View Full Version : Resources for the visually impaired

12-01-2018, 12:13 PM
Hi folks, I have been playing ukulele for the past 5 years. I had played classical guitar for the previous 30 years but some minor hand arthritis convinced me to try the ukulele and now Iím hooked.
I have been diagnosed with macular degeneration which means I will be losing my central vision over time. I want to be proactive in exploring what is available for people that will not be able to read sheet music easily or at all. Iím wondering if there are technologies available to assist or ear training pedagogy that is very effective? I would appreciate any advice that this community might have. Thanks! Frank

12-01-2018, 05:28 PM
My mothers best friend who is in her 90's now has macular degeneration but still plays both the piano and recorder. She has found that as her vision has gotten worse her hearing is getting better. I suspect that will be the case with you as well and as sight reading becomes more difficult you will be able to pick things up by ear more easily. There are many ear training apps out there that play intervals for you that can be of some help if you really dedicate time to it. My last teacher stressed singing as the best training. Learn to sing the intervals and you will be able to hear them better. I didn't try that because I don't like to sing so I can't say if it works or not. I would think you would have to have some ability to sing intervals in the first place. If you have a significant other who can play they can help by playing intervals for you, or playing a pair of notes and you then find them on the uke. I have done that with some of the apps and found it useful.


12-01-2018, 07:17 PM
Thanks for the great advice. I turn 65 in several weeks and the doctors don’t think i will have decades. I appreciate this community...Frank

12-04-2018, 05:36 PM
Hi Frank! My daughter is blind (no sight at all) and plays classical piano, a bit of cello and can figure out notes on ukulele for finger picking by listening to songs. She had music teachers that recorded piano pieces and voiced over them what chords to play. (I was no help since I'm tone deaf, ha!)

Also you can contact the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (Library of Congress in Wash., DC) phone 800-424-8567 ext. 2. My daughter was able to get music from them .... I'll paste in some info:

The NLS music collection, authorized by Congress in 1962, includes braille and large-print musical scores, recorded instructional materials, and recorded materials about music and musicians. All materials are circulated postage free, and some digital audio and ebraille materials are available for download over the Internet. Any person eligible for NLS service is also eligible for NLS music services.

The folks there are very helpful ... not sure what they might have related to ukulele but you never know! (Interestingly, there is a Braille music notation system but it is quite tricky to use per my daughter, even though she reads/writes fluently in regular Braille....)


12-04-2018, 10:41 PM
Will you still be able to see an iPad as the disease progresses? If you want to be able to see sheet music or uke tabs maybe an iPad would help. You can pinch zoom-in to see better. I have all my music sheets on PDF in my iPad.