Blind Jazz Sax Teacher Inspires Students to ‘Feel’ Their Instruments–Uses His ‘Disability’ as Teaching Tool

Blind Jazz Sax Teacher

From a Tampa performing arts conservatory comes the story of a blind jazz saxophonist who uses his disability as a teaching tool. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi, he encourages his students to act on instinct; to feel the music through their instruments, and not let the waking world deceive them.

“Welcome to every day of my life,” says Matthew Weihmuller in his jazz improvisation class after turning the lights off. “Then we have a big laugh,” he adds.

Profiled in Fox 13’s “Extraordinary Ordinary” segment with Walter Allen, Weihmuller teaches jazz advanced, basic, and improv at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa.

When Weihmuller started playing, he needed braille sheet music, and pieces would take months; even years to learn. As if that weren’t difficult enough, few people in the country were capable of providing braille music, so he started “brailling” his own, with the help of his mom—all the way through college.

“They can’t look at their instrument. Now, they have to feel their instrument with their fingers and hands, right?” Weihmuller told Fox 13. “Now, we’ve got to listen to the music. We can’t read it… It forces the students to use their other senses.”

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