Tag Archives: music academy

Our Blind Music Academy is Going on Tour in August and You’re Invited

In its fourth year, LightHouse’s summer Music Academy continues to grow and expand, literally. Each year, Music Academy culminates with a performance by blind students from all over the world. This time around the group will take the stage at Enchanted Hills’ brand new Redwood Grove Theater, which was completed this summer and features redwood benches made at camp by blind woodworker George Wurtzel. The students will also hit the road to perform at our headquarters in San Francisco. 

A view of the new redwood amphitheater dappled in sunlight at EHC.

Experience the power of Music Academy by joining us at one of these free concerts:

About Music Academy

Enchanted Hills Camp has paired up with Bill McCann, founder and president of Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology to craft a Music Academy for blind musicians ages 16 to 24 years old who are serious about music or might be thinking of entering the profession. Bill McCann pioneered this specialized music academy model both in Canada and the United States. The academy introduces students to using non-visual techniques to compose music, read the works of others, learn performance skills and gain the capacity to compete for and win employment in the music field.

With its specialized emphasis, our talent pool and ambition continues to grow. This year we’re excited to host students from all over the world, who will spend a week focused on not only becoming better performers but achieving fluency in braille music and other accessible forms of musical notation.

Musicians ages 18 and over who are participating in the Music Academy are invited to stay on for the extended section of our Music Academy program. The extended program starts August 13 and ends August 16 and will be held in San Francisco at LightHouse for the Blind. We will shuttle those qualifying participants to LightHouse for the Blind from the Enchanted Hills Camp. We will also provide a shuttle service to the SFO airport at the end of the program on August 16.

We still have openings in this year’s Music Academy! If you have questions about the session please contact Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7318.

A special thank you to our Music Academy Sponsors:

 

Chateau Montelena Winery Logo

 

Cotati Food Service Logo

In February – Enchanted Hills Will Offer Music Camp for Adults

Photo: Students perform on guitar and bass at this summer’s Music Academy concert at the LightHouse Building

By popular demand we’ve added a music camp for adults. Join us in February at Enchanted Hills Retreat for our first session of Music Camp for Adults.

Who: Blind and visually impaired musicians 21 years of age and up
Where: Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind
When: Thursday, February 16 through Sunday, February 19, 2017
Cost: $300.00 plus $40.00 for transportation

This session is for musicians ages 21 years and up who are blind or have low vision. Participants should already know how to play or sing and have, at minimum, intermediate musical skills (basic chords, scales, tuning, basic instrument maintenance and general musical knowledge) in their instrument(s). Instruments can include, but are not limited to guitar, ukulele, percussion, voice, and other acoustic instruments.

The session will be by headed by Enchanted Hills Camp Enrichment Area Leader Masceo Williams and will focus less on music literacy and more on performance and “jamming” skills. Jamming, that is, improvising while playing, helps bring together a community of musicians to learn from, share, and appreciate each other’s skills. For those that are new to performing or would like to build their comfort level in performing, this camp is for you. The session will also include a songwriting workshop.

Masceo Williams is an accomplished blind musician with over 20 years of live performance experience and has taught and mentored students during Enchanted Hills summer camp sessions and Music Academy. You can learn more about him and hear his music at http://www.masceo.net.

In addition to the Music Camp students will enjoy the beauty of Enchanted Hills in winter, including gatherings around the fireplace; warm, comfortable accommodations and delicious home cooked meals prepared by our talented kitchen staff. Weather permitting, participants will have the opportunity to perform in our Redwood Grove Amphitheater.

For questions and registration, please contact Taccarra Burrell at TBurrell@LightHouse-sf.org or call 415-694-7310.

Summer Concerts: Blind Music Academy Announces Three Concert Dates in August

PHOTO: Music academy students jam on keyboards and guitar.

Blind Music Academy Offering Free Concerts in August

In its third year, LightHouse’s summer Music Academy grows and expands. With an emphasis on composition, performance and learning to read and write music in braille for musicians who are blind or have low vision and are ages 16 to 24, our talent pool and ambition continues to grow. This year we’re excited to host students from the United States, Mexico and Canada. And with the opening in May of the LightHouse’s state-of-the-art San Francisco facility, Blind Music Academy will now be held both in the city and the country.

This year we have fourteen dedicated blind musicians, all under the age of 25, who are spending a week honing their skills as musicians and composers. The students are from all over North America, and though some of these individuals are already quite formidable talents, they are spending this week focused on not only becoming better performers but achieving fluency in braille music and other accessible forms of musical notation.

Each year Blind Music Academy culminates with a performance by our blind students, and this time around the group has announced that they will perform not once but three times, with additional concerts in both downtown Napa and San Francisco. Our students include a virtuosic classical pianist from Vera Cruz, Mexico and a locally-known jazz radio DJ and percussionist from El Paso, Texas, and the shows are guaranteed to be musically diverse and exciting.

Experience the power of Music Academy by joining us at one of these three, free concerts:

Blind Music Academy Summer Tour Dates

  • Friday, August 5 – Covenant Presbyterian Church, 7:30 p.m.
    1226 Salvador Ave, Napa, CA 94558
  • Saturday, August 6 – Enchanted Hills Camp, 4:00 p.m., with dinner following.
    3410 Mt Veeder Rd, Napa, CA 94558
  • Tuesday, August 9 – LightHouse for the Blind, 5:30 p.m., with reception following.
    1155 Market Street, 10th Floor, San Francisco 94103

The concerts are free. For those attending the concert at Enchanted Hills Camp, we are requesting a donation if you wish to join us for dinner after the show. Please RSVP for all concerts to Tony Fletcher at tfletcher@lighthouse-sf.org.

Our students walk into the Music Academy session brimming with talent. Take a look for yourself. Watch these videos for two of our students, concert pianist Fernando Apan and percussionist Lawrence Brown:

Fernando Apan interprets Mozart

Fernando Apan: Fantasía Para Piano y Clarinet

Interview with Lawrence Brown

About Blind Music Academy
Enchanted Hills Camp has paired up with Bill McCann, founder and president of Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology. Bill McCann pioneered this specialized music academy model both in Canada and in the United States. Music Academy is for musicians who are blind or have low vision between the ages of 16 to 24 years old who are serious about music or might be thinking of entering the profession. This academy introduces students to using non-visual techniques to compose music, read the works of others, learn performance skills and gain the capacity to compete for and win employment in the music field.

This year’s Music Academy session is full. If you have questions about next year’s session, please contact Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7318.

Music Academy Expands: Now in the Woods and in the City

Photo: Music Academy student edits music with accessible software

This year campers will enjoy our acclaimed music academy at Enchanted Hills, but to make things even more interesting we’ll also be taking campers out of the woods and into the city for some urban musical experiences.

Do you sing or play an instrument? Train with some of our nation’s best instructors at Music Academy at Enchanted Hills Camp. The LightHouse is partnering with Dancing Dots, the world’s leading provider of accessible music technology for the blind, to bring our summertime Music Academy back to the redwoods. The Academy is open to young, motivated musicians who are blind or have low vision and are 16 to 24 years old.

  • Where: Enchanted Hills Camp, Napa and LightHouse Headquarters, San Francisco
  • When: Monday, August 1 through Wednesday, August 10, 2016
  • Cost for the week, all-inclusive: $300
  • (If the registration fee is a barrier, let us know; some scholarships will be available.)

Bill McCann, President and Founder of Dancing Dots, blind himself, will lead a team of four blind instructors and technicians to teach the latest and greatest techniques for blind and low vision students.

This year in addition to time at Enchanted Hills, students will stay at our new headquarters in San Francisco. In the city there are many venues where young people can experience a variety of musical styles, including jazz, classical and rock music, and we’ll be visiting one or more of these. Our young musicians will also have the opportunity to perform in a variety of settings including a venue in St. Helena, our Redwood Grove Theater at Enchanted Hills Camp and at our new headquarters office.

To sign up for this session, contact Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7318 for an application or with any questions.

Are You a Musician who is Blind or Has Low Vision?

Lead instructor Bill McCann and Jenna Baylis work with adaptive software for composition during Blind Music Academy.Fine-tune your craft this summer at Music Academy at Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa, California.

Do you sing or play an instrument? Train with some of our nation’s best instructors at Music Academy at Enchanted Hills Camp. The LightHouse is partnering with Dancing Dots, the world’s leading provider of accessible music technology for the blind, to bring our summertime Music Academy back to the redwoods. The Academy is open to young, motivated musicians who are blind or low vision who are 16 to 24 years old.

Where: Enchanted Hills Camp, Napa and the LightHouse Headquarters, San Francisco
When: August 1 through August 10, 2016
Cost for the week, all-inclusive: $300
(If the registration fee is a barrier, let us know; some scholarships will be available.)

Bill McCann, President and Founder of Dancing Dots, blind himself, will lead a team of four blind instructors and technicians to teach the latest and greatest techniques for blind and low vision students.

To sign up: contact Taccarra Burrell at 415-694-7318 or tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or go to: http://lighthousesf.org/programs/enchanted-hills/

Are You a Musician that is Blind or With Low Vision? Fine-tune Your Craft at Music Academy

Music Academy students Travis Nichols (left) plays electric guitar and Ben Blatchford on keyboards.Do you sing or play an instrument? Train with some of our nation’s best teachers at our summer Music Academy at Enchanted Hills Camp.

“I had a lot of fun this year meeting new people and my experience at EHC was camp was great. Really awesome to meet all of you and to rock out and jam with all of you guys. Everyone who came this year must come next year. We need to get more people in our jam sessions. We killed it up there on stage, we absolutely killed it! EHC is the place to be!”
-Participant Ben Blatchford

The LightHouse will partner for a third year with Dancing Dots, the world’s leading provider of accessible music technology for the blind, to bring our summertime Music Academy back to the redwoods. The Academy is open to young, motivated musicians who are blind or low vision who are 16 to 24 years old.

Music Academy is open to young musicians from all over the world.

New This Year – Music Academy has Expanded to a 10-Day Session
Feedback for our first two sessions has been overwhelmingly positive and our students want more. So we’ve expanded the session from seven to ten days.

The first seven days of the session will take place at Enchanted Hills Camp and include two opportunities to perform for Napa residents. Then students will be transported to the new LightHouse Building at 1155 Market Street for continued training plus the chance to see professional musical performances in various genres such as jazz, classical and rock. Students will meet local musicians and mentors while enjoying the vibrant music scene found in San Francisco. They’ll also train on our multi-media, state-of-the-art technology. All students will get the chance to perform at a showcase concert in the LightHouse Building on Tuesday, August 9.

Lead instructor Bill McCann and student Jenna Baylis work with adaptive software for composition during Blind Music Academy.

Where: Enchanted Hills Camp, Napa and the LightHouse Building, San Francisco
When: August 1 through August 10, 2016

Cost for the week, all-inclusive: $300
(If the registration fee is a barrier, let us know; some scholarships will be available.)

Bill McCann, President and Founder of Dancing Dots, will spend the entire session with the aspiring musicians. McCann, blind himself, will lead a team of four blind instructors and technicians to teach the latest and greatest techniques for blind and low vision students.

“It’s rather bittersweet to be back home after an amazing week of Music Academy at EHC. Met so many awesome people and had an overall great experience. Definitely going back next summer. Yesterday’s concert went very well and everyone performed really good and were at the top of they’re game. Shout out to the kitchen crew as well for delivering great meals throughout camp. Bummed that it all ended so quickly, but stoked to see everyone again next year.”
-Participant Daniel Cavazos

To sign up for Music Academy, contact Taccarra Burrell at 415-694-7318 or tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or go to the Enchanted Hills page on our website.

Did you go to Enchanted Hills this Summer? Here are Highlights from Our Latest Sessions

This summer Camp Director Tony Fletcher and his enthusiastic team of staff and counselors gave campers of all ages a series of invigorating sessions this summer at Enchanted Hills Camp. Read on for summaries and select photos from this summer’s sessions at Enchanted Hills Camp. Don’t forget to go to the Enchanted Hills Camp Facebook page where you can view or add to our growing EHC Summer 2015 photo album.

Click here for our EHC Summer 2015 Facebook Photo Album.

Bill McCann and Jenna Baylis work with adaptive software for compositionBlind Music Academy
This year’s Blind Music Academy attracted 14 students from U.S., Canada and Mexico. Bill McCann, President and Founder of Dancing Dots, spent the week with the aspiring musicians, making for a second successful year. This musical week of learning culminated in the first-ever Music Academy concert on the Redwood Grove Theater stage to a full audience of campers, families and friends of Enchanted Hills Camp. Each participant had an opportunity to perform either has a solo or in group ensemble.

The audience raved about the performances and left with smiles on their faces. Enchanted Hills Camp supporter and concert attendee Christina McNair wrote, “Is this an amazing rendition of Santana’s Black Magic Woman or what – OMG??!! Wow! All young band members visually impaired or blind – honestly blew me away! Participant Daniel Cavazos wrote, “Can’t wait to do it all again next summer! Definitely one of, if not the greatest highlights of the summer and this year.

Here’s the video recording of the performance:

Enchanted Hills Camp Director Tony Fletcher said, “I think the musicianship of the students in our classes is just outstanding. Director Bill McCann and Assistant Director Roberto Gonzales really are class acts to work with and their teaching skills were evident by how well the students grew musically throughout the week. We’re eager to expand the length of the program and make room for more students, so stay tuned for news about Music Academy 2016.”

Camper Rory Blatcheford cleans a horse’s hoof

Horse Camp
This year’s Horse Camp, our first, was led by avid horseback rider and wrangler, Diane Starin. Starin, who is blind, has owned, ridden, taught and cared for horses for more than 30 years. She has an Associates of Science degree in agricultural business, a Certificate in Horse Husbandry and is a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor.

Young campers spent the first part of the week learning how to care for horses and their equipment (saddles, reins, bits, helmets, lead ropes) and this progressed into independent riding of the horses.

Camp Director Tony Fletcher said, “It’s the first time that a horse camp has ever been offered at EHC. The participants gained a lot more knowledge and confidence about what makes horses tick as well as all about the materials necessary to care for both horses and the equipment used to ride. They became more confident in their ability to ride independently on the new horse trail constructed this year by our AmeriCorps volunteers.”

Camper Kevin Leong gives two thumbs up after landing an airplane during the TouchSTEM session

TouchSTEM Camp
“My favorite part of stem camp was when we got to dissect a shark. Although smelly, it was very informative to be able to feel inside the shark’s innards, and learn what each part of the shark does.” – Nikki, TouchSTEM camper

“In school, I’m usually sidelined during class experiments, but at TouchSTEM Academy, I led the experiments.” – TouchSTEM Camper

This August, the LightHouse partnered with WizKidz Science and Technology Centers Inc. to offer a TouchSTEM summer science track. WizKidz Science and Technology Centers has been at the forefront in delivering accessible outreach efforts in STEM education for visually impaired youth.

WizKidz brought in UC Berkeley students majoring in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to provide a concentrated dose of those subjects to eighteen blind kids, ages 11 to 15, using cutting-edge, blind-accessible techniques and tools. Here teens safely ignited clouds of gasses, dissected sea creatures and co-piloted planes. Students like Kevin Leong had the time of their lives taking the yoke of a plane to help the TouchSTEM pilot bank left over the hills.

TouchSTEM is about three things: 1) Sparking STEM interest in blind teens, 2) educating teens, parents, and schools about accessible techniques and tools that enrich STEM learning, and 3) building confidence by shattering misconceptions about blindness. Teacher-counselors made sure this educational camp session was literally exploding with excitement.

We salute our budding STEM professionals and cannot wait to see the things they invent, cure and create.

Click here to view and add to our EHC Summer 2015 Facebook Photo Album.

Check Out This Amazing Blind Pianist, Nobuyuki Tsujii (+ special ticket discount)

Nobuyuki Tsujii at the piano

In anticipation of this summer’s Music Academy at Enchanted Hills in Napa, we’re excited to announce our first concert discount, through the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University. Email wbutler@lighthouse-sf.org for a 25% off coupon to see Nobuyuki Tsujii Friday, May 1 at Green Music Center in Rohnert Park, CA [ticket link].

Here at the LightHouse, we try to steer clear of stereotypes; like, for instance, “blind people play the piano!” That being said, when a blind pianist, especially one as young as Nobuyuki Tsujii, rises to achieve one of the highest honors in the music world, it’s definitely worth celebrating. Tsujii’s prowess at classical piano is literally breathtaking. From pounding études to sensitive, melting nocturnes, he can truly do it all, which is why he took home the gold medal at 2009’s Van Cliburn piano competition in Texas. Since then, he has traveled the world, educating students about both music and blindness. Blind since birth, Tsujii learned to play the piano using braille music (check out our Music Academy for more info on that). Now working at the highest levels, Tsujii has graduated to learning extensive classical works by ear. An article translated on his website from Japanese explains: “Learning a piece of music involves much more than simply memorizing a sequence of notes and dynamic effects. The musician’s mind, ear, and fingers have to master thousands of details, including subtle variations in tone, phrasing, voicing, and the piece’s musical architecture.”

Tomorrow night, May 1, Tsujii will perform Chopin, Beethoven, and other pieces at the beautiful new Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, and if you’d like to buy tickets, we’d like to help! In support of our upcoming Music Academy at Enchanted Hills in Napa, the Green Music Center has offered 25% off for friends of the LightHouse. Just email wbutler@lighthouse-sf.org and you’ll get back a promo code. If you can’t make the trek, definitely still listen to Tsujii’s performances on YouTube, such as the one below, of him playing a striking étude by Franz Liszt.