was as of the time the newsletter was prepared and is only for archival purposes.

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.

  1. Band Music/Director Rick Coates, Music Teacher, The Governor Morehead School
  2. Braille Piano Music Library Resources Stephanie Pieck, Concert Pianist; Braille Music Instructor for New York Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped
  3. Braille Music Textbooks and Formats Ed Godfrey, Braille Program Assistant, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, Seattle
  4. College/University Disabled Student Services
  5. Electronic Music and VI Computer Music Arts David Pinto, VI Computer Composition SCCM and Los Angeles Pierce College
  6. International Braille Music Code Mrs. bettye Krolick, Compiler New International Manual of Braille Music Notation
  7. Large Print Joan Hudson-Miller, President, Library Reproduction Service (LRS)
  8. Music Therapy John Heine, Music Therapist, The Missouri School for The Blind or
  9. Music Transcriber Training and Certification Karen Gearreald, Braille Music Advisor/instructor For The Library of Congress Washington DC
  10. National Braille Association Music Committee Lawrence Smith, Chairman NBA Music Committee
  11. Professional Transcriber Software and Technology Robert Stepp, President of Computer Application Specialties Company (Ed-It Pc; Braille 2000
  12. Student Certification (Practical/Theory examinations) Grant Horrocks, L.A. Chair--Royal Conservatory of Music Examination Center; SCCM Piano and Conservatory divisions
  13. VI Computer Assisted Technology
  14. VI Resource Teacher (Middle School/High School) Denise Smith, Braille Transcriber-Liberty Jr. High School, Liberty Missouri telephone (816) 415-7049
  15. Postsecondary Braille Music Literacy and Advocacy Valerie Gaer

That completes the newsletter. Please click on the following links to navigate around the MENVI website.

Links Around MENVI's Web Site
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What's New? Application disclosure
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Notes From the Webmaster

If you find broken links on this Web page, please Contact MENVI. Kindly be specific when reporting broken links, as this will aid in repairing problems more quickly.

You may call the Webmaster at 818-921-4976. You may also text the webmaster or voice on Whats App by using 804-442-6975. Please leave a message if there is no response. Include your name, phone number, and the nature of the problem. We will only contact you if we need aditional information. Enjoy the Site!

Copyright and privacy statement

No portions of this Web Page may be reproduced. MENVI and The JRN are two different entities. Any third party links are the responsibility of their respective web sites and The JRN nor MENVI are responsible for any errors, omissions, etc. when leaving the MENVI Domain.

MENVI takes your privacy of your personal information very seriously. Since 2003, we've never sold, rented, disclosed, distributed or given any member information to anyone that is a non-member of this network. Contact information we have is not for sale! MENVI advisors info is for the public, and our web site has email links, and we can freely give out other information about them. Questions? Please contact us!