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blind student

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  • #82503
    Sylvia
    Participant

    (I accidently posted this on another forum, so if you saw it there, I know I transgressed.)

    Has anyone ever taught a blind student?

    #82504
    Misty Harrison
    Participant

    Haven’t taught one but must be possible because many Irish harpers were blind.

    #82505

    Definitely! The harp seems to have been the a good opportunity for the blind to make a decent living in those days.
    Back then, harps had two strings near the centre (g) tuned to the same pitch. These were called the ‘sisters’, and I think their purpose was to allow a blind player to orient themselves on the harp.
    The main problem for modern day blind players is that there is no such point of reference. So one thing you could do is create one – some kind of tactile marker, perhaps.

    #82506
    harp guy
    Participant

    Even though it would be sort of unorthodox, for a tactile reference, the student could possible change a string to a different type.

    #82507
    Sherj DeSantis
    Participant

    I like an anchor for where you might rest your hands as well. I wonder about placing pearl dots on the sound board at the C’s, and a different pearl shape at F’s? There are several companies out there now that use things like abalone inlays; Tripletts and Thormahlens come to my mind. Would it be very difficult for them to do that type of thing?

    #82508
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    I don’t really understand a lot of this thread, I must admit. I’ve never taught blind students, but I know several people who have. Pedal harp is much easier of course, since you don’t have to find levers to move, but whether lever or pedal, surely people who are blind and not deaf can find DO by running their fingers up and down the strings till they hear it?

    i’ve never known anyone who found it necessary to add the kind of markers suggested in this thread. The challenge is establishing hand position and then, once a student begins to have some facility, finding music they can read. Braille harp music is not exactly abundant, and for those whose students went beyond a basic level this becomes a serious issue. It’s very hard to learn intermediate and higher level music totally by ear.

    #82509
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    I should add, that sadly, the more advanced a student becomes, the more frustrating it evidently is. When I was in music school there were a couple of blind pianists there, and their frustration level was huge.

    At home, they had become the best of the best, but now they were up against people who had ears as good as theirs plus sight, and they bitterly felt the speed difference when it came to learning/reading. At that level even the second or two more it takes to stop and find the place in braille music, compared to being able to look up at the score while playing for a sighted musician, was significant. It took great dedication to music as an art not to let natural competitiveness embitter them, and not all of them were able to avoid it.

    #82510
    Sylvia
    Participant

    I braille music, but I’ve never brailled harp music.

    #82511
    Jerusha Amado
    Participant

    <competitiveness embitter them, and not all of them were able to avoid
    it.>>

    It’s sad to read this!

    Jerusha

    #82512
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    > The blind musicians memorize all their music because both hands have to be on their instruments.

    Yes, I was talking about while learning, to check things. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

    #82513
    Chris Asmann
    Participant

    I apoloise if this seems a little like a rant, but I’m new to the harp

    #82514
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    Hello, Chris. Well, for one thing:

    >Last week I saw many great individual performances at the HHS conference in Boston and I was very suprised to see all but three performers (of about 20) performed music they had not committed to memory.

    This is historical practice. The idea that everything has to be memorized didn’t appear till the Romantic pianists put it out there, so if you want to be historically correct it’s quite okay to use music.

    #82515
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    You won’t find any more people using music in recital at something like an AHS concert than you would in any piano conference, but a historical group is a completely different thing.

    And I’m sorry, but if you think anyone can learn, say the Brahms B-flat concerto totally by ear, well, I’d like to meet that person. I never met anyone in the keyboard or violin programs at Eastman who didn’t use music to learn that level of piece, however good their ears may have been. When you are in the Darwinian world of bigtime classical performance where a single wrong note can cost a prize or an audition, you don’t try to learn the notes by ear only.

    #82516
    Chris Asmann
    Participant

    Hi Barbara.

    I wasn’t talking about someone learning with the goal of winning a prize or orchestra seat, that’s an entirely different world. I mean for someone to learn to play, period. There is a ton of biting heirarchical protocol in the world of serious classical music that’s completely beyond me.

    I went on to work with machines, it pays better and doesn’t involve personalities. I would never have been able to adapt to the world of professional classical musicians.

    With the reference to Brahms,

    #82517
    elinor-niemisto
    Participant

    Look at this uTube video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PP8CqjTSy8

    The guy playing the Medieval wire-strung Irish harp rests his arms on his legs and they don’t move around.

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