1st Edition

Insights in Sound Visually Impaired Musicians' Lives and Learning

By David Baker, Lucy Green Copyright 2017
    302 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Music has long been a way in which visually impaired people could gain financial independence, excel at a highly-valued skill, or simply enjoy musical participation. Existing literature on visual impairment and music includes perspectives from the social history of music, ethnomusicology, child development and areas of music psychology, music therapy, special educational needs, and music education, as well as more popular biographical texts on famous musicians. But there has been relatively little sociological research bringing together the views and experiences of visually impaired musicians themselves across the life course. Insights in Sound: Visually Impaired Musicians’ Lives and Learning aims to increase knowledge and understanding both within and beyond this multifaceted group. Through an international survey combined with life-history interviews, a vivid picture is drawn of how visually impaired musicians approach and conceive their musical activities, with detailed illustrations of the particular opportunities and challenges faced by a variety of individuals. Baker and Green look beyond affiliation with particular musical styles, genres, instruments or practices. All 'levels' are included: from adult beginners to those who have returned to music-making after a gap; and from 'regular' amateur and professional musicians, to some who are extraordinarily 'elite' or 'successful'. Themes surrounding education, training, and informal learning; notation and ear playing; digital technologies; and issues around disability, identity, opportunity, marginality, discrimination, despair, fulfilment, and joy surfaced, as the authors set out to discover, analyse, and share insights into the worlds of these musicians.

    Note On The Text

    Chapter 1: Background, Aims, And Context

    Chapter 2: Musical Starting Points And Reasons For Involvement

    Chapter 3: Learning At School

    Chapter 4: Teachers’ Knowledge And Skills; Students’ Confidence And Autonomy

    Chapter 5: Light, Gesture, Language And Touch In Music Teaching And Learning

    Chapter 6: Learning And Participation Beyond The School

    Chapter 7: Visual, Tactile And Aural Media: Stave Notation, Braille Music, And The Ear

    Chapter 8: Being A "Musician" Or Being A "Disabled Musician"

    Chapter 9: Digital Music Technologies: The Changing Landscape

    Chapter 10: Digital Music Technologies, Access, And The Music Industry

    Chapter 11: Aspirations And The Search For Fulfillment As A Musician


    David Baker, Lucy Green

    Baker and Green have written a landmark study of the perspectives and practices of visually impaired musicians. Through opening up this musical world within such a broad range of musical contexts, they have succeeded in offering powerful insights to both musicians and educators, which can only serve to enrich our understanding, knowledge and practice.

    Gordon Cox, University of Reading, UK


    Insights In Sound offers a substantial contribution to the field. Using the colorful and insightful stories collected from hundreds of visually impaired musicians and the individuals who work with them, Baker and Green offer a comprehensive picture of the complexity of visually impaired musicians’ lives. This is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the lived experiences of musicians, or music education for the visually impaired.

    Chi Gook Kim, Berklee College of Music, USA


    Finally there is a text that addresses the lives of visually impaired musicians, and dispels the myths surrounding their abilities and disabilities. The authors reflect on the voices of those who create, perform, and experience music without the benefits of full eyesight, offering fresh perspectives and insights on the meaning of creativity and musicality.

    Suzanne B. Hanser, Berklee College of Music, USA