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What A Great Service!

I heard these words a lot this past weekend.

That’s because the NLS Music Section made its way to the NAfME (National Association for Music Education) conference in Grapevine, TX. While there, I was able to promote our service to music teachers from all over the country—and some future music teachers too!

The refrain I kept hearing over and over was “Wow! What a great service!” Many teachers either discussed theirs or a colleague’s experience teaching music to visually impaired students, or talked about how they wished they had known this program existed a few years ago when they had taught a visually impaired student. Others did not have experience teaching visually impaired students, but were thankful that a resource like the NLS Music Section exists.

One of the more popular resources I had brought along was a re-print of an article from a few years ago called “Resources for Helping Blind Music Students” by Mary A. Smaligo. This article discusses the avenues and options music teachers have to ensure that visually impaired students can access music materials as easily as any sighted student.

"Resources for Helping Blind Music Students" by Mary A. Smaligo

“Resources for Helping Blind Music Students” by Mary A. Smaligo

Another popular and new resource is our bibliography of method books in braille and large print. Although not available ready to be sent out as of today, if you are interested in this resource we can email you the list for a specific instrument. This publication is great for teachers who would like to see what is available for their students to use.

Many teachers were also interested in the large print music collection, remarking on how big the print is (and how much page turning would be required). I simply replied that our patrons are so happy to be receiving music they can use that they are not focusing on the page turns!

I also was able to correct some misconceptions about what braille music really is. Many teachers assumed it would be a tactile raised graphic of what is on the print page. I explained that music braille is a code—much like print music. Each braille symbol tells the reader something about the music, just like a p for piano and a number sign (#) for a sharp represent a bit of musical information to sighted folks.

Over all, we were able to spread the word to more musicians and teachers about our wonderful (and free!) service. Hopefully we will be talking to some more teachers in the future.

NLS Music Section at the 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival

NLS music section was at the 16th Library of Congress National Book Festival at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday, September 24, 2016, to greet visitors and explain about our services. This event provided a wonderful opportunity for outreach, and we were able to talk to a wide variety of people who were not aware […]

Music Catalogs for 2016: New and Improved!

As we are exiting the period that can still be referred to as “the new year” and are approaching the season of renewal known as spring, we’d like to highlight some of our recent publications, namely our new catalogs. Although we’ve had blog posts about magazines produced by the Music Section (Musical Mainstream and Contemporary […]

Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann — New Music Titles

Over the past month, the Music Section has added more than 45 new braille, audio, and large-print music titles by roughly twenty-five different composers to its collection. Together, just three composers, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, and Robert Schumann, wrote compositions that comprise nearly a quarter of the total amount of those additions. I thought it a good […]

George M!

“Over there! Over there!” “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy…” “You’re a grand old flag, you’re a high flying flag!” Do these songs seem familiar to you? Did you know that they were all written by the same composer, George M. Cohan? George M. Cohan (he’s usually referred to by his full name, middle initial and […]

Back to School

September signifies many things to us–cooler temperatures, leaves starting to turn, and…back to school! I would like to showcase some of the items requested with increasing frequency as the semester begins. We have some new titles and some that would be helpful if you’re looking for a guide. Most of these are intended for college […]

Remembering the Ladies!

Abigail Adams, in a letter dated March 31st, 1776 to her husband John Adams, advised him to “remember the ladies” in the creation of the new government, independent from Great Britain. This post will be published after March 31st and while Women’s History Month is past, I beg your patience as I also ask you […]

From Beginners to Virtuosi: Violin Music in the NLS Collection

Since Arcangelo Corelli’s 362nd birthday was just celebrated two days ago, I thought it a perfect time to talk about some of our violin music. Here at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) Music Section, many of our patrons are pianists and vocalists, but many also play other instruments, including […]

NLS Music Section Hits the Road–Performing Outreach

I have always considered the NLS Music Section’s home base in Washington D.C. as a very fine perk of my job. There are numerous opportunities for concerts with great venues such as Kennedy Center, the Strathmore, our own home at the Library of Congress and (according to me) the jewel in the crown of museums, […]