Assistive Technology Program

In summer 2010, Berklee College of Music started a program to fully integrate blind students into the Berklee experience. The objective of the program was to empower blind and visually impaired students to create and perform music at the highest levels, translating into a successful career in music. We believed that with the right support system, and a working knowledge of today’s assistive technology, these students could succeed at the same levels as their sighted musician peers.

In recent years Berklee has increased its focus on music technology, but the inaccessible technology used in the classroom made it difficult for blind students to fully participate in their courses. In order to remove these barriers, Berklee hired Chi Kim, a Berklee alum and NYU graduate, to teach the students assistive music technology that would allow them to participate in their classes more effectively and eventually become independent musicians. The course includes audio recording production, music scoring, and Braille music that are necessary in any music-related career. Beyond the course on assistive music technology, the overall program is responsible for ensuring that blind students have the same opportunities at Berklee as their sighted peers. In particular, this has been done by initiating conversion of all core text books into Braille and accessible electronic format, collaborating with multiple departments and faculty, and partnering with other institutions. Mr. Kim has also been providing consultations on assistive technology for other schools.

Integrating students with special needs is not always easy, and requires openness to innovation and novel ways of thinking. Through this program, Berklee is leading the way by fully educating and empowering talented blind musicians, and serving as a model for other institutions across the country.

 

Student Testimonials:

Wayne Pearcy

The assistive technology course has been a great enhancement in my education. I have always believed that blind students such as myself deserve this wonderful opportunity. I'm so thrilled to be a part of a revolution in music education for the blind, and I take pride in knowing that it is happening here at Berklee. I would like to thank Berklee for providing me and my fellow blind students with this great opportunity. I believe that we have what it takes to be a leading force in music education for the blind as well as advocates for accessibility in regards to music technology. I have some other tunes that I've written, but I had to rely on friends to help me write them down. It was a great feeling to be able to do this independently..

I'm so proud to have Chi as an instructor. He has so much knowledge about the subject. He is very good at presenting material and makes the class interesting. I hope that he continues as a teacher of this course. I believe he is a huge asset to the college.

 

Natalia Sulca

When I arrived at Berklee in fall 2010, I was worried because I had no idea how I'd have the same playing field in a school of music that my sighted counterparts did. Never in a million years did I imagine the fantastic program that awaited me at Berklee. Not only was I going to be taught how to write a lead sheet, and chart, but I was going to be learning to read Braille music as well! In this past year I have grown immensely as a musician, thanks to this wonderful class. This program at berklee is a tremendous step forward for blind musicians like myself. Because of it, we will have equal ground in the music industry we all want to be a part of.


Noe Socha

I found this class very interesting and stimulating. It has allowed me to be more independent in my life. I love the fact we are able to write and record our own music without asking somebody else to help us do it. I feel better when I can do my own stuff, more independently and free. Now, if I have a musical idea, I will be able to write it and record it by myself. And it would be accepted and understood by everyone. Everyone would be able to read it or listen to it. The teacher is great. Chi is a very nice person, ready to help you if you didn't understand some of the material, and has a great knowledge of the material he teaches.

 

 

Here are links about the program.

 

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Technology Gives Blind Students a Better View of Music - Technology

http://chronicle.com/article/Technology-Gives-Blind/125434/

Also has a video.

 

The Boston Globe

Berklee introduces music program for blind students

http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2010/08/09/berklee_introduces_music_program_for_blind_students/

 

Mix Magazine

Audio Education for the Blind: Berklee College of Music Revamps Program for Visually Impaired Students

http://mixonline.com/mixline/berklee_visually_impaired_program_0211/

 

Berklee College of Music

Equal Access for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

http://www.berklee.edu/news/2671/equal-access-for-blind-and-visually-impaired-stu

 

Berklee College of Music

Berklee Launches Program for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

http://www.berklee.edu/news/2139/berklee-launches-program-for-blind-and-visually

 

Back Bay, MA Patch

Perkins School for the Blind and Berklee College of Music Students Join Pianist Lisa Hilton for a Night of Jazz

http://backbay.patch.com/announcements/perkins-school-for-the-blind-and-berklee-college-of-music-students-join-pianist-lisa-hilton-for-a-night-of-jazz

 

Back Bay, MA Patch

Paris Hilton's Aunt at Berklee to Support Program for Visually Impaired Students

http://backbay.patch.com/articles/paris-hiltons-aunt-at-berklee-to-support-program-for-visually-impaired-students


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kholly@berklee.edu,
Apr 10, 2013, 5:34 PM
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