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An Introduction to Music for the Blind Student
A Course in Braille Music Reading

By Richard Taesch
Published by Dancing Dots

Note: A detailed description of parts I and II of this music course is shown below. Students who complete Part I should consider moving on to Part II and, if those students are studying a keyboard instrument, should also consider Taesch's piano courses.

30-Day Evaluation Period for All Books by Richard Taesch

If you are not certain that these books are right for you, try them for a couple of weeks. You may return them within 30 days and Dancing Dots will refund your full purchase price excluding shipping charges. You must contact us to receive a Return Authorization (RA) Number. We will not accept any returns without an RA Number. Books must be in resalable condition to qualify for refund. We suggest you insure all return shipments for full replacement value.

For pricing information or to order Part I or Part II of this course, click here.

In the United States, Dancing Dots is the "Sole Source" for braille music courses by Richard Taesch.

Part I

A picture of the part 1 books.  AN INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC FOR THE BLIND STUDENT, A Course in Braille Music Reading - Part I is a flexible course which equips the mainstream educator with no prior experience with braille to teach and learn music Braille The author, Richard Taesch, is a lifelong music educator and guitarist who is certified by the Library of Congress as a Braille music transcriber. He heads the Braille Music Division of the Southern California Conservatory of Music and chairs the guitar department.

Description of the Course

Braille music reading has traditionally been taught as a translation process from print music as the sighted musician views it. This course differs from the norm in that it is a true instructional course-curriculum in music fundamentals, music reading, sight singing, theory, and ear-training using the Braille Music Code as the medium. Print music is considered secondary, and included for the convenience of the sighted teacher or tutor.

It is, therefore, possible for a sighted (or blind) musician to administer or to study this work without prior knowledge of the Braille music code. It is also intended that a sighted teacher, parent, or tutor with little or no knowledge of Braille or conventional print music, may guide a blind student through this course. Teacher training is also a natural application for the course. Much testing by correspondence has been conducted, and the course has been part of the official curriculum at Southern California Conservatory of Music - Braille Music Division for many years.

Content Description

The course is divided into two Parts. Part I (Phases One through Four) is "ground level," and covers rudiments through intermediate melodic interpretation and key signatures. Part I is written into three separate print volumes- Lessons; Lesson Exercises; Supplemental Exercises. The Braille edition exists in 4 Braille volumes. All three print volumes are integrated and used simultaneously, however, each may also be used separately depending upon individual application.

The course is intended to teach the essentials of music reading regardless of the student's chosen instrument. The piano is considered as a basic tool common to all instrumentalists. Separate instrumental Supplements will eventually become part of the course.

First Volume: Lessons
91 print pages

Each Phase concludes with a lesson summary as an outline. This is intended to give experienced music teachers the option of flexibility, while guiding them through critical essentials specific to the Braille Music Code. There are eighty-six print pages in this volume.

Phase One addresses rudiments of music in five separate lessons. General content covers introductory ear training, and an introduction to solfege (sight singing) by reading Braille scale step numbers only. Structural concepts of scales and intervals in the form of Musical Arithmetic is also a part of Phase One.

Phase Two introduces true Braille music notation and the Braille Music Code. Notation covering the first five notes of the C Major Scale is taught in four lessons. Lesson 4 introduces the concept of Melodic Dictation, whereby the blind student is required to write the notes on the Braille writer as they are played by the teacher or tutor.

Phase Three introduces the Braille melody line incorporating such concepts as time signatures, note duration, repeat signs, piano fingerings, notes in the third & fifth octave, accidentals, major and minor scales, and other essentials needed at this level.

Phase Four covers key signatures and other musical devices such as ties, phrase marks, use of the Braille music hyphen, and composition and formatting techniques.

Appendix contains Theory Examinations pertinent to all four Phases, and concludes with a detailed Index of the text.

Second Volume: Lesson Exercises
9 print pages

This volume includes the Lesson Exercises that are assigned in the Lessons text. A "facsimile" of the Braille page as the Braille reader sees it is shown on the left page with equivalent print music on the right page. Each Braille facsimile page includes print fonts that point out each new Braille sign as it is introduced in the lessons. The sighted teacher uses these fonts to reference their place on the Braille page.

Third Volume: Supplemental Exercises
67 print pages

This volume is composed of graded supplemental material intended to expand exercise opportunities, and serves to illustrate concepts presented in the course. It may be used independently of the rest of the course, however, it functions as an extension of the course as it is written. There are sixty-seven print pages and one Braille volume. All exercises have been composed by the author with the exception of a section called "Duets and Classic Themes".

Some exercises are used for sight singing and playing, others are for singing only or playing only. Duets are common, and right and left hand fingered versions are plentiful. The text concludes with a section of scale exercises for comprehensive note study and review. Each print music exercise is immediately followed by simulated Braille print dots.

Part II

Dancing Dots is pleased to announce the release of Part II of:
AN INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC FOR THE BLIND STUDENT
A COURSE IN BRAILLE MUSIC READING
by Richard Taesch

FEATURES OF PART II

A Picture of the part 2 books.
  • Part II builds on the braille music reading skills developed in the first four Phases of the course presented in Taesch's Part I.
  • Part II contains:
    • PHASE FIVE-A The Circle of Keys
    • PHASE FIVE-B Flat Key Signatures
    • PHASE FIVE-C Reading in New Keys
    • PHASE SIX-A Adventures in Music Reading
    • PHASE SIX-B Simple and Compound Time
    • PHASE SIX-C Advanced Reading and Modulating Keys
  • In two appendices, Taesch includes a detailed set of "Theory Examinations" and a handy "Index of Braille Signs." A standard subject index is also included. A separate volume of Lesson Exercises contains dozens of new exercises in the form of single-line melodies, duets and canons.
  • New braille signs included:
    • Fermata
    • Word Sign
    • Dynamics
    • Tempo and Mood Headings
    • Compound Time Signatures
    • Sixteenth Note Values
    • Special Endings and Directions
    • Accent Signs
    • Dal Segno
    • Metronome Markings
    • Doubling of Accents, Tenutos and Staccatos
    • Nuance Signs
    • Note Grouping
    • Tenuto Signs
    • Fingering for the Left Hand

Seven Steps to Read Music in Braille

By Richard Taesch

The files are in word format and can be downloaded through this link. www.menvi.org/newsletters/news28.html

Customer Testimonials

"Richard, you have hit the jackpot! ...This looks like a real winner. The copy is clear and clean and very accessible. I'm really excited and grateful that kids will get this kind of help with their music."

Bettye Krolick, Music Braille Consultant, Colorado


“I have used Richard Taesch’s Braille music course with several students with great success. Sighted teachers, who are not Braille literate, can now guide blind students in their musical education. In the process, both the student and the teacher learn the Braille music code. I highly recommend this extremely valuable tool.”

David Simpson
Music Educator, Braille Institute of America


Purchase Online

30-Day Evaluation Period for All Books by Richard Taesch

If you are not certain that these books are right for you, try them for a couple of weeks. You may return them within 30 days and Dancing Dots will refund your full purchase price excluding shipping charges. You must contact us to receive a Return Authorization (RA) Number. We will not accept any returns without an RA Number. Books must be in resalable condition to qualify for refund. We suggest you insure all return shipments for full replacement value.

An Introduction to Music for the Blind Student Part I

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An Introduction to Music for the Blind Student Part II

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