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Avid and Berklee Improve Sibelius Access for Visually Impaired

Avid and Berklee College of Music have teamed to improve accessibility in Sibelius composition software.

Burlington, MA (December 19, 2019)— Avid and Berklee College of Music’s Assistive Music Technology (AMT) Lab are developing and improving accessibility features in its music composition and notation software, Sibelius, for visually impaired users.

“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.”

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Avid also 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.

“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.”

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.

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