June 17, 2009 at 9:01 pm #82503SylviaParticipant
(I accidently posted this on another forum, so if you saw it there, I know I transgressed.)
Has anyone ever taught a blind student?June 18, 2009 at 4:43 am #82504Misty HarrisonParticipant
Haven’t taught one but must be possible because many Irish harpers were blind.June 18, 2009 at 9:29 am #82505liath-hollinsMember
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.June 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm #82506harp guyParticipant
Even though it would be sort of unorthodox, for a tactile reference, the student could possible change a string to a different type.June 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm #82507Sherj DeSantisParticipant
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?June 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm #82508
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.June 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm #82509
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.June 19, 2009 at 6:53 pm #82510SylviaParticipant
I braille music, but I’ve never brailled harp music.June 19, 2009 at 6:59 pm #82511Jerusha AmadoParticipant
competitiveness embitter them, and not all of them were able to avoid
It’s sad to read this!
JerushaJune 19, 2009 at 7:03 pm #82512
> 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.June 20, 2009 at 2:44 am #82513Chris AsmannParticipant
I apoloise if this seems a little like a rant, but I’m new to the harpJune 20, 2009 at 3:11 am #82514
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.June 20, 2009 at 3:15 am #82515
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.June 20, 2009 at 8:36 pm #82516Chris AsmannParticipant
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,June 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm #82517
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.