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Lighthouse Uses Music Technology to Teach Visually Impaired Students

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Jul 26, 2017

Speaking recently to the Consumer Technology Association, Dalia Sakas, a music teacher at Lighthouse Guild (New York, NY), discussed the role of technology in reaching music students with visual impairments. While working at Lighthouse Guild, Sakas realized the importance of technological tools for making music learning accessible to those who may not be able to use traditional learning techniques.

“When I began teaching children, I realized that many of the current songs of different genres were not being transcribed [into braille], and our students were relegated to playing the same classical literature that had been taught for so many years.  Where was the kicky material to keep a young student’s interest?” Sakas asked.

“We soon discovered that Dancing Dots Technologies had released software that translated music into music braille. We invested in these programs (Lime and Goodfeel) and the whole course of our teaching changed. We were no more relegated to using material that happened to exist already. We could choose new arrangements of current songs or more obscure pieces that nobody had transcribed yet.”

Ultimately, these new technological platforms expanded the school’s student base, made the teachers more relevant and responsive to their students, and created new opportunities for organizational growth.

About the Lighthouse Music School

A division of Lighthouse International, serving people of all ages with vision loss. The Lighthouse Music School serves approximately 150 students from the greater New York area. Instruction is given in piano, voice, guitar, winds, percussion, Braille music, and assistive music technology. Performance groups include an adult vocal ensemble, children's chorus, teen instrumental ensemble, jazz ensemble, and percussion ensemble. A library of more than 25,000 scores in Braille and large print is maintained for student use. Also available is a service for requesting large print/Braille music customized to suit the needs of visually impaired students nationwide. Facilities also include a Yamaha Clavinova Lab, an assistive music technology center, and a 240-seat auditorium with state-of-the-art acoustics and lighting. An important mission of the School is the training of music teachers who are sighted to work with students who are visually impaired.

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