M+E Daily

Avid, Berklee College of Music to Deliver Innovative Accessibility Features for Visually Impaired Music Creators (MESA)

Avid announced a joint initiative with Berklee College of Music’s Assistive Music Technology Lab to develop and improve accessibility features in Avid’s music composition and notation software, Sibelius, for visually impaired users. The year-long partnership highlights Avid’s commitment to ensuring all of its creative tools offer robust accessibility features for the visually impaired.

In addition, Avid announced improved support for users with built-in screen readers, giving the visually impaired the same experience as sighted users on Windows using Narrator, NVDA and JAWS, as well as VoiceOver on Mac.

Berklee’s AMT Lab aims to serve Berklee students and act as an incubator for developing and testing ideas and practices that can improve the opportunities and outcomes for blind and visually impaired musicians worldwide. Berklee and Avid have been collaborating to develop features and improvements for Sibelius that will set a high standard for accessibility in the music industry.

“Through our partnership with Avid we are able to work collaboratively to enhance the world’s leading music notation software in a way that will give blind and visually impaired users the same capabilities that sighted users have to navigate their scores, manipulate musical objects, and work freely on their music,” said Chi Kim, Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music. “Achieving this goal will open up many opportunities for visually impaired users that haven’t been available in any music notation software until now – not only in the context of our own curriculums but also in general, for composers, orchestrators, and engravers.”

Avid plans to release accessibility features and improvements across the whole application to help users with a wide range of visual impairment, including making it easier to navigate musical objects within a score, localized accessibility, and the ability to manipulate all musical objects.

Additionally, Berklee will develop and publish related training materials that will be widely available on its website in an accessible format.

“Avid has been working to improve accessibility within the pro audio community by collaborating with beta testers who can provide real-world input that benefits our products,” said Ed Gray, Partnering Program Director Business Development at Avid. “We’ve been doing this with our Pro Tools® software for several years and now, through our partnership with Berklee, we’re bringing that same level of accessibility to our Sibelius music notation software. This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to improving the accessibility of our creative tools for all users.”

Ed Gray will also be participating in a two-hour accessibility workshop at NAMM 2020 in Anaheim from 12:00-2:00 PM on Sunday, January 19. The workshop will focus on accessibility developments for music creation, sharing best practices, and showcasing the latest features in Sibelius. Avid will also be demonstrating Sibelius, among many other products at its NAMM exhibit in the ACC North Hall – Level 1, Booth 15502.