Braille Music

Hadley Learning Expert Linn Sorge presented this week, along with three other musicians, to talk about braille music.

August 8, 2019

Don't miss the next episode

Audio Transcript


Embracing Braille – Braille Music

Presented by Debbie Worman and Linn Sorge

August 8, 2019

Debbie W.: Good morning, everybody. This is Debbie Worman, and I am one of your cohosts today for Embracing Braille. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm happy to be here. Vileen Shah is away at a conference, and he had asked me to fill in for today.

Our guest speaker today is Linn Sorge. Linn Sorge will be talking to us today on the topic of braille music. Her discussion will include her own experiences with braille music, and she will be sharing some resources with us. I understand there's a few guests on as participants who will also share their experiences. So without further ado, let's get started and have Linn jump in and talk about her experiences with braille music.

Linn S.: Good morning, everyone. I sometimes am here when Vileen is here, so I've been in this group now and then. This is my first time doing the hosting part.

I have some guests with me that are going to join in today because we are all braille music readers. I thought you would be interested to meet a few of us. The three people that are here are all lifelong braille music readers and teachers or retired teachers of music. So when their little parts come up, they'll tell you a little bit about them and that kind of thing.

So I'm going to first tell you a little about me and music and things like that. I started reading braille music when I was six. I was fortunate. I had a totally blind piano teacher and I also could do a lot of work by ear. I would say, "Oh please play my next piece for me that I'm supposed to learn." Well, for two weeks she did that. After that she said, "I'm not doing that anymore because if I play it once you don't need to read the music. You just learn it." That was the best gift she could have given me.

By the time I was in about third grade I was sight-singing using my fingertips, and it just went on from there. My major was piano when I went to college. I was already teaching piano when I was a senior in high school. That was a challenge because I was teaching sighted youngsters, which meant I not only had to have the braille music in my head, but I had to totally understand the print music. You say, "Well, was it that vital?" Yes, because when I had a few little mischief makers, I would say, "Now, if you look on the top right of that page, you'll see what is a sharp sign." Often I would hear, "Ain't no sharp sign on my page." But there really was. So it was just a way to give me a little test.

So I would whip out my book and I had marked all the new symbols with braille underneath them. I would just put my finger there and say, "See. There it is." Usually I only had to do that once and then they didn't pull that nonsense any more. I taught all the way through college to earn spending money and because I loved doing it. Then throughout my life I've taught music in various capacities, one of which was helping potential teachers to learn to read when I was working at a university. We had about four weeks of music where they would learn to read basic things. Also I would bring in a keyboard and braille up a little music for them. They would each play a little bit of it before the hour was up. It was a wonderful experience for all of us.

I've been teaching at Hadley for 19 years as of September 1st and done a variety of work here. A couple of these folks that are here even took a class with me. I think it was for review purposes and things like that. But I am going to now pass the baton to each of these people. Let's start with Katie who has been my friend since kindergarten. Now, guys, that's a long time. Not all that long, but... She is a violinist. She does vocal and keyboard. So Katie, just tell us what it is, why braille music? Why not just by ear? People always say, "It's so hard," but as we know, it really isn't that hard.

Debbie W.: You're onstage, Katie. You're ready to go.

Katie: Oh boy. Okay. That's wonderful. Okay. I started learning to read braille music in about fourth grade. Our music teacher said to us, "I think you kids could learn how to read the music in your books. That way you could sing different parts. For example, if there was an alto part or whatever, you could learn to sing that." So that's when I really started to learn braille music. That lady, Ruth Abby, was also my piano teacher, so of course I learned to use it in class with her, and then later violin music. Of course I read all my music for that and the orchestra and the chorus. I mean music in every event I was at. The school had to use braille music for all of that.

I wasn't always lucky to have it in college because it takes time for someone to dictate things and there just wasn't that time. There were other students, I mean, busy with their own chorus work. So I had to sing in a chorus without braille music and that was very frustrating. I had to learn my part by ear and, believe me, it takes a lot more to learn by ear than to have music onto your fingers and rely on that wonderful code. After college, I started teaching at the School of Visually Handicapped. I obviously had to use braille music constantly and taught students how to read it, little boys and girls how to read it for their piano and so forth and learning their violin parts.

I directed a little string group. Actually Lynnie, who's here today, was in that group. Everybody had a music score, of course. During my teaching years I sang in several choral groups, one called the Choral Union. They sing a lot of complicated music, very difficult rhythmic scores. There's no way I could have succeeded in that group without braille music. It's very, very vital. I sing in the church choir and I insist on having my music in braille. I have a BrailleSense where I can put it on and then emboss from that. I won't get too technical here. But I also will mention that in high school another young lady and I went to Michigan and I played in the orchestra there. A gentleman brailled out my music. I didn't almost get it till the end of the week, but at least I had it for the final rehearsal and so forth.

As I said, I've sung in many choirs. Of course I've taught many students and used braille music. I am going to rejoin my church choir this year. There was some reasons why I wasn't in the choir, but anyway I plan to rejoin it. I plan to sing the Fauré Requiem with the Choral Union this year. I have the score all ready, and I thank God every day that I have braille music under my fingers. Thank you.

Debbie W.: Thank you, Katie. That was so wonderful to hear your experiences. What popped out at me was you said braille music was vital. Could you expand on that a little bit? What do you mean by it was vital for you?

Katie: Well, for example, when I sang in, as I mentioned, college choir I didn't have it. So you're afraid to sing because what if you forgot the exact rhythm of a particular measure? Or what if you didn't know it was marked pianissimo and you sang too loud? All those little nuances of braille music which your ear may not remember, I mean that's a lot to remember. We sang huge choral pieces. So I was always shy about singing. I was a second soprano and I never sang with full confidence then because I was so afraid I might stick out. I mean, it's not to say you can't make a mistake when you have the music score. You could. You got to be careful.

I made a couple at Choral Union over the years when I sang in that group. But to have that score makes a world of difference.

Debbie W.: Well, I appreciate you sharing that. I think what is most important is that stuck out for me in some of the things you were saying is it just built your confidence. It built your confidence. That's wonderful. Linn, did you want Lynnie to go next?

Linn S.: Okay. Before Lynnie starts then I want to talk about how music works. Katie had to have both her hands for the violin. I, for piano. Karen, now and then, she played French horn sometimes and if she didn't quite know her orchestra part, she could play the horn with one hand and read the music with the other. So she got away with that when those of us who needed two hands couldn't do that. Lynnie also was a violinist, but she was voice, and she'll talk to you about voice because she could truly, as Katie was saying, just use her music and go along with everyone else. So it's yours, Lynnie.

Lynnie: Okay. Well, before I say a little bit about voice I'm going to piggyback on what you just said about Karen. I actually did that in my brass techniques class. The teacher there said that vocal majors were not going to get any better than a C in his class. So I brailled out all the exercises I had to do when I had to play the trumpet. And then I had to play the French horn and I figured if I'm not going to get any better than a C I am not going to memorize all this stuff to play it for class. So I did what Karen sometimes did, except I did it most of the time that semester. I read with one hand and held the instrument and played with the other. So I wasn't going to overexert for a C when I was an A music student.

As Linn said, I am a vocal major and I also play, of course, piano, keyboard, violin. I mess around on the accordion. That's just by ear stuff. I think, for me, as for Katie, braille music is vital in my life. I sang in the same Choral Union she did. I started learning music when I started piano in third grade. So by the time I started voice lessons as a junior in high school I was proficient at reading braille. The voice music is only one line, where a piano is a little bit more complicated to do. You have two hands, so you have to read with one hand and memorize and play and read with the other hand and memorize and then put the two together. So that's a little bit... But it's easier to do that when you have the music in front of you than to try to pick out all that stuff by ear.

When I was learning a piece in voice for my lessons, I had usually, especially in college, I had the accompaniments recorded so I could practice. I would sit in the lounge sometimes and I'd hum quietly just so I could get the melody in my head and then I could just read the words. Of course, we had to have stuff memorized for our juries and things. When I was in concert choir, I also had to have the music memorized because we had to wear long white gloves and the seams in the fingers were right where they needed not to be for me to read. They wouldn't let me not wear white gloves and they wouldn't let me use my own gloves so I could cut the fingers out because theirs were ink-stained and mine were nice-looking. So I had to memorize all the music.

My first year when I was at college, Linn was there and she brailled all my music. After that, Linn wasn't there and so I hired a reader. I brailled all my vocal music, all my madrigal music, all the concert choir music. When I started teaching, I taught at the School for the Blind for a year and then I taught privately. I made sure that I had a lot of music available to me, especially when I was teaching piano. Voice, it wasn't as easy because a lot of my students were doing show tunes and things. So then I had somebody type out the words and got them in an electronic file so that at least I had the words. The melodies were pretty simple. Now I am teaching part-time at a Christian school here in Nebraska. I braille out in my BrailleNote Apex any melody lines that I need if I'm trying to learn a song for choir or anything that my students are doing.

I help teach them their parts actually for the Christmas program. The pianist, when she comes in, she'll play the notes for me and I'll write them down as she plays them or she'll record them for me and I'll bring it home on my Victor Reader Stream. I'll just write in the notes into my electronic file on my BrailleNote Apex. So I don't read music now as much as I did, but I sure am glad that it's available to me and that I have it because, like Katie, I was a first soprano, not second soprano usually. I sing second soprano if I want to be challenged. But it was very important to me to know, for example, because I couldn't see the director, whether it's a whole note or a dotted half note with a quarter rest. So then I knew when to cut off.

Usually when I performed the big long works in Choral Union or Women of Note that I was involved in, I would have the words in my head and I would read the notes just to make sure that I knew what the rhythms were and exactly what the dynamics were because all the dynamics are written in the braille music as well. I'd much rather have braille music in those kinds of situations than to try to do everything by ear.

Debbie W.: Well, thank you, Lynnie. I appreciate your comments and sharing how braille music has enhanced your teaching and you're a full participant in everything you're doing. Again, it makes you a part of fully participating in the teaching, the singing, the directing, all of that. So thank you for your comments.

Linn S.: As you're all hearing, as life goes on you hear how we all use braille music, but you also are hearing, "I put it on my Apex." "I put it on my BrailleSense," and things like that. If you think, "Does music and technology go together?" Oh yes, very often it does. But when we were all young, that wasn't there. I wanted to give just-

Debbie W.: I think I have Karen now, if you want to continue with Karen. Sorry to interrupt.

Karen: Hi. Like Linn, I began teaching piano to a young man when I was 16 and really needed a way to know what he was seeing and have the music at my fingertips too. So I chose a chorus that I thought was a good one that we had in braille and, like Linn, marked where I needed to know what he would be seeing in the page and just went from there. I taught privately for, I don't know, about 33 years, I guess, and it was mostly in my home, some at Oakhill Christian School too, here in Janesville. But just had kids coming in and out all day. It was fun. But I would have been totally lost without that braille music if I had had to teach them.

Then I went to Beloit College after my youngest child was in kindergarten, decided you know what? I think I better finish my degree and do some teaching for... Make a little more money maybe, get ready for retirement or whatever. So I went to Beloit College. There, my braille music was really important for me because I was majoring in music and elementary education. I'm blessed to be married to a man who knows how to read music, so that was nice. He would just read me my music and I'd write it down. Like Linn said, I'd read with one hand and play with the other when I had to do it quickly. It's always better if you can get that other hand in the horn and make it sound like it's supposed to.

Then after that I started teaching at the Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. But for my first 10 years I wasn't teaching music, so that was kind of a break in my life. And then when Katie retired, shame on her, but anyway, when she retired, I decided that there weren't enough students to have a full-time music teacher. But I really felt like we still needed to keep the program going. There were enough students that wanted to learn some braille music or learn an instrument that we decided to do that part-time. These days, it's hard to find time for kids for music. I should say, for blind kids for music because there are so many blind skills that they need to pick up, the daily living skills and O&M and so forth. They're busy. They're very busy.

So I thought, "Well, how can I make this happen?" And then I thought, "Well, just put it in their IEP goals for braille and then it has to happen."

Debbie W.: How sneaky. How sneaky of you, Karen. Good job.

Karen: Well, and I'm so glad that that happened because I have some kids that are good music readers now. This summer I'm teaching adults. A couple of weeks before the program started, the director said to me, "I have- Joanne Stark is coming and she wants to learn about violin music," and I thought, "Okay." I played the violin for about a year and a half when I was in third and fourth grade. I started learning braille music when I was in third grade too. I do think it's important to treat it just like you would for any other kid. If another child should learn to read music in their music class, so should our blind kids be. But anyway, I found out she was coming and wanted to learn some about violin music. So I thought, "Well." I talked to Katie and found out exactly where I should look for things and found materials.

She has been so excited and grateful. She's working on the Bach Partita in E major, which is a very complicated piece. She said, "I'm just so glad that now you could take braille music to my lesson and understand what he's seeing on the page, see where it changes keys, what it's doing." That's been one of the highlights of my week, just getting her going in that way. I'm sure a real violin teacher could have done better, but I think we've given her the resources now. She's just ready to rumble. I've heard someone say just recently that a DVR counselor was saying, "Braille is going out. You don't have to worry about braille." That's so, so, so, so wrong. The world's not throwing away its pens and pencils.

I think braille is hugely important because of the technology not always being predictable and so forth. But it's just holding a book is so important and in the same way, being able to be part of a choir, part of an orchestra and have that score there and feel just like everyone else is... It's major. It's huge.

Debbie W.: Well, thank you, Karen. I appreciate all of you, all of you sharing your journeys with braille music with us, Karen, Katie, Linn, and Lynnie. I'm going to leave you all unmuted as we continue our conversation about braille music today in Embracing Braille Discussion Group. Again, this is Debbie Worman and I am the cohost. What I want to share is how impressed I am with all of you. It's just a joy to be with you and hear your enthusiasm for braille music and music in general, to share in your joys and your talent.

For someone who's not musically inclined, I'm always impressed especially with all the instruments you're saying you play. I was the one in high school chorus. I had to take chorus to get my fine arts credit. The music director silently told me, "Yes, Debbie, you need your credit, but please only mouth when you're singing. Please do not sing." So I am always impressed with everybody's musical talent. So Linn, before we take any questions, we still have some time. I know you have some other things you wanted to cover.

Linn S.: Yeah.

Debbie W.: Why don't you-

Linn S.: One thing I want to talk about is some of you may be listening and saying, "I don't really need all that. I don't need a Bach Partita, or I don't ... But is there some way that music could help me?" Yes, there is. If you want to enhance your braille reading speed, read song lyrics. If you are one who does the Christmas music or show tunes or you can sit there and practice reading by reading the lyrics of various songs. Your reading speed will improve. Or let's say I'm going to learn the music for choir at home, but I'm going to take the lyrics with me. So if I have the music in my head, I can just read all those lyrics and just be using regular old literary braille to do that kind of reading.

Another thing is you're going to say, "Well, where do you get all this stuff?" BARD, which many of you know about, it's the National Library Service online service and there's a whole music section there. You can download music. You can then emboss it. It goes from show tunes to children's music to piano books. They have quite a good set of resources there. That really helps. I want to do one quick thing to say this is a tiny hint of how it works. Music, has seven notes, do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do. So in braille music, you learn seven symbols to give you a rhythmic value for each note. And then let's say you've got a quick little note called an eighth note. If you want to make it a little longer, you add a dot in the bottom of the cell.

If you want to make it even longer, you add the dot on the other side of the bottom of the cell. If you want to make it a great big whole long, long, long thing you add both bottom dots. So people sometimes think it must be so hard, but you do it a step at a time. It's like climbing a mountain. You go to a certain place and it's just amazing. And then you may rest there and look back at what you've done and learned and think, "I really am doing this." And then you may go a little further up the mountain and do a little bit more. You just take and use as much of it as you really would like to. Then you can do things like get transcriptions made.

I think everybody talked about that. Karen's husband helps her. There are transcribers. But you can even dictate what you want, as in, "I'm just a beginning reader, so please don't put all the clutter of how to play it loud and soft or whatever. Just give me the music." A transcriber will do just what you ask them to. Or if you're in a more complicated thing, you want everything. You even want where the print page is turned so that if your director says, "Turn to page 18," then you quickly skim, and you can find the page 18 marker and go there. So you can get transcribers in various areas and call around. It's interesting because a lot of braillists tend to be in the prison system.

A lot of good music braillists have taken courses. If you have even a youngster who's in middle school band, they can dash off those parts and send them to that youngster for you. There are various ways to get things done and there is a book, which we're going to put in the show notes. It's called How to Read Braille Music by Bettye Krolick. So it'll be in the notes. You can get it from National Braille Press in print or braille for $16.99. That's amazing because it's a very good resource and it is a good reference book. One tiny quick thing since it is Embracing Braille. For those of you who don't know, we've talked a lot about Louis Braille and everything he did. He was an organist and a cellist, and he did the first Braille music code. It was completed in 1834. So if you ever need a little bit of trivia, there you go.

Debbie W.: Well, thanks for sharing that, Linn. I was not aware of that. That's interesting. I'm going to leave Karen, Katie, Lynnie, and Linn unmuted. We're probably going to have a round robin of questions or comments from our guests.

So let's move to Roderick. Roderick, I'm going to unmute you. Do you have a question or a comment or something to share with Embracing Braille today?

Roderick: Thank you. This is Roderick, yes. I took piano about 40 years again. Oh no, 45. Well, it's been a long time, but what I-

Debbie W.: Okay. You're dating yourself.

Roderick: But I could see when I did it. See, I don't understand how you could use braille because I had to use many pieces. I used both hands. I could really not have spared one hand or the other to read the music I was playing with my hands because I had to use both right and left hands. How do you work that?

Linn S.: Okay. I can field that. It's Linn. You first read one hand. If you're a good two-handed reader, it really helps. So if I wanted to learn the right hand, I might learn the first phrase or four to eight measures and memorize it. Then I switch hands and put the left hand up on the keyboard and read with my right. Then it's like a jigsaw puzzle. After I've memorized each one, I play them together. When I get that, I go on to the next phrase, and that's how you learn a piece. Sometimes in college at the end of the semester, we had to do what are called juries, which means you had to play quite well for various faculty at the end of each semester.

Well, all my sighted classmates were moaning and groaning about they didn't know how they were going to ever get their music memorized. Well, I memorized as I went. So at the end of the semester, I was just polishing. I had all my music memorized already and didn't have to worry about that.

Debbie W.: Roderick, do you find that helpful?

Roderick: Not for me. I was just curious is all.

Debbie W.: I'm trying to imagine that in my mind too, how those fingers are flying, and people are playing. That was a great question, Roderick. Thank you for sharing that. Let's go to guest, your number ending in 596. I'm going to unmute you, 596.

Michelle: Sure. This is Michelle. Thank you so much, Linn, Karen, and I don't know if it's Lynnie or Winnie.

Linn S.: Yes, it's Lynnie.

Michelle: For each of you, it's been incredible to learn the pieces. I wanted to know years, ago I sang in a choir, chorus, kind of like Roderick, at that time I could see. But my question is, as we've learned braille, braille has tons of symbols and we're always talking about the different things that are new. I wanted to know how... Give me an example of if I were singing and I came across in braille a whole note. Can you give me an example of how that would be read in braille?

Linn S.: Yes. Okay. Another thing, sighted people read music vertically on a staff, okay, up and down. The lower notes are lower, the upper notes are higher. We read it horizontally all on one line. So you just need different symbols. If I wanted a G as in, give it to us, a G eighth note would be dots one, two, five. A G quarter note would be the one, two, five, and add a dot six. A G half note would be one, two, five, but add a dot three. A G whole note you'd add both bottom dots. So there aren't as many symbols as it seems, and we're not going up and down the page. We're just going horizontally across, which really helps.

Karen: Which means that we also have to have symbols that mean intervals so that we know how to play those notes that are above and below each other.

Michelle: Like a chord? Okay, okay. That makes sense. Thank you.

Debbie W.: Did that help answer your question?

Michelle: Very much. Very much. Thank you so much.

Debbie W.: Great question. Thank you for sharing it. Okay. How about Kelly? I'm going to unmute Kelly.

Kelly: Okay. First, I just wanted to thank you for the great presentation here about Braille music.

I know you were talking about BARD, which unfortunately being in Canada I can't access. But I know the CNIB did have a braille music program. Right now they're undergoing some website redesign or something with their catalog and so far the braille music stuff they have is not available. So I was just wondering if there are any other sources of braille music that are available to anyone around the world basically.

Debbie W.: Okay, Kelly, thank you for your question.

Does anybody want to address other resources for Kelly and maybe some ideas for somebody in Canada since they can't access BARD?

Lynnie: This is Lynnie. I think eventually the BARD stuff will be available because of the Marrakesh Treaty, which has been signed by President Trump and whoever is responsible for that. So I'm thinking down the road a piece we will be able to share books and things, now whether that includes music or not, I guess I never asked. I just assumed it will, but that might be something to look into.

Katie: This is Katie.

Lynnie: Go Katie.

Katie: I wonder about the Royal National Institute in England and wonder if they might be a good source too.

Linn S.: And another thing, it's Linn. Kelly, I will tell everybody that I might have done a good job, but I had a very good student, which certainly helps. You can get things transcribed. Some people will do it voluntarily. Some people will do it per page, an amount per page. I'm not saying you'd get a great big bunch of stuff, but you might get yourself two or three pieces to start on if you just found a transcriber and they worked with you.

Debbie W.: All the resources will be up on the Hadley website under the recording for this discussion group. Go to show notes. I have guest 461. I'm going to unmute you.

Caitlyn: Okay. I'm Caitlyn. I'm 22 years old. I've been blind from birth. I'm totally blind. I started piano when I was seven years old, I think, and then started learning braille music around 14. Up until I was reading braille music, my piano teacher would just dictate the notes for me for each song and she would keep doing that until I would memorize them. And then once I started learning to read music, I had begun playing a piano piece. But I just wanted to emphasize, I think his name was Roderick, the first guest that commented.

Debbie W.: Yes. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Caitlyn: It is really hard playing the piano and having to read because you have to lift your fingers off the piano and then find your place back on the piano when you're done. So yeah, I don't want to say we're disadvantaged, but us braille readers, we have to really push ourselves even more than maybe a sighted person who can just look down and...

Katie: It's just a different way of learning.

Caitlyn: Right. Yeah. So you have to, I guess you have to study it in advance so you don't have to keep going back to the music.

Debbie W.: Well, Katie, let's try this. This is Debbie Worman, the cohost. Let's try this. When we use adjectives like hard, we kind of have a vision of what it's going to be. So we go, "I don't know if I can do that." If we change the adjective to challenging, it makes it more like-

Caitlyn: You're right. Challenging. Sorry.

Debbie W.: You can become the little engine that could, and you can tell yourself, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." So sometimes we have to... Someone was chiming in. It is a different way of learning, but does that make it harder or impossible?

Caitlyn: No.

Debbie W.: Hm, let's flip the pancake. Let's flip the pancake and change those adjectives, okay? You can tell I teach personality psychology at Hadley. Sometimes just changing those adjectives on how we approach something can help us. It's a different way of learning. I think it was Linn who said it helped her memorize the music.

Linn S.: Yes. As I said, you don't have to constantly lose your place. You learn a chunk of the right hand, reading with your left hand, and you play it and memorize it. Then you switch and you use your right hand to read and your left hand on the keyboard. And then you put it together. When you're done, it's memorized, where a sighted person is still looking down at the music. So there are pros and cons. But the little engine that could is a very good example.

Debbie W.: Caitlyn, I hope that helps you. Does that help?

Caitlyn: Right. Yes. Yes.

Debbie W.: Great. Thanks-

Caitlyn: Thank you.

Debbie W.: Thanks for joining us today. I have a couple more hands up before we run out of time. I have a Jackie. Jackie, I'm going to unmute you.

Jackie: Oh yes. Thank you very much. I was just wondering how do you spell Bettye, did you say Krolick? She wrote the book, How to Read Braille Music. How was her last name spelled please?

Debbie W.: It's K-R-O-L-I-C-K. And Bettye has an E on the end, B-E-T-T-Y-E. You can look her up under National Braille Press. Okay?

Thanks for joining us. Okay. I have guest 660. 660, I'm going to unmute you.

Judith Ray: Yes. My name is Judith Ray. I have performed various venues and I play a number of instruments. I love to read the music, but I read the music as a sighted person, and I am no longer sighted. This is within the last three or four years. So I was excited to hear all the resources that are available. All of you guys are teachers, my goodness. I was in need of someone. I do have the book from the National Library of Congress, Bettye Krolick.

Linn S.: Krolick.

Judith Ray: Krolick. I have that. They sent me both the written and the braille. Now, in the braille there's no written and in the written, there's no braille.

Linn S.: No. That's right.

Judith Ray: So I was having problems putting the two together in such a way that I could-

Linn S.: I do need to add something here, Judith, and that's when you first lose your vision usually you would start by learning to read literary braille, as in Braille Lit One, Two, Three, and Four or something, before you would go on to a math code or a music code. I think it just depends how far you are in literary when you're trying to get into music.

Debbie W.: Okay. Thank you, Judith, for your comments. I appreciate that. It sounds like you're really being proactive in moving forward with your goals since your vision loss, so we appreciate your enthusiasm for continuing to learn. I'm going to take a few more questions. We are at 12:30, but I'll take a couple more questions and then we're going to end our session. People who want to ask questions can bring them back next week for your Embracing Braille.

Let's take Lisa. Lisa, I'm going to unmute you.

Lisa: Excellent. I just have a really- what I think is a- quick and helpful suggestion for people who are playing piano who maybe are just getting started with the whole idea of reading and memorizing music. My suggestion would be, even if it's not your favorite style of music, which it is mine, but just start with Bach or one of the Baroque composers because they have a lot of counterpoint. So whether you're memorizing a minuet or an invention or whatever, you have melodies going on in the left and the right hand. I think in some ways that makes it easier to memorize because, especially the left hand is hard, because sometimes it's just this progression of chords. Whereas often there aren't as many notes to memorize, but also it's like you're memorizing two melodies and they sort of mimic each other. For me, I found that easier to memorize than many other types of music.

Debbie W.: Okay. Well, we are exactly at 12:30 so, Linn, I wondered if there was any final comments you wanted to wrap up with.

Linn S.: Okay. I mainly want to thank my colleagues and friends that have come to join in and tell varied stories about our world and how braille music affected them. They gave a chunk of their day to help us out here and I really appreciate it. Hopefully, the message we've all given you is it can be challenging, but sometimes something that's challenging is worth the effort. You heard from all of us that, to us, learning to read braille music is worth the effort. I want to thank you all.

I will, again, say thank you and especially to Debbie who has been helping me out today. I hope you all will keep on keeping on with hope of doing something with music.

Debbie W.: Well, and I want to thank Linn. Linn, thank you for sharing your expertise today and thank you to our guests, Karen, Katie, and Lynnie. It was a pleasure to have you all share your experiences with braille music. Also I am touched by your sharing your gifts with others as teachers. I think that's a wonderful gift that you're giving to everybody. I hope everybody learned something about Braille music today. I sure did. I would encourage everybody to continue to keep joining Embracing Braille, the discussion group. Please check out our website for more discussion groups that you might be interested in.

Bring your questions and comments next week to Vileen and continue to embrace braille. Thank you and good afternoon.