It’s all about the Bass for Brian
Bb Bass player Brian Law plays for Longridge Band in Lancashire. A dedicated musician, he was becoming increasingly frustrated by his inability to focus on the music on his stand and his conductor. Brian was using a good quality freeform bespoke varifocals but they just weren’t working for him when he was playing as the area at music stand position was much too small. When playing BBb Bass it is impossible to move your head due to the mouthpiece of the instrument, so a better solution was much needed.
Brass in Concert
Brian discovered Allegro Optical at our trade stand at Brass in Concert championship in November at the Sage in Gateshead. We got chatting about the very common problems musicians face when presbyopia begins to affect performance and how we could solve the problems he was facing. Not long after Brian visited us in Meltham, bringing his instrument and music with him. We conducted a thorough eye test and measured all Brians working distances. Taking all the necessary facial and frame measurements to create some bespoke musicians lenses to allow Brian to see the music and conductor.
We designed a monocular lens solution as Brian has a very dominant right eye and his instrument obscures part of his visual field. This is a very unique solution, but we have found this work well for instrumentalists who play larger bulky instruments such as the tuba.
When Brian collected his new glasses he commented that he can now see the whole page of music without having to move his head. Initially, it felt a bit strange but within a few minutes, he was adapting to the new lens design well. Brian was able to see clearly in the distance with a visual acuity of 6/8 and can read to N4 in his new glasses. But more importantly, he can now read two full pages of music on his music stand without having to move his head.
When asked about his new glasses Brian said; “After recently changing instrument from Baritone to Bass, I found that it was almost impossible to see the full page of music with the varifocal glasses that I had. Mainly due to the restrictions imposed by the instrument. My new glasses give me a perfect view of the full page of music without having to move the instrument or music stand, whilst still being able to look up and see the Musical Director. All in all, I am extremely happy with my new glasses. My thanks go to Allegro optical for their patience and professionalism“.
Our solution in focus
Seeing the music on the stand and the conductor and fellow musicians often isn’t a problem for the younger musician. However, once we reach middle age things become a little more challenging. Our eyes begin to struggle with focusing on objects which are near. Initially, it is just reading which presents a problem. But then computer screens and for musicians, the music stand distance begins to blur. Many musicians are prescribed single vision lenses for the music stand, but that then blurs the conductor. Not ideal if your role in the ensemble involves watching what the conductor is doing. Many opticians prescribe office or occupational lenses. However, these don’t always provide a satisfactory solution as the working distances are all wrong for the musician. Varifocals too don’t provide a perfect solution and the area of the music stand is often too small.
At Allegro Optical we know that every musician is different. For that reason, we create a completely bespoke lens solution. Our approach allows the musician to enjoy a much wider and deeper field of view to the usual off the shelf lens options. Some manufacturers offer musicians lenses but these tend to have a preset depth of field. This is ok if playing in one place all the time, but doesn’t allow for different venues or playing positions.
As a specialist in this field, and as musicians ourselves we understand the complex needs of many musicians and performers. If you are a musician who has problems seeing the music give us a call. Contact Allegro Optical Opticians on 01484 907090 for Meltham or 01457 353100 for Greenfield to book a consultation.