WBU-AP(Junior Group) Excellent Work
“HOW I BECAME A SUCCESSFUL MUSICIAN”
Australia Ria Andriani(19/female)
"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and everything."-Plato
When I meet someone on the street, they would tend to comment: "It must be terrible for you not to be able to see the beauty of the world."
Yet, is it so?I think not. There are many beauties in this world,and one of them is music.
People who live in the twenty-first century have access to the wealth of eight hundred years of recorded music in different styles and ranges.Since the invention of Stave notation by Guido D'Arezzo,it has been possible for music to be written and handed down from generation to generation.Yet, how much of this music is available to vision-impaired people?
Since the invention of the six-dot system by Louis Braille, it has been possible for blind people to read and to communicate their ideas by using the six miniscule dots.It also enabled the five-line Stave notation to be transformed into an available format.However, the work of transcribing these works of great composers since the medieval period has been a tedious and tricky endeavour.One needs to be very careful during this process to make it as accurate as possible.
WhenI was four, my mother was very supportive of my interest in the piano.She took me for lessons and I was greatly inspired by my teacher.The only problem was that my teacher could not teach me how to read the musical scorewhich was meant for sighted people.Nevertheless, for seven successive years, I received piano lessons and, for a time, violin lessons as well.By listening to the music played, it was possible for me to copy and replay the pieces.As it got more complicated, however, I often had difficulty coping.My mother used to despair over this but she was helpless to do anything.Once she brought me to a piano teacher who could read Braille music;but he lived in another city from ours and so it was not practical for me to be his student.
When I began year seven, I lived with my father and his family whilst my mother sought another situation in a foreign land.My piano skills were criticised and scorned because despite seven years of playing the piano, I could only remember a dozen pieces or so.My father resolved to seek out a teacher who could teach me to read Braille music.
Three years later, I was able to read simple piano pieces such as "Dance of the Hour" and "Trumerei" (simplified version).It was a serious task yet rewarding.I was beginning to remember more pieces and could peruse the ones I had forgotten.Yet I had no understanding of the beauty behind this form of art.
When I was in year eight, I began to sing in my school choir, not because I was keen on it but because I had no other choice.Although I was forced to do it as an extracurricular subject, I did enjoy the singing.But once again, I was faced with the problem of reading Stave notation.Although some piano pieces were available in the form of Braille music, I was not able to get the choral ones transcribed.Therefore, I relied on my memory to remember the pieces taught.
Singing with the choir was a consolation for me, especially as my life was not wonderful at the time.I found hidden meanings behind the wordsand I got new courage as I sang the songs.Until now, I am still involved in the choral activities.
One day I was let down when one of my papers in music was given only 3.5 marks out of ten simply because I did not understand the basic principles of Stave notation.The teacher sighed and groaned, indicating that teaching me was too complicatedand beyond her.At first I despaired; gradually I gained courageto go to a music school dedicated to blind people.
During my year ten in the music school, I was taught the basic principles of Braille music.I found that my comprehension in this area was superior as I had already been prepared through three years of piano lessons.To my delight, I was able to prove my superiority amongst my colleagues in the field.In reaction, however, I was reproached by those who had simply refused to learn Braille music, their reason being that it would stop creativity and sensitivity in their musicianship.In fact, I myself had been influenced by this view and I put a stop to my education in Braille music.My father added fuel to fire by pouring scorn on "set music" or written music; he preferred me to move on to Jazz which expressed greater liberality through improvisation.
When I moved to Australia, I attended a Braille Music Camp and I was obliged to sing with the choir.The work was difficult and much more advanced than what I had done before.Much more was also required of my ability and skills in reading the notated scores.Fortunately, as part of my School Certificate, I had gained much knowledge in preparing for the written examination on written music.
In times such as this, I was able to discover the true purpose and importance of writing down musical ideas.Besides, I had the advantage of being able to get my music transcribed into Braille.In this way, I found it much easier to learn and become familiar with the pieces I sang with the choir.
After committing myself to singing lessons, I began to realise that Braille music was a great help to me in advancing my progress.I also started appreciating that in these written scores, there were many hidden meanings which added to the beauty of a music piece, whether they were the Medieval Chants, the Great Operas of the Baroque, the Classical and Romantic pieces, or the most modern music of the theatre or even pop music.
Truly,music gives wings to the mind of those who yield to it and it gives flight to one's imagination.Music can be enjoyed by everyone without exception.Music certainly adds beauty to the world of eternal obscurity of the blind.We may have to live with reality but nothing is impossible once the eyes of the mind have been opened to another beauty in the passage beyond.