Can blind people play guitar is it possible for a blind person to learn guitar

The short answer to the question can blind people play guitar is yes. Thanks for dropping by guys, I hope you found this article useful and informative. Be sure to check out more Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat content and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter.

I’m joking of course. Yes blind people can learn how to play guitar and play guitar competently but I’m sure you were looking for slightly more information. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. The question can blind people play guitar is an emotive one for me personally. Some of you may have clicked this piece out of sheer curiosity and are wondering why I’m writing this article in the first place. Some may have other reasons but the answer is simple. The reason for writing the article is the same reason why the subject is emotive. I’m personally a blind guitar player.

I’m writing this article to answer the question for anybody else who finds themselves in the same or a similar situation that I found myself in many years ago. Or maybe even those who are exploring the topic on behalf of a friend or loved one. It’s also going to serve as my excuse for typos throughout the website.

Can blind people play guitar – going into more depth

can blind people play guitar

So we’ve already established that the answer to the question can blind people play guitar is yes. This is a topic that requires significantly more information than that. Let’s dig deeper. There’s a few smaller points that I want to discuss relating to this topic which I’ll address in no particular order.

What does blind mean?

This may seem like a silly question to some but blind doesn’t necessarily mean that a person can’t see anything. Obviously blind can mean people who have zero eyesight but the term blind can be used as a term to describe people who have severely limited eyesight. They can see but they see considerably less than those with what’s considered normal eyesight.

That is the category that I personally fall into. I can see but put it this way, I have to look at this screen very closely to see what I’m typing.

People with poor eyesight are also often referred as visually impaired which again simply refers to those who have less sight than what is considered normal by everyday standards.

The question posed in the title of the piece “can blind people play guitar” could therefore be modified to can blind and visually impaired people play guitar? The answer is clearly still yes but it’s important to understand that the term blind is variable.

I felt it important to point those facts out because the severity of the visual impairment naturally does have an impact on what I’ll be discussing next.

How can a blind or visually impaired person learn guitar?

There’s numerous ways of learning how to play the guitar. To name the obvious, there’s 1 to 1 private guitar lessons, online written lessons, online video lessons, books and ebooks.

How a blind or visually impaired person learns to play the guitar really depends on the severity of their disability. This means that direct and absolute guidance isn’t really possible. I would suggest that this question has two general answers which would cover a large percentage of blind and visually impaired people.

My suggestion

I’m kind of both I guess. I’m classed as blind but I tend to refer to myself as visually impaired as I do have sight. I have enough site to utilise all learning methods mentioned above and I have done so for over 10 years. Is it more of a struggle? Yes and I’ll get onto that shortly but guitar related end goals are attainable.

For those who have very little to no sight at all, I would recommend learning via 1 on 1 guitar lessons with a private guitar tutor. I know this comes at more of a cost than the other methods but a good teacher will work with you and find a way to help you learn at the correct pace with tailored methods.

The first guitar teacher I had back in the day adapted his teaching style from visual guidance (follow this movement) to verbal guidance (place finger X at this position on the fretboard). This worked well for me and I was very impressed how quickly he adapted to the situation. So much so that I stuck with him for the next 2 or 3 years.

To summarise, you want a combination of private 1 on 1 guitar lessons with whatever other resources that you’re able to use. If you can’t use any of those other resources that’s fine. Plenty of people have learned guitar just with private lessons.

Can a blind person play guitar – finding the right guitar teacher

It soon becomes apparent when searching for guitar lessons that there is no shortage of teachers. What I would personally recommend for blind/visually impaired people is to look for the more established teacher. Contact local music stores or even local recording studios. These places tend to have someone on the books that teaches guitar.

You may even be lucky enough to live near a music school who you can contact. People who work in private music schools would in theory have gone through some form of qualification system which supports their teaching ability.

I’m not saying that learning off some 19 year old is bad but they may be just starting out and still learning their craft as a teacher. There’s a lot more to teaching guitar than being a good guitar player. Like I said, in this situation, go for experience.

Why blind and visually impaired people are ideal guitar players

jeff healey

One of the primary attributes one needs to become a competent guitar player is determination. Blind/visually impaired people have this trait in abundance. For someone with a disability, simply getting through everyday tasks can require determination. For those with sight issues, the determination trait or the “never give up” factor is built in. That determination will help a person with sight problems push through the difficult parts of the musical journey of which there are many.

One could also argue that the lack of sight requires a stronger dependence on the other senses. Senses such as hearing. I’m not sure of the science on this but it seems like a common sense conclusion to come to that blind people are more inclined to use their hearing.

This is something that I have experienced personally. I can hear a dropped note like you can smell a fart in a lift.

Are blind and visually impaired people at a disadvantage when learning guitar?

This question can also be answered with a short and abrupt response. Yes. Of course they are. A mentioned earlier, for many, a lot of learning resources are not very practical which puts them at a disadvantage right away. There’s also the fact that some simply can’t see very much of what they’re doing with their hands. Some not at all. This is an insanely and hard to comprehend hurdle to overcome but not an impossible one.

The not being able to see as much or at all when playing is the most obvious hurdle but there’s many others too. Think about travelling to take a lesson for example, re stringing the instrument, finding the guitar pick that’s dropped on the floor. I for example had to memorise songs 1 bar at a time simply because sight reading is not possible for me.

There are lots of little issues like those mentioned above and I’ve left the list short intentionally as I know that I’ll instantly think of more after publishing the article. The main takeaway from this little section is yes, learning and playing guitar for blind or visually impaired people is harder. A lot harder. Thankfully though, a lot harder does not mean impossible and as mentioned earlier, us sight impaired have the mental strength within to overcome the hurdles.

Can blind people play guitar conclusion and next steps

This article can actually be summarised quite easily and the question of can blind people play guitar or can visually impaired people play guitar can be answered absolute. The answer is yes. Just make sure to find the learning method that works best and be prepared for a tougher ride than others have had to go through. I know that may come across as sounding harsh but its reality. Just remember that the hard work and the struggles do pay off in the end.

If you need any advice then get in touch. I’ll be more than happy to give you some advice if needed.

What Next?

Can blind people play guitar is perhaps the most unique piece that I’ve written for Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat so far and as such, it isn’t closely related to anything else on the site as of yet. Therefore recommending what to look at next isn’t as natural as with other articles but don’t fear. There are plenty of other interesting things to read here for guitar fanatics. Here are a couple of articles that you may find interesting. 

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