1. Always have new song lyrics in Braille format for your student to reference. Having your song lyrics transcribed into Braille provides your student another opportunity to read! Remember: Blind students may not always have the same opportunities to see sight-words in their environment or have Braille reading materials readily available as their sighted peers. Use all opportunities to develop Braille reading and literacy skills. Your student should also be introduced to the Braille music code as they advance through their music education.
2. Use a Braille folder to store lesson materials for future reference. Be sure to have this folder marked with Braille for easy identification.
3. Record short musical passages, song lyrics and individual lines in school plays and send them home with your student for reference in learning their specific part. Be sure to have all song lyrics and play lines transcribed into Braille for easy reference.
4. Use Braille labeling to assist your student in locating specific notes on the piano, xylophone, recorder etc. Braille markings will allow for easy musical note identification. Hands-on exploration of the piano, xylophone or recorder will provide your student with information about musical notes that they may not understand with only auditory presentation. Ex: musical notes move up and down through the scale and musical notes look different based on where they appear on the scale and whether they appear as whole notes, half notes etc.
5. Provide creative solutions for hands-on tactual demonstrations of: music staff, treble and bass clef, time signature and musical notes such as use of raised lined music paper for demonstrations. Tactual demonstrations will greatly support auditory information.
6. Use tactual markers on your raised line music paper to demonstrate treble and bass clef, time signatures and musical notes. Tactual markers are commercially available in different sizes and textures.
7. Support your student’s understanding of time signatures by modeling each signature using a conductor’s baton for demonstrations. A Hands-on approach will provide your blind/visually impaired student a tactual, kinesthetic motion/movement of the time signature. This approach will assist your student with understanding of downbeat, time signatures and the rhythm/beat of music. Follow-up with a tactual graphic of the time signature which can be easily made using tactual markers or dried glue.
8. Pair sighted students with blind/visually impaired students for duplication of teacher gestures during songs. Blind students are unable to view teacher song gestures that are frequently used in elementary education music class.
9. Provide your student with hands on exploration/demonstration of at least one instrument from each family of musical instruments such as: woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings.
10. Have your student make their own musical instrument such as a basic drum or maracas to take home to practice/explore rhythms.
11. Provide your student with some homemade Braille music paper and tactual markers so they can compose their own simple musical notations. Be sure to share these musical creations with the class.
12. Demonstrate rhythms using favorite poems that correlate to specific time signatures.