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About Allegro

Making a Spectacle

We offer a dispensing optician service in both our practices in Greenfield, Saddleworth and Meltham, Holmfirth. Simply bring your spectacle prescription to us to see the amazing savings we can offer.

At Allegro Optical  we can offer savings of up to 70% on high street prices. Alternatively, we give you the opportunity to get a Free second pair, or a pair of prescription sunglasses to the same prescription.

Frames selection

Choose either from our budget range, starting at just £39 for a complete pair of spectacles with single vision lenses, or our exclusive Allegro brand frames. For the more discerning, we have our exclusive ranges such as Nakamura, Murano, FYSH, and KLiiK. Allegro Optical offers frames to suit all tastes and budgets.

How does it work?

Bring a current prescription with you and an experienced member of the dispensing team can then advise on the lenses, coatings and any special finishes which may be needed.

To book your dispensing appointment pop into or call us on Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090

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News

The struggles of an adult learner

Learning to play an instrument later in life

At Allegro Optical we often read all sorts of articles. Both in the optical or musical press. We peruse all sorts online to keep up to date with our chosen industries. It was while I was doing this that I came across this interesting blog on the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music’s website.

The author Paul discusses the challenges of taking up a new instrument later in life. As I started playing my cornet at the age of 49 this article was of interest to me.

In the article Paul says that he had always sung by ear and that he tended to see written music as only a general guide to the ups and downs of pitch and volume! He then goes onto to say that he now sees the music with fresh understanding. Paul has got to grips with the basics such as understanding how key and time signatures work.

He goes onto to give some very sound advice to anyone who considers taking up a new instrument later in life. Paul warns about how much slower progress is compared to a younger person. The need to overcome pounding heart or tense fingers and the embarrassment we older players experience when we struggle with music that our fellow teenage players can just play easily.

Presbyopia and the musician

One thing Paul doesn’t mention is how ageing vision (Presbyopia) can hinder us when we play an instrument in later life. I see from Pauls picture that he is myopic and looking at his eye position I think he is probably wearing either varifocal lenses or possibly single vision lenses, with a focal length calculated for the music stand. This is perfectly fine for a beginner, or even when practising. However, things tend to go astray when playing in a group, particularly when needing to see the conductor and the music on the stand.

This is something I struggled with, I could read music when I took up the cornet, but I couldn’t read it on the stand, to find the right position in my varifocals I had to sit in a very awkward position, so I set the stand lower. That was fine for a while, but whenever I looked up at Dave our conductor, I then couldn’t find the right place on the music when I looked back. I tried new varifocal lenses and occupational lenses, to no avail.

Being an optician by trade I wasn’t going to let this beat me, and it didn’t. As a result of this discovery, several years ago now, I have gone on to help many musicians, friends and acquaintances. I find everyone requires a different solution and we tailor make our lenses to suit the player. A cellist, for instance, needs a completely different optical solution to a Harpist, Violinist, Organist, or a Trombonist.

Why we are different

We take into account seating position, (in the ensemble), playing position, instrument, prescription, age and the position of the music stand and conductor. We even take into account that many of these change according to location and venue.

In a way, I am so glad that I struggled early on, because as a result of my struggles, getting to grips with a new instrument in my late forties, Allegro Optical was born. We are the only opticians, that we know of that helps musicians who are struggling to see the music. As a result, we have helps musicians, presenters, dancers and music teachers from all over the world to see the music.

If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision, we can help. You may feel your musical ability is being called into question as a result of your deteriorating vision. Many musicians come to us considering retiring from professional playing completely and face giving up the thing they love. There is absolutely no need to do this, with the correct lenses, we can extend your playing life, and help you to see the music.

For more information contact www.allegrooptical.co.uk or call us in Meltham, Holmfirth, near Huddersfield on 01484 907090 or in Leeds on 0113 345 2272

Post by Sheryl Doe

Categories
News

Cello good.

Fiona Mayo BA(Hons) Dip Mus, LRSM, LTCL, is a Cellist and Cello teacher. Like many mature musicians, she was struggling with the effects of presbyopia. Sight reading was a problem as was focusing on the music on the stand. She was also having problems seeing the music when teaching, as she uses a shared music stand.

A problem with sight reading

A long term varifocal wearer Fiona was experiencing difficulty with the narrow corridor and peripheral distortion provided by the spectacles her optician provided. Fiona needed to be able to see the conductor from as near as a few feet (when leading a cello section), to as far as the furthest distance on a concert stage(when providing playing support from the last desk of cellists in a big symphony orchestra).

She was finding particular difficulty when teaching, as music teachers often position the music stand in front of their pupils and then read the piece being played from the side. Although Fiona’s current lenses were a free form design this had become problematic, due to the narrower field of view provided by the lens corridor.

Seeing the music

We dispensed a pair of spectacles adapted to take into account Fiona’s  various working distances and seating positions. Having collected and used the new spectacles Fiona said: “I have been wearing my new spectacles since I got them”.  “I have worn them for:

  • Cutting tiny wedges to fit mortices in the re-hairing of cello bows
  • Teaching, from a single music stand, as well as sideways on from a stand placed in front of the pupil.
  • Reading piano music to accompany pupils.
  • Attending a String Quartet concert at Leeds College of Music and being able to see clearly.

The biggest surprise is that I no longer have to take the specs off for close work. It’s all looking fantastic. Thanks again for helping me and  the service has been exceptional.”

Harrogate philharmonic orchestra

Summary

Focusing at many different distances can pose real problems to musicians. Many struggle with the varying focal distances they work with. In fact, many musicians also suffer from postural problems as a result. With an understanding of the playing and seating positions of professional musicians, this problem can be overcome. The musicians working and playing life can easily be extended, due to the improvement that this solution provides. Many Musicians who experience focusing problems at different distances are unaware that there is a solution to the problem. Many optometrists and opticians either prescribe and dispense single vision lenses for the music stand or varifocals, which often exacerbate the problems due to the narrow corridor.

Conclusion

This case study has illustrated the variety of dispensing challenges that practitioners may face when a musician presents in practice and the individual.