January is National Braille Literacy Month, in honor of Louis Braille, born on January 4th, 1809.
The mission of this month is to honor & raise awareness about the legally blind and visually impaired community. This includes the community of musicians who read braille sheet music. Visually impaired musicians gain the same benefits upon learning to read braille music as sighted musicians who learn to read print music.
This month is a great time to learn about and appreciate Braille and everything it has done to help the visually impaired all over the world for more than a century.
Here are 5 fun facts about Braille =
1.) Braille is not a language. In fact, many languages have their own Braille system.
2.) After becoming blind after a tragic accident at age 3, Louis Braille, who established Braille, created this system of reading around age 12. It became official in 1824.
3.) 6-dot Braille cells have 63 possible combinations. Each ‘cell’ in Braille is arranged in a particular way with two dots across, and three dots down.
4.) Braille exists for feet! Many businesses are required to meet standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. One of those standards is to have Braille on the ground to keep people out of dangerous areas. You know those big, bright, yellow strips you see at the ends of sidewalks and sometimes as you walk out of a store or restaurant?
That’s Braille for your feet.
5.) Braille music uses the same six-position braille cell as literary braille. However, braille music assigns its own meanings & has its own abbreviations & syntax.
To celebrate National Braille Literacy Month, reach out to someone you know who is blind or visually impaired and have them show you how they read Braille… You’ll be amazed at the process!
Click below to learn more about the Braille music notation: