The New York Institute For Special Education

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· Serving Students with Special Needs since 1831 ·
These Are Our Children (1957) » Music Department

Music Department

Music is one of the oldest and one of the most popular activities at the Institute. More than three-quarters of our students participate in one or more branches its music department, which embraces courses in music appreciation, harmony and counterpoint, choral and individual voice training, piano and organ, and a variety of band instruments.

Group of students performing on the auditorium stage. Caption: This fully augmented band of blinds students plays with professional aplomb on all occasions. Its facilities, unsurpassed by any other school serving the blind, include twenty-three practice rooms with at least one piano in each room, a pipe organ, instruments to equip a twenty-piece school band, a library of thousands of musical compositions in Braille, ink print and on recordings, and faculty members who are recognized musicians in vocal and instrumental fields.

Music is the one art in the mastery of which blindness is not a prohibitive obstacle. The blind music student must place greater reliance upon memory, and in learning the music for the piano or organ, for example, he must commit to memory from his Braille copy the notes for each hand separately. This is just one of the obstacles in his path, but like any other artist, if he is gifted and industrious, he can achieve success.




The emphasis on music at the Institute recognizes the importance and the value of music to the blind. The program is designed not only to encourage and to prepare those whose talents fit them for post-graduate training Student reading braille music while practicing on the pipe organ. and professional careers in music but also to provide for the many other opportunities of self-expression and music appreciation which cannot but help enrich their lives.

The Institute is proud of its music department which down through the years, has given so much to so many blind girls and boys--thousands of them. It is proud, too, of the many graduates who through their music, have contributed so much to the culture and entertainment of their communities. This is particularly true of the Institute’s chorus which has brought credit and distinction not only to their school but to blind people everywhere. In recent years, they have appeared at the White House, at Carnegie Hall with the Philharmonic Orchestra, at Town Hall with distinguished guest soloists, and many radio and television programs.