Boyan Simeonov and Vasil Spasov want to give the Bulgarian children with impaired vision a chance to develop and find a community through music.
Boyan has experience in the field of management and entrepreneurship. For two years now, he has been the manager of RockSchool. He is also the co-founder of several music and media projects. Vasil is one of the first electric guitar students in RockSchool – he started taking lessons eight years ago, and today he is touring musician, guitar teacher and a producer. He studied audio recording and audio engineering in the UK, where he also started working as a producer.
RockSchool is an academy that inspires, encourages and supports children and grown-ups, who want to learn music. For the past eight years, they have held over 82,000 lessons in guitar, singing, piano, violin, drums, saxophone and many other instruments. RockSchool also organizes concerts and studio recording sessions, encourages its students to join bands and play on stage. They have also set up a scholarship programme offering free music tuition and audio recordings for talented children from families without sufficient finances.
About two years ago, RockSchool had its first two students with visual impairment. As he watched them on stage, Boyan asked himself why he had never seen a lot of young musicians with visual impairments in Bulgaria. He looked into the issue and found out that there was no music programmes for blind people in Bulgaria. He and Vasil decided that they can adapt RockSchool’s lessons as well as their facilities to make them available to more visually impaired young people. This is how the idea about the I See through Music project was born.
THE CHANGE they want to achieve:
I See through Music is a music education programme adapted for visually impaired children and youth at one of Bulgaria’s most popular private music academies – RockSchool.
Sound is one of the main sources of information for blind children and teenagers, it helps them perceive the surrounding world. Music in itself can develop the sensuality and the imagination of the visually impaired. There is evidence that music education develops additional qualities among all children – creativity, discipline, self-awareness, persistence, communication skills. When it comes to visually impaired children and youth, however, it gives much more – it gives them the confidence to be part of a group; an opportunity to appear in front of an audience.
Still, most of them are still deprived of the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument. Therefore, many visually impaired children are not confident enough to express themselves and develop creatively equally with their peers.
RockSchool’s goal is not to turn visually impaired children and youngsters into professional musicians, but to give them access to education and a community that will give them confidence, help them develop as individuals and bring them joy. At the same time, they also want to change the public’s attitude towards these children and youngsters and show that they should not be labeled as incapable.
To achieve that, RockSchool will adapt its programme on several levels. They will set up a music cabinet equipped with the necessary hardware and software for the needs of visually impaired children. Their desire is to teach them to sing, to be DJs, to play the guitar, the bass, the piano, the drums, the saxophone, the violin, etc. They will also attract specialists to teach their professors how to work best with the visually impaired. Last but not least, they will set up a scholarship fund for the children who cannot afford to pay for the lessons. In the long run, they will be able to help the most talented and devoted children to develop professionally through concerts, music bands and audio recordings in studio.
Boyan and Vasil want to make music available to visually impaired children in Bulgaria. Because they know that music is the universal language that brings inspiration, meaning, happiness, and helps overcome barriers.