Teaching a person with impaired vision

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RAI
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Teaching a person with impaired vision

#1 Post by RAI » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:54 pm

Hello!

So, I'm about to start teaching my 15 year old nephew how to play guitar.
The sad thing is that he is slowly going blind. At this point, he can still see, but is considered legally blind.
I sat down and wrote out some basic theory, in the largest font size I could fit on a regular sheet of paper.
Each sheet with a basic concept (such as the intervals of a scale, or how a chord is constructed).
Is there anyone out there that have some pointers on how I should approach this, or general recommendations?

Thanks, y'all!

Rai

:guitar

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#2 Post by Jeries » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:10 am

not having to do with vision at all...
people with close relationships to someone tend to be less effective on teaching than someone with no connection/contact with them.

So... your nephew would likely be better off learning from someone else completely unrelated and unconnected to him.

i'm sure there will be a billion posts about how ME AND MY DAD, or MY DAD TAUGHT ME...

but when it comes to general teaching private lessons it works best that way.

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#3 Post by RAI » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:20 am

Well, I'm only going to get him started, as he doesn't live near us.
He's coming to visit, so I'll get the basics going (I hope), and then he can hopefully find someone that can help him after he leaves.

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#4 Post by 7mixeduplydian7 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:36 am

Maybe it would be best to get away from the traditional paper learning methods altogether Rai... it might be better to start with songs and learn them through jamming them out together. It will be far more time consuming I know but her will go home at the end of every session with you know new things and will remember the sounds. That is how he will eventually have to relate everything anyway right? Oh and don't forget to record your lessons as MP3 files so that he can hear them later... that will help more than paper I imagine

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#5 Post by RAI » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:57 pm

Some sort of audio lesson would have to be done, I guess.
Last night was the first time we sat down, and I tried to explain that even with "all those notes on the neck", it's much simpler than it appears.
It all just repeats, and knowing your intervals will get you going much faster. You don't have to know what all the notes are called in a specific key, as long as you know the intervals.
Yeah, sooner or later you will need to know.
However, If you know where the notes are on the neck (and the intervals), and someone yells out "OK, let's play this in D major!", find the D, and go for it...
We'll see how he catches on, and I'll adjust my methods accordingly...

What we also did (and he doesn't know this yet), is get him a guitar and amp for Christmas.
His family isn't exactly well off, so they would never be able to afford anything like that.
While we didn't exactly break the bank, this will most likely be the nicest thing he has ever gotten.
And I mean ever...

Let's hope he really gets into this!

:guitar

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#6 Post by Desert_Runner » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:48 pm

RAI wrote:Let's hope he really gets into this!

:guitar
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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#7 Post by Patill » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:37 am

Do NOT start too complicated, please do not!!!!!!!!

You can´t make a guy playing the guitar if you start with learning every note on the neck ;). Just ask him a song he likes to play, that´s where you have to start. If you do as you do, he will soon be dissapointed. Because that´s no fun at all!!!!!!!

Always keep the fun! You´re not only a teacher, but also a mind doctor :). Don´t forget that....

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#8 Post by RAI » Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:36 am

I'm NOT teaching him every note on the neck.
Quite the opposite.
I'm merely going with the intervals, showing him the basic major and minor, so that when we start talking songs, he'll understand a little more of what's going on....

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#9 Post by jemaddict » Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:39 am

Songs are the greatest starting point of any musician... or heck just a simple 3 or 4 chord progression (like a 1-4-5) in different keys so he can learn some basic chords. Also, it's a great idea to get him learning the neck through feel instead of sight if he's as sight impaired as you're implying he is. Take your time, go slow, maybe have 1 hr lessons or something and make sure HE'S happy before you go indepth. Ask him a million times if he understands/knows what he's doing because communcation is key in any teacher-student relationship!

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#10 Post by RAI » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:03 am

Feel is what he'll have to work with. His vision is poor right now, but he will be completely blind within the next few years.
This has been a slowly progressing disability, that will reach its culmination soon...

As he hasn't received his guitar yet, he's just sort of feeling his way around on one of mine, but he's a lefty, so that's the reason we have only really talked about music so far.
Two more days, and he'll have his own (lefty) guitar!

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#11 Post by Patill » Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:05 am

isn´t it regardless which way you play? I mean look at Gary Moore or Michael Angelo Batio, both left-handed.

If I was lefthanded, I´d try to play righthanded, becuase there´s so much more guitars to get ;). And cheaper (sometimes...)

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#12 Post by RAI » Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:12 am

Well, my personal opinion is this:
A guitar requires both hands to be played. It shouldn't matter (particularly to a person that cannot play) which hand does what. You still have to use both.
We were going to get him a righty, but decided for a lefty, and now as he's been playing around with my guitars, it was clear that it was the right choice.
He says to hold it "righty" just feels really wrong to him....
So lefty it is.

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#13 Post by ActofGod » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:40 am

There is definitely a "right' and "wrong" way to hold a guitar, and the majority of the time it is evident as soon as you pick one up. I tried forcing myself to play righty, it was a no-go

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#14 Post by kenix700 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:47 am

I saw a documentary on this young kid who was slowly going blind and decided to start playing guitar.

They interviewed his teacher and he said he got some architect paper (not 100% sure thats what it was called). But he wrote out chord shapes and stuff on it and it allows them to feel it, sort of like braille.

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Re: Teaching a person with impaired vision

#15 Post by RAI » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:11 am

Well, he's slowly working on it. He's now taking guitar lessons at the blind center where he lives.
We found a chord book for lefties that we sent him.

I guess we'll see his progression next time we go to visit...

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