Our latest professional development workshop was at London's Wigmore Hall and focussed on the art of improvisation. You can find out more by reading our Tactile Music Workshop report.
A family day exploring exhibits in the Wallace Collection and imagining what might happen if they came to life after the museum closes... The story was told in music in a performance on the Wigmore Hall stage in the afternoon. Led by leaders from the Wallace Collection and Wigmore Hall.
This day celebrated 15 years of the Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund. This fund, administered by RNIB, has made awards to blind and partially sighted people to develop careers in the music business since 2000. The workshop was attended by many past awardees.
This event, in partnership with The Queens gallery, Buckingham Palace , was attended by 28 blind and partially sighted people, each with a companion. Experts gave informative descriptions of some key paintings and artefacts in the exhibition, including a musical clock. There was then the rare opportunity to handle some of the objects that had been described. Internationally-Renowned harpsichordist Professor John Henry, then gave an illustrated talk and recital on the Schudi harpsichord dating from 1740 which belonged to Frederick, Prince of Wales. Feedback was very favourable and it is hoped that further similar events might follow for future exhibitions.
This day was led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Baluji Shrivastav who introduced participants to the joys and intricacies of classical Indian rhythms. the day was attended by composers, teachers, drummers and instrumentalists. One participant wrote afterwards
"Ever since I left the workshop, I've been parsing every piece of music I hear in terms of 'ta takita takita'... What a fantastic day, thanks so much for organising this."
A day for blind and partially sighted adult musicians exploring the Royal Opera House, its spaces and acoustics and creating music inspired by listening to an open rehearsal.
An audio report of the 2010 day was produced for Vision, the bi-monthly magazine for RNIB members.
An afternoon for blind and partially sighted adult musicians and music-lovers at the Royal Opera House experiencing an orchestral rehearsal in amongst the orchestra. RNIB member Garry Denton offers his thoughts on the day below.
Inspired by a painting of the same name, the Handel House Museum welcomed blind and partially sighted musicians to discover the house, learn more about the instruments Handel played and create their own music.
"I thought we got one step closer to the composer through the unique opportunity of feeling the history and creating our own live work and hope this series can develop."
"It is immensely valuable to have taylor-made days such as this, when hands-on approach is definitely allowed, and you don't feel like an exhibit yourself if you want to look at the design of the furniture or even the windows. There are so many things in museums you can't get anywhere near & but special permission to touch when the public are trying to look can lead to a certain feeling of self-consciousness. I learned more about Georgian architecture by just getting more hands-on than I could anywhere else&The small group size is also a bonus. The descriptions of artwork and the décor of the house also helped to build up a picture of the life of Handel (applicable to anybody else) and understand the context of the music we all know& A much valued opportunity to learn. Thank you."
An exhibition held at RNIB for partially sighted musicians and those supporting them with mini presentations given by producers of hardware and software, music lighting and RNIB's Music Advisory Service on producing modified stave notation.
Kicking off our year of celebrations for Louis Braille's bicentenary, Feeling Good about Goodfeel gave blind and partially sighted musicians of all ages the chance to find out how technology can enable independent access to music scores in Braille with guest presenter Bill McCann from Dancing Dots.
Friday afternoons was the name given to a set of twelve songs by Benjamin Britten whose centenary is being celebrated this year with a number of projects and events. He wrote the songs in 1935 for his brother's school where Friday afternoons were devoted to music lessons. Soprano Elizabeth Capener introduced two of the songs before setting the ten blind and partially sighted participants the task of creating their own Friday afternoon song. You can read about the day and hear highlights from the final performance below.
For more details about the national project, please visit the Friday Afternoons website.
Comments from parents included:
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you both for such a great time and for organizing these events. S now feels that he is not the only one who can not see very well and that he can learn and share with other children with similar needs. As a mother, meeting other parents who are in similar circumstances, talking and sharing ideas is just fantastic."
"As a parent I would like to say that I consider these events invaluable, socially and educationally."
"We as parents had a great day, and found it really good. It gave a good opportunity for us to talk to the other parents as this is the only event where we mix with sight impaired children in an informal setting."
"This is the third Wigmore Hall event that we have been on and each has been as excellent as the last. The chance to make music in a group is quite rare and to be able to do so in such great surroundings with such brilliant musicians makes it all the more special. We can see the impact these days have on our children throughout the year, as they are able to remember being on stage or working in a group and can use the experience to grow their confidence in other areas. More than just a learning day though, the RNIB music events are also just jolly good fun and we always look forward to the next one."
A workshop exploring some of Handel's music and the sounds he may have heard from his windows, led by Kerry Andrew, Composer-in-Residence at the Handel House Museum.
An instrumental workshop led by performer and instrument maker Nicholas Perry culminating in a very loud pair of bagpipes&
As part of the Louis Braille bicentenary celebrations, the Music Advisory Service ran two workshops for young blind musicians using braille music. The second was held at the Salvation Army, Regent Hall and included a lunchtime concert given by the tutors and a concert given by the participants.
Comments from the participants included:
"When you first start out no matter how hard you find learning braille music keep on trying and trying. It has already begun to change my life in the way I look at music. Before I started learning braille music, I did not know a thing about music. When people talked about crotchets, quavers and minims, I had no clue what they were on about, but now I have started learning braille music, all that has become clear to me. I am on the way to a different life thanks to braille music. So keep on trying, keep on struggling until you can read braille music and sing at the same time!"
"This is just a note to say a big thank you for the Braille Music Day. I really enjoyed the day and meeting all the other participants. It was interesting listening to the others play and seeing what can be achieved. I was very impressed. It was great fun playing on a grand piano in such a lovely hall, but I have to admit it did make me feel quite nervous! I hope there will be more braille days to come."
A creative music workshop using Optimusic led by its founder Guy Sigalov.