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Music Education Network For
The Visually Impaired

An International Coalition of Parents, Educators, and Students
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Southern California Conservatory of Music – PO Box 408, Burbank, CA 91503
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News Journal – Winter / Spring 2011 Issue 33

  1. PDF news journal 33
  2. Braille formatted file right click and select save target or save link as to download
  1. - Advice for reproducing music in braille;
  2. Piano Teaching continued;
  3. more …


MENVI Member Andy English has contributed this interesting and informative article dedicated to music transcribers and their readers. All of us who are involved in the use or production of braille are affected by the discussion that follows. Whether you are a transcriber, a braille reader, a parent, or an educator, we hope that you will find this article of use. As always, articles are contributed by our members and specialists, and do not necessarily reflect MENVI advisory policy or administrative opinion.

The issue of copyrights and sharing of files is an ongoing problem. It has been our experience that seemingly no one has definitive answers regarding this area with respect to music and/or music braille. Everyone is urged to use due caution and prudence, and mostly, always respect the concept of intellectual property and the wishes of those agencies and schools that serve us.

* * *
by Andrew English

I wrote this article to help instructors, student services staff, and blind musicians reduce the amount of time that it takes the braille transcriber to complete a piece of music. This document and many other digital print and braille resources are available at paper music.

By following these simple guidelines, you can greatly increase the productivity of your friendly neighborhood braille transcriber by decreasing the amount of time it takes to transcribe your music. Thank you for helping us to help you help us all!

Andy English, Music Transcription and Consultation Services
* * *

[Editorial Commentary:]

Since the beginning of this network in ca.1993, we have had a dream that one day there would be a comprehensive registry of as many music titles in braille as possible. This listing would NOT be considered a catalogue resource or database such as we commonly see online, web, and other venues; it would be a simple listing of every title that we could find. Imagine the thousands upon thousands of titles going to waste in the old computers of retired and deceased transcribers - precious music in braille that will never be shared by deserving readers. Moreover, imagine the vast thousands of unnecessary hours that have been wasted by transcribers re-transcribing music that already exists, while readers do without. With only about thirty or so active certified and/or experienced music transcribers in the country, this is no less than a shameful waste of a finite resource!

This listing would not provide the music itself, only the fact that it exists and where to seek information. It would then be up to the reader to contact the source, and to make his or her own arrangements. The responsibility of copyrights and other “sharing” issues would remain with the person or agency that would provide the file or hard copy.

Unfortunately, with every turn in the road towards progress for such a project, there has been someone or something holding up a proverbial hand saying: “STOP!” Readers, it’s now up to you to begin an advocacy for yourselves. Perhaps you will be more successful than we have been. For every well-intentioned attempt, private interests and fear has prevailed, and the braille readers are the losers.

Our heartfelt thanks to crusaders like Andy, and so many agencies that tirelessly confront this constant adversity standing in the way of access and education for our blind readers.

- R. Taesch [Ed.]


Which one is correct?

  1. Music Education Network for the Visually Impaired or
  2. Music Education Network for The Visually Impaired

Discussion: Well, this one always brings interesting arguments regarding the title for our acronym, MENVI. Essentially both are correct in that the first presentation grammatically avoids the capital letter on an article, “the.” However, since the network long ago elected to create the title “The Visually Impaired” as a formal entity, the first example is then completely incorrect. We see the first one erroneously quite often, as word processors automatically correct the grammatical spelling, and few are willing to argue with Mr. Gates.

Before you disagree, consider the title for our National Library Service as: The Library of Congress, and not the Library of Congress; or perhaps, The United States of America.


Article adapted from CTEBVI Journal (formerly CTEVH), Winter 2010 – with permission

CTEBVI stands for California Transcribers and Educators of the Blind and Visually Impaired. It is open for membership to all who are interested in the educational welfare of blind individuals.

As we continue a journey through the music educator’s world and the braille reader, we’ll take a new path expanding duet work into that of piano ensembles. Groups can easily be assembled for students who may not even study the piano formally. The keyboard remains our learning and reading tool no matter what instrument or voice is preferred, and all students who study music braille can participate. Teachers need not be trained pianists to work with basic ensemble groups.

Read through the two steps provided in a previous issue, and then apply them to this simple blues duet. If you cannot play the teacher’s Part II, simply recruit another student to learn the left or right hand alone, thereby creating a trio. [Used with permission; Introduction to Piano for the Blind Student – Dancing Dots, Publisher]

                                                               TWO FOR THE BLUES
                                                                                Duet Part I
         Two for the Blues-Duet Part 1

         braille for Part 1

                                                               TWO FOR THE BLUES
                                                                                Duet Part II

           Two for the Blues-Duet Part 2

       Braille for Part 2

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Is your membership roster information up to date? Be sure to fill out an updated application online, or ask Jared to fax one to you


Membership Rosters

Be sure to update your member contact information, as new rosters will soon become available. When you see names in the roster listings with no addresses or emails, it usually means that someone forgot to update. Changes can ONLY be implemented when an update application is filled out: go to Need to contact the Webmaster for online service or a hard copy? Call toll-free at: 866-824-7876

The Lime Lighter from Dancing Dots

This new technology has brought quite a bit of interest. With The Lime Lighter, many low vision performers can sight-read music while playing. See the Dancing Dots site at: Our last issue 32 included a fine article by Mr. Bill McCann about this exciting new product!

CTEBVI – New Student Membership / Upcoming Conference – Oakland, CA

CTEBVI (formerly CTEVH) now offers a [post high school] Student Membership at only $25 per year. See their site at

CTE’s 52nd annual conference will be held in Oakland on March 10-13. Workshops and exhibits are unique, and our own Ayaka Isono will be presenting on behalf of music braille. See the website for information.

National Braille Association Conference

NBA is conducting its professional development conference on April 13-16 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Diego/Del Mar. See the website for information:

New Materials for Music Readers and Teachers

Christina Davidson and Karen Gearreald have announced a new resource for braille music literacy: HAPPY FINGERS: Easy Songs for Braille Music Readers, Book 1. Dedicated to Louis Braille and Bettye Krolick. Get free downloads from

Important Information for Blind Music Majors

A Blind Music Student’s College Survival Guide is available as a free download at:; see the special downloads section. (webmasters note links page, special downloads heading)

MENVI Specialists Committee

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. Large Print JHM Consulting, Inc., (Formerly: President, LRS Large Print)
  7. Music Transcriber Training and Certification Karen Gearreald, Braille Music Advisor/instructor For The Library of Congress Washington DC
  8. National Braille Association Music Committee Lawrence Smith, Chairman NBA Music Committee
  9. Professional Transcriber Software and Technology Robert Stepp, President of Computer Application Specialties Company (Ed-It Pc; Braille 2000
  10. Student Certification (Practical/Theory examinations) Grant Horrocks, L.A. Chair--Royal Conservatory of Music Examination Center; SCCM Piano and Conservatory divisions
  11. VI Computer Assisted Technology
    • Sam Flores, President of Opus Technologies
    • William McCann, President of Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology
      Visit Dancing Dots on the Web
  12. VI Resource Teacher (Middle School/High School) Denise Smith, Braille Transcriber-Liberty Jr. High School, Liberty Missouri telephone (816) 415-7049
  13. Postsecondary Braille Music Literacy and Advocacy Valerie Gaer

This completes the MENVI specialists Committee. Please choose from the following links to continue.


  1. Karen Gearreald
  2. Bill McCann
  3. Jared Rimer (MENVI Webmaster)
  4. Stephanie Pieck
  5. Jacob Sexton (Assistant Webmaster)
  6. Robert Smith
  7. Maureen Carole Young

This completes the newsletter. Please choose from the following links to continue.

Links Around MENVI's Web Site
News journal 34 Newsletters
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