Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra
V: Let’s start episode 187 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. This question was sent by Dan. He writes:
Hi Vidas and Ausra. What an excellent topic. I’m totally blind here, and have learned my music by ear for years. I did a bit of stuff with Braille music, (That could be another option,) if your listener already reads literary Braille, he could take up music Braille. For me however, I found it to be tedious and slow. Speaking of recorded tutorials on pieces, I thought you had done one going over the Prelude and fugue in c-minor of Bach, BWV 549), at one time. I’d purchased it off your site at the time you’d posted it, but I’d only gotten the first bit of the prelude, just up to slightly after the pedal solo, there wasn’t anything further. I really liked the way you’d went over it too.
V: So another question about practice suggestions for blind people, right?
V: I know I don’t have any experience with literary or music Braille versions so I don’t have much to add do you?
A: Me neither.
V: But what I have heard from other people is that music Braille is not very comfortable to use. They have special printers I think, very expensive ones so they could print out music and they can feel with their hands and touch the music sheet and that way they can read the music.
A: Yes, that is true.
V: But probably the easiest way is the one that Dan describes when somebody posts a piece of music recorded in advance separate parts only. Soprano, alto, tenor, bass and played very very slowly and that way a person who cannot see can play along.
A: That’s true but I think this method only works if you have a good ear you know, because if you don’t have a good ear then it’s hard for you then it would be easier to learn from the Braille notation.
V: Um-hmm. Right. Do you think they have a Braille language for every language of the world or just English and other languages are separate?
A: I hope that it’s universal.
V: Like sign language you know for people that cannot hear.
A: Yes, silent language is different, sign language is different for each nation so this is I think you know ridiculous. Because that way we cannot communicate let’s say Lithuanian and American people and that’s just too bad. We could have some sort of you know universal sign language like Esperanto for example.
V: Um-hmm. I hope people are creating something like that in time. So, I think people who cannot see should not be too discouraged to play the organ, don’t you think?
A: Well, yes I understand that you know it’s hard when you have such slow progress. And the way that the learning of the piece is going so slowly but I think you know I think it should give them some enjoyment and it’s very important.
V: Deep sense of enjoyment I would add because it’s through their enormous efforts that they could memorize the piece.
A: Yes and I think as a final result we really have to know the piece very well. I don’t think that we know our pieces that we are performing so well.
V: We, you mean you and I?
A: Yes. And I mean in general everybody who sees, who can see.
V: Um-hmm. You know in a sense they could think of themselves as visually challenged, right? They cannot see as well as some other person can. But then you and I are challenged in another way right? Maybe technically, maybe some other things we cannot do well that that particular person, the blind person can do better.
A: I think it should be like this if you know if you lose one, one sense of yourself you need to develop some some some other you know skills and maybe you have better hearing or you know.
V: And I heard it’s not always the case. It’s one of those myths you know that if you lose your vision you can feel with your touch better or smell or hear. Yes, there are some like that but not always I’ve read.
A: But I always admire you know people who face those challenges and overcome them.
V: Exactly. There are blind painters earlier we looked up beautiful paintings. I cannot even begin to imagine how they you know differentiate those beautiful colors and they probably see the colors or color combinations in their mind right?
A: Yes, that’s a sort of mystery for me.
A: How do they do it.
V: Or like Beethoven and other people who could not hear from outside they had this inner sense of listening and creating.
A: So, maybe you know for people with vision trouble, you know for blind people maybe they have sort of you know inner vision too and that’s how they can paint.
V: Yeah, they imagine the world around them and it probable depends whether they were blind from birth or whether they developed it later on.
A: Yes, I think it makes a big difference because as a kid you can see and differentiate different colors and probably you might be able you know to paint after losing your vision. It was the same with Beethoven losing his hearing. Like for example for myself I can hear music sounding inside my head almost all the time.
V: Mmm. Wouldn’t it be interesting for us to talk to that person who is blind organist and discuss that that in person and in real life those issues that he or she could transfer their experience.
A: Yes I think this would be the right way to do it.
V: So guys, if any of our students and listeners and readers are visually challenged right, in any way or entirely blind and want to share your experience with the world how you learn music, how you adapt right, how you orient yourself in daily life, that would be absolutely amazing topic for discussion right? So send us an email. We would be glad to arrange a conversation with you online right, and we could post it as a podcast too.
A: Yes it would be very interesting and you know exciting experience for us too.
V: I think we need to understand each other better and one of the first steps is to know each other better and share those experiences. Just like people from around the world are sometimes sending us emails about how they live, right, and about what challenges they have in South America, Australia, Africa, Asia, right, and North America and Europe. Various countries have their own ways of life and were all different but at the end we are all united with a common passion for organ.
A: That’s true.
V: At least for organ, there are many others right? All right. Thank you guys, this was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: And please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow. And remember when you practice…
A: Miracles happen.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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