2018-05-16 00:13:05

So for whoever doesn't know, I'm playing drums. I have been playing them for, uh, what, almost a year now? Most of it in jazzband. No, I didn't die, surprisingly, I was able to keep up just fine, however, a couple weeks ago my teacher approached me and asked me if I want to do marching band. I told her I wasn't planning on it, though it wasn't out of the realm of possibility, and after a few, things have been sorted out I signed up for it.
I should explain the way I learned music. I'm taking private lessons to learn drums, so my drum instructor helped me with it. The lessons are a week apart, though, so that won't work for marching band. To put it into a perspective, I have to know about uh, what, 13 things by July 16th? Yeah, something like that. It's a lot, and it's fine. I'm willing to learn it, but, here's the main problem.
I played French horn earlier, so I know how to read basic braille music, but that was in an actual school for the blind. Here, in US, we don't even know where to start looking for where to get a software of some sort to get braille music, and even if we did, how would I know what it means? So why can't I ask the school I've been in earlier? Yeah, you do that. Keep in mind, that school's in Ukraine, and you're in USA. I'm posting here in hopes that someone might know where to start digging. The school I'm currently in says that they will quote Look for it quote, but that's what they all say, and frankly, I don't wana take a risk with something like this. My TVI found a braille music manual so she could transcribe it by hand, but after looking at it for a while she said that there were multiple styles of music in there, and that the manual is 500 pages long. So yea! Any tips? I'm open to anything.
Also, something I thought about, they did promise to get me recordings for the drum set part, but again, that's what they all say. Out of the songs that we've played this year, which is around 5 for me, I got a recording for... wait for it, wait for it, 1 song! Also, the reason why I played only 5 songs is because there are 3 drummers in band, including me, so we kind of had to split the pieces. So yeah, like I said, tips, links, anything would be welcomed at this point.

Thumbs up

2018-05-16 01:38:56


I didn't know you took the French horn. For me, as a Piano player, I tried reading braille music and I just didn't get the concept of it. I sort of got it but not really. And plus I do have perfect pitch and for those who don't, I have a book on Braille music but it's from the 90s I think. I'm also starting to create free orchestral music as well.

Thumbs up

2018-05-16 02:44:18

Maybe because I went to boarding school who taught it in the worst possible way, I really don't think much to braille music. The system is just plane illogical, EG calling a C a D etc,  in terms of representing notes, plus you can't actually read as you play or sing the way sighted people do so of course you need to basically memorise everything as c crochit, D minnim and so on which is to me harder work than just trying  memorise the piece as it is.

Try braille music if you like, but personally I can't stand the thing and find it utterly pointless.

to me, I love learning music, its a challenge and a stimulus to my brain, and of course the more you learn, the better you get at it, indeed these days I find it easier to learn by ear than I do to translate into the sort of musical notation that braille music requires, EG I am not thinking "C crochit, E quaver etc" when I'm singing for all I can think that way if needed as I've had to in the past for musical theory tests.

I'd therefore suggest myself just having your teacher play what you need to learn onto a tape, having the drum part separate to the melody, and then listening a lot, by the time you've heard it 100 times you should be familiar enough with where the drums go to put them in, indeed its an important skill to learn as a musician.

If you want to try braille music your welcome to, its just  not something I'd recommend myself.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

Thumbs up

2018-05-16 02:46:01 (edited by magurp244 2018-05-16 02:47:14)

There's also a few resources around for Braille Music, including a few software tools:

[Wikipedia: Braille Music]
[Braille Music Tools]
[NFB: Braille Music Resources]
[Braille Music Technology]

-BrushTone v1.3.3: Accessible Paint Tool
-AudiMesh3D v1.0.0: Accessible 3D Model Viewer

Thumbs up

2018-05-16 07:32:42

it really depends. I am a professional musician, Have played piano all my life, and could play whatever you want. Jazz, classical, ragtime (its lots of fun by the way) folk from some places (always looking to expand, of course!) and I have rarely used music Braille. First because it is very bulky, and hard to carry around. Second, its hard to do annotations (that is what whatsapp voice notes are for, right?)? and third, the whole sight reading versus memorizing deal. Its of course a hundred times better to just learn things and have them in memory, be really sure about them just as you will never hesitate to sing a tune like happy birthday.. that applies to hopefully, every single note and rhythm you play.
Forth.. there is no real guide for drum notation or more modern  notation like the newer accordion method. So every sheet music you have or translate will have to have its own legend explained to you and that will not work at all if you do not know how printed music looks. For example, the snare would be the third line of the g clef, the kick is the first line, and the left crash cymbal is the space between the second and third lines.
Learning written music is unfortunately vastly inefficient using music Braille alone, but it can be done none the less if you put the time and effort into it.. its just lamentably about 5 times slower because music is described really differently.
I have only used music braille for my other blind students when I need them to do some quick dictation exercises or something of the sort, but it has really no practical use for real life.
I have used lilypond to produce my own music sheet to play my arrangements and compositions with other musicians and in groups where, say I am the only blind person. Its honestly better if someone can typeset or digitize your parts (if that is really really needed, in marching I really don't see the need anyway, probably in classical is more obvious) then you export them to xml, and then have a program like lilypond represent it into its more concise syntax and export the midi so you can hear it, or, if you are so inclined, braille music editor converts from music xml to music braille, htough its accuracy I have not tested but I could assure its a reliable representation.

Thumbs up

2018-05-16 08:36:54

There is a new piece of software that was released only a couple of months ago. A person creates a MusicXML file (which you can do in just about any score creation application), and then open the file in the the IBOS MusicXML Reader. Then you will be able to read the music notation using a screen reader, and if you have a braille display, you can use that too. I have no idea about how well this will work for drum notation.

Thumbs up

2018-05-16 17:17:43

Drum notation is tricky. If you're only reading one line it's okay, but if you need more than say three, it gets complicated. I recommend learning by ear, have your section leader help you out or another drummer. Marching band does have patterns so it's not so bad to pick up. Jazz is nice because once you know what the piece is, you can add in hits wherever they are warranted. If something is needed, your director will tell you.


Thumbs up

2018-05-18 00:22:13

So let me get this strait. There is not a standard for drum notation? Each piece will look different? Sorry, I just wana double check.

Thumbs up

2018-05-19 08:48:06

that is absolutely correct. So unless you happen to pay the same transcriber who uses the same representation all the time, it will not happen. One sheet may indicate and F as the snare, and the other a C, and the other a g and so on.

Thumbs up