Piano lessons with the blind and visually impaired

A project of the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar
for the Master’s Course in Piano, with a focus on Instrumental Pedagogy, and the two-majors Master’s Course in Piano/ Piano Instrumental Pedagogy

Parents of blind children who want to learn to play an instrument approach instrumental pedagogues time and again. But, for a long time, no German university of music offered a degree programme that prepared future instrumental/ piano pedagogues to meet these specific requirements.

The idea of developing a profile to cover this in the Master’s course in Piano at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT, in collaboration with the Weimar-based ‘Diesterweg-Förderzentrum Sehen’, came about in 2009. Students are given specific fundamental knowledge that is indispensable for teaching the blind/ visually impaired, and acquiring teaching experience with pupils.

On behalf of the University of Music, the piano pedagogue Viola Michaelis teaches blind and visually impaired pupils, developing didactic concepts both for her teaching with her pupils and for students’ lectures. Contact is made, expanded and deepened with visually impaired colleagues and colleagues who teach the blind/visually impaired.

The teaching concept for the pupils focuses on listening-based ways of working (using various technical aids). In addition, braille notation is taught. Uncontracted braille is used as a form of written communication.

Students complete a programme that looks at various topic-areas. They start by understanding the world as a blind/ visually impaired person experiences it, then get to grips with their specific requirements and talents, through to the ‘different weighting’ of various topics/ fields of learning. The construction of various didactic strands and the ways to combine them in lessons are discussed with the students, and braille plays a role here, too.

In addition, students are given a brief overview of the eye and eye diseases that can have an impact on didactic decisions. Furthermore, they gain familiarity with unique approaches to learning and potential educational pathways. Students have the opportunity to undertake long-term shadowing and teach pupils themselves.


Viola Michaelis
Phone 03643 | 804616