Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

Teach Yourself to Play an Instrument

Photo of hands playing piano

Are you blind or visually impaired? Have you always wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument, but either can’t find a teacher or can’t afford one? My name is Ann Harrison and I am going to give you some quick tips that will help you learn how to play your favorite instrument. I am teaching myself how to play the piano because I have found music a great source of healing during a really tough time in my life and I want to share God’s healing power through music.

You may be asking yourself, “How does she do it?” I will give you a variety of suggestions for resources that I used to learn how to play. I utilized these resources a lot, but I also tried to improvise on my own.

National Library Service logoFirst of all, I would like to encourage you to contact the music section of the National Library service (NLS) for the blind and physically handicapped. They have a wealth of music material such as music scores in braille and large print, recorded instructional materials for a variety of instruments that are taught by several different instructors. They also have courses on music theory, including understanding the fundamentals of music, understanding the language of music, and much much more. I have found many of these materials to be very helpful in learning to play the piano. To find out more about what the music section has to offer, call toll-free at 1-800-424-8567.

However, if you want to learn more than what the music section has to offer, or want to learn a specific piece of music, there are online resources out there such as YouTube that has lesson videos and audio files for dozens of instruments. I personally found the videos that teach the four basic chords, (major, minor, augmented, and diminished) to be very helpful. I cannot see what the instructor is playing, but he does a great job of talking the viewer through his technique. If you search for a specific video on YouTube, be sure that the video has enough verbal information as well as demonstrations so you can follow the instructor even though you can’t see what he/she is playing.

Photo of YouTube Screenshot of Guitar Lesson

Right now, I am working on some intermediate piano techniques, learning to play by ear, and working on improvisation. I sometimes play for my church and local nursing homes. I have also tried to teach myself how to read braille music, but found it very tedious at best. At some point I would like to record a CD called Music From the Heart to Heal the Soul.

Please feel free to comment and let me know if this information has been helpful. If you are a musician who is reading this, please feel free to share your tips and any pointers you may have, as they are certainly welcome.

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