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Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

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Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby Music in my mind 13 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:29 am

:? Hello musicians,

I recently started studying the music recording technology and audio design program at San Diego State University in California, because I want to become a music producer. I am blind since birth and this career will allow me to pursue my passion. I chose this university because it is the third most prestigious in the United States for audio engineers. I thought the tricky part was getting accepted on college. However, I am in my 4th week and problems have begun. The school features a cool Soundcraft VI4 mixer for its live performances and we need to learn to operate it successfully. I can’t wait to get my hands on this equipment, but the professor is finding it hard to teach me how the system is set up, the wiring and power, the monitor and microphone distance placement and especially in the mixer with the touch screen and the pages that control the channel selections and other adjustments such as limiter, compressor or EQ. I have started getting impatient, because I almost have a month here, and there is confusion on both learner and teacher sides. We are starting a series of world music events from next Monday where this program’s trainees run the sound for all the shows and recitals. But my instructor has already started with excuses like “it’s OK if you don’t show up on Monday” and I am serious, I am in for the real deal, not for the certifying degree document. When I ask him what should we do all I get from him is a blank “I honestly don’t know” and it’s getting frustrating. We thought about controlling this mixer from its iPad app, ViSi remote, but he says it doesn’t have as much control as the physical thing/touch screen, as this equipment is large. I will also need to know the ProTools HD rig, and he doesn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about me moving forward along with the rest of the students, as it should be. I would really appreciate if some of you experienced musicians could help us figure this out, because for now, the recording classes are not being beneficial.
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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby Hewesy » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:52 am

Firstly congratulations on getting on to the course and seizing the opportunity. I truly hope it all works out for you.

Are there any opportunities in the USA for having someone join you for support? In the UK/EU there are various grants in place to be able to support folks with visual/audio impairments (Access to Work being one) and they provide someone to help (e.g. a BSL translator).

All I know of American colleges has been learnt from TV shows so apologies if this is not the case with your course, but do you have senior students who could perhaps help out of hours in guiding you through the kit? That way you can familiarise yourself with someone who knows the setup, then dedicate class time to learning? That might then take the pressure off your tutor. It might be that the senior student can earn some credits in assisting, which would then help them with their own studies (or get free access to the studio out of hours to support you whilst working on their own tunes?).

I wish you all the best mate,

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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby ore_terra » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:52 am

I really think you should have a discussion not with the teacher but at a higher level: with the University.

It’s clear you will need some sort of adaptation to be able to use touch screens and a different approach for the other hands on gear, as you’re probably used to.

Here in Spain most of the university degrees have a visually impaired “option”, with specifically trained personnel and resources (I think it’s actually mandatory for public education).

You should find out if that’s the case in your University.

Going back to your teacher, from a certain point of view we could even think that “it’s not fair” for the man if he hasnt been trained or he hasnt been given the resources to teach vissually impaired future sound engineers. However he should be escalating the issue the same way instead of doing what he’s doing.

Best of lucks and please keep us updated!
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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:10 am

Hi

There appears to be a 'Blind and Low Vision Services' support area:-

http://go.sdsu.edu/student_affairs/sds/blind-low-vision.aspx

It looks like you need to access them via the 'Student Ability Success Center'

http://go.sdsu.edu/student_affairs/sds/getstarted-1.aspx

Hope it works out for you - best of luck
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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby Music in my mind 13 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:51 pm

:thumbup: hello everyone, thank you so much for your helpful support and replies, for the resources you have provided, the ideas and the links. Actually his idea of the student assistant has been addressed by my principal and I like it somehow. But the students ability success center, which is the disability office of the school, has not been helpful in determining a good strategy. They say they have spoken to personnel from Juilliard and broccoli but none of them have had a case where a visually impaired student goes for production. Do you have ideas for the actual equipment? A concrete idea of what the procedure should be, technically speaking? :-) Thank you so much for all the love you wish me and for your kindness
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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby MarkPAman » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:27 pm

How much are you able to see?

Your first post mentions using an iPad. If you can do this, then there a quite a few desks which do have everything available that way. Allen & Heath Qu series for example.

Or, going the other way, a good analogue desk can, with practice, be used without needing to see it. They could get somebody to 3D print some different knobs & fader caps for you so you can identify them by touch. Something like:
http://www.apb-dynasonics.com/products/ ... House.html
maybe, though you'd then also want external gates & compressors.
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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby Hewesy » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:33 pm

Thoughts for the actual kit, can you read braille? I wonder if your college's design/build classes could build you an overlay map in braille that can be dropped over the mixer when it's your turn on the kit. If they have a 3d printer or laser cutter they could measure it to be an exact fit, have the music professor label it up (or other classmate) then away you go.

Same could go for any other hardware you are expected to use.

With regards to the DAW, i presume they can use JAWS or Windows Eye or something similar, to help replace the mouse? Or again, offer a keyboard overlay for the ProTools shortcuts etc?

Having someone you trust to help you seems invaluable to me, are there any local support groups or charities who can help you get the support you require? Could perhaps the college simply provide a fund which you can then spend on support staff?

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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby Hewesy » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:34 pm

Great minds Mark :D

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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby Music in my mind 13 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:50 pm

:clap: what an amazing idea about having a braille overlay map, I had not thought about it, I think I will tell The institution, because probably it hadn't come to their mind either. Great idea!!! :-)
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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:51 pm

This is an interesting discussion and it is, of course, the ears of a sound engineer or producer that are his most valuable asset. I wish the OP every success.
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Re: Urgent help for a blind future music producer!

Postby James Perrett » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:42 pm

Music in my mind 13 wrote:I will also need to know the ProTools HD rig, and he doesn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about me moving forward along with the rest of the students,

From a quick look at

http://www.avidblogs.com/music-daw-soft ... essionals/

it would appear that ProTools HD should be accessible to you.

There are certainly quite a few blind audio engineers so it may well be worth trying to make contact with a few to pick up some tips.
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