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