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Back to School with Braille Music, Band Books, and Bastien!

Greetings, music lovers! The month of September is upon us, and for many that means a return to school, classes, or lessons. Even if your school days are long gone, you may be interested in cultivating a new skill, such as learning to read braille music or playing the piano! The NLS Music Section offers music instruction books for many instruments in three formats: braille, audio, and large print. In today’s blog post, we feature a selection of new (or newly-digitized) additions to our braille music collection that can help you achieve your goals in a new year of growth and learning.

Please note that all the materials listed below are also available to borrow by mail, not only through BARD. Contact the Music Section to borrow hard copies. Call us at 800-424-8567 ext. 2, or e-mail us at [email protected] If you are new to BARD, you may find the following links helpful: Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) and BARD Access.

Braille Music Course Books from Hadley

If you’d like to learn to read braille music notation, the NLS Music Section has many resources to help. An excellent recent addition to our collection is the donation of materials for four braille music courses that were formerly offered by the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The courses are Braille Music Basics, Braille Music Reading, Braille Music Reading: Keyboard Music, and Braille Music Reading: Vocal Music. The course books are available in both braille and large print, and Braille Music Reading also includes audio exercises. The braille and audio materials are available to download from the Music Collection on BARD, or to borrow in hard copy through the mail. The large-print course books are available to download from our website under “Braille Music Course Materials from Hadley,” or to borrow in hard copy through the mail. We hope our patrons benefit from these wonderful resources for learning braille music!

Braille Music Basics: Textbook for the course “Braille Music Basics” developed by Hadley. The course was intended for adults who are sighted and wish to learn the basics of braille music in order to support braille music learners and possibly pursue further training in teaching braille music or transcribing print music into braille. The course consists of five chapters: Beginning Braille Music, Expressions and Other Procedures, Vocal Music, Keyboard Music, and Teaching and Transcribing Braille Music.

Braille Music Reading: Textbook for the course “Braille Music Reading” developed by Hadley. Whether a student once read print music or never read music before, whether the student is a beginner or an experienced musician, this course teaches how to read single-line melodies in the braille music code. It introduces music fundamentals while explaining how to read rhythms, pitches, and other elements in braille music. Abundant exercises allow students to practice their skills, and audio illustrations (DBM04340) for almost all of the exercise tracks help them check their progress.

Braille Music Reading: Keyboard Music: “A continuation to the course ‘Braille Music Reading’ (BRM37002), this course enables students to read keyboard music in braille. For those who play piano or another keyboard instrument, reading braille keyboard music will expand their musical experiences. The ability to read braille music allows players to study and practice independently. The course provides abundant exercises excerpted and transcribed from print piano and organ music, which allow students to practice their skills. A print companion edition of the course book and music is available for sighted teachers and assistants (LPM00902). Volume 3 includes a supplementary discussion for readers of braille keyboard music by Karen Gearreald, designed for current encouragement and future reference. Prerequisite Skills: successful completion of ‘Braille Music Reading’ (BRM037002); ability to play the piano or another keyboard instrument at any level; access to a piano or another keyboard instrument (acoustic or electronic, 61 keys minimum); and excellent literary braille skills.”

Braille Music Reading: Vocal Music: “A continuation to the course ‘Braille Music Reading’ (BRM37002), this course enables students to read vocal music in braille. For those who sing in a choir or sing solo with or without accompaniment, reading braille vocal music will expand their musical experiences. The ability to read braille music allows singers to study and practice independently. The course provides abundant examples excerpted and transcribed from classical and popular solo and choral vocal music. These examples allow students to practice their vocal music reading skills. You can use what you learn here to write down songs you hear or compose on your own. A print companion edition of the course book and music is available for sighted teachers and assistants (LPM00903). Prerequisite Skills: successful completion of ‘Braille Music Reading’ (BRM037002); access to a piano or another keyboard instrument (acoustic or electronic, 61 keys minimum) for identifying pitches and playing melodies to be sung; and excellent literary braille skills.”

Tradition of Excellence Band Method Books in Braille

The NLS Music Section offers many method books in braille for various instruments, as well as instruction in audio and large-print formats. Since we strive to offer series that are popular with school music programs, such as Standard of Excellence and Essential Elements, we are thrilled to announce our newest series of method books in braille is Tradition of Excellence by Bruce Pearson and Ryan Nowlin.

Bassoon, Book 1 (BRM37197)

B-Flat Clarinet, Book 1 (BRM37199)

B-Flat Bass Clarinet, Book 1 (BRM37198)

E-Flat Alto Clarinet, Book 1 (BRM37200)

Baritone/Euphonium in Bass Clef, Book 1 (BRM37206)

Flute, Book 1 (BRM37201)

E-Flat Alto Saxophone, Book 1 (BRM37126)

E-Flat Baritone Saxophone, Book 1 (BRM37155)

B-Flat Tenor Saxophone, Book 1 (BRM37128)

E-Flat Horn [Tenor Horn], Book 1 (BRM37202)

Horn in F [French Horn], Book 1 (BRM37204)

Oboe, Book 1 (BRM36960)

Percussion, Book 1 (BRM36863). Also available in large print (LPM00862).

Trombone, Book 1 (BRM37205)

Trumpet, Book 1 (BRM37240)

E-Flat Tuba, Book 1 (BRM37203)

Bastien Piano Series in Braille

Bastien piano lesson books have been popular among piano teachers for decades, and the Music Section is pleased to offer classic, newly-digitized Bastien series in braille from their voluminous collection of method books, including Bastien Piano Basics and Bastien Piano Library. Please note that the Music Section also offers many other popular piano method series in braille, such as Piano Adventures, Alfred, Frances Clark, David Carr Glover, John Thompson, and John W. Schaum. Contact the Music Section to learn more about these series.

Bastien Piano Basics

Transcribed by National Braille Press (1997) and MN State Services for the Blind (1995). Bar over bar format.

 Primer (BRM36233)

 Level 1 (BRM32959)

Level 2: vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, vol. 4, vol. 5 (BRM32961)

Level 3: vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, vol. 4 (BRM32963)

Bastien Piano Library

Transcribed under the sponsorship of NLS (1977). Bar over bar format.

Method

 Piano Lessons – Primer (BRM30970)

 Piano Lessons – Level 1 (BRM30545)

 Piano Lessons – Level 2 (BRM30559)

 Piano Lessons – Level 3 (BRM32019)

 Piano Lessons – Level 4 (BRM28354)

Note Speller

Note Speller – Level 1: vol. 1, vol. 2 (BRM24980) 

Sight Reading

 Sight Reading – Level 1 (BRM24696)

 Sight Reading – Level 2 (BRM28364)

 Sight Reading – Level 3 (BRM30944) 

Solo Collections

Piano Solos – Primer (BRM24694)

 Piano Solos – Level 1 (BRM32021)

 Piano Solos – Level 2 (BRM25714)

 Piano Solos – Level 3 (BRM25705)

Piano Solos – Level 4 (BRM30561) 

Technic

 Technic Lessons – Primer (BRM24685)

Theory

 Theory Lessons – Primer (BRM24693)

Theory Lessons – Level 2 (BRM36996)

Rock On! “Stairway to Heaven” Turns 50

This blog post takes a look at “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin on the eve of its 50th birthday. Materials from the NLS Music Collection on rock music and guitars are featured.

American Composers and Blind Musicians from A to Z: U-V (Part 2 – Ungár, Imré)

Today’s blog post continues our series of American composers and blind musicians with Hungarian pianist Imré Ungár.

Flashing Back on Jimi Hendrix

In this week’s NLS Music Notes blog, learn about the incredible artistry of Jimi Hendrix–who challenged most preconceived notions of popular music in the 20th century to create a new space for music appreciation.

The French Connection: French Composers for Organ

This blog post looks at the life of two renowned French composers for organ (Louis Vierne and Olivier Messiaen), and their compositions in the NLS Music Collection.

Song Stories: Two Tales of September

For this week’s NLS Music Notes blog, our series “Song Stories” looks at two different takes on the month of September.

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: S (Part 2 – Stuckey, Joey)

For this week’s NLS Music Notes blog, learn about the inspiring story of Joey Stuckey–a remarkable person who overcame incredible odds to achieve success as a singer, guitarist, producer, and educator.

Remembering “Pershing’s Own” on Independence Day: Military Band Music in the NLS Collection

Independence Day has many associations: fireworks, barbecues, parades, and iconic military bands. In this week’s NLS Music Notes blog post, Carter Rawson explores the history behind one of our greatest national treasures, the United States Army Band.

Song Stories: Time Out for “Take Five”

As with many songs, “Take Five” has a story that is more encompassing than just the notes on the page or the sounds from a recording. It talks about overcoming obstacles, articulating a creative vision, and seizing upon spontaneity. In this week’s NLS Music Notes Blog, our series “Song Stories” explores the “Cool Jazz” standard, “Take Five.”

Song Stories: April in Paris

This week, as part of our series, “Song Stories,” learn more about the origins of the melody and lyric that lifted the spirits of the world during the Great Depression: “April in Paris.”