Part 2- A year with the Musician’s Optician. Helping musicians to See The Music

Springing into spring with the musician’s optician


As the weather turned warmer and dryer we were kept busy with a steady stream of musical clients. This isn’t unusual as many musicians from the South of England put off the journey “Up North” until the weather looks more promising. As things became warmer, we became busier April brought two Cornet Players, a Violinist, another Tuba Player,  a Tenor Horn Player, an Organist, a Baritone Horn Player, a French Horn Player, a Pianist and a Trombonist through our doors.  

Honley Ladies lady

Choral conductor Emily Reaves-Bradley visited Allegro Optical in Greenfield on the recommendation of a friend. Emily was struggling to see her score while conducting her choirs. A very busy lady, Emily is an extremely well-qualified solo performer and Music Director. She’s been the M.D. of Honley Ladies Choir for over sixteen years. Emily leads the “On Song Parkinson’s Choir” which aims to make music and memories for Parkinson’s sufferers and their families.  Music is a huge part of Emily’s life, she wasn’t going to let a vision problem curtail her passion. When she collected her new glasses Emily was impressed with the clarity and field of view offered by her new glasses. “Now I don’t need to choose between seeing the choir or seeing the music I can do both yeah!” She quipped.  

Katrina’s no longer brassed off

Tenor Horn player Katrina Woodward of Uppermill Band benefited from not one, but two pairs of musician’s glasses. One pair for playing from the stand and a second pair for playing from the lyer.  One collecting her new glasses Katrina was impressed by the clarity at all distances. Her new glasses now help her when playing she said; “My new glasses are great, it makes such a big difference when wearing them at Uppermill. No more looking over the top of my glasses at the conductor like a school teacher! I can’t wait to wear my  new marching glasses on Whit Sunday and Whit Friday.“ May May was even more hectic than April as we helped  two Violinists, a Timpanist, a Euphonium Player, a Percussionist, a Saxophonist, two Choral Singers, an Organist, a Cellist and a Conductor. We also helped four dancers, one TV presenter and an opera singer.

A real sax….cess story

Sometimes things get interesting and Musician Melanie Taylor really gave us something to think about. Melanie often plays more than one instrument and dances at the same time. It has to be said, that was a challenge. Melanie plays with a few groups, including Rebel Rebel, The Comet Rockers, 7StoreySoul and Beeston Big Band. She also teaches violin and so she needs to read music which can be in any position. Melanie had previously tried varifocals, but she struggled with the peripheral distortion. Also the very small area for focusing on the music stand and laptop proved problematic. Her optician then changed her to bifocals. Giving an intermediate or mid-range prescription in the top and reading in the bottom. This didn’t really work, especially as when performing on stage.

We get it

Our Optometrist was a Saxophonist herself and completely understood Melanie’s problems and working distances. Sheryl then designed a pair of lenses to give Melanie the clearest possible vision and greatest depth of field for performing, dancing and teaching. Melanie said; “I am delighted with my new glasses.  For the first time I can stand on stage reading my music from different distances,  walk around, dance, see my fellow band members and the audience with perfect clear vision. No more looking over the top of my glasses frames or wearing them halfway down my nose!  I can’t thank Sheryl and the team at Allegro enough. They totally understood my needs and provide an outstanding service. The choice of frames was vast and the advice given was first class. Thank You!” We’d like to think that Melanie’s glasses were a real sax…cess. 


June started off fairly brassy with visits by three Trombonists, a Euphonium Player, four Cornet Players, and a Fluglehorn player. This was probably because of Whit Friday. As the month progressed however we were also consulted by more orchestral musicians including  a Cellist, a Harpist, a Bassoonist, two Pianists and a singer who kept us busy in June.

Music may be the food of love, but it’s tastier when you can see it.

Michael and Susan Brown made the trip from Wales to visit Allegro Optical in Meltham. The couple heard about our specialism in musicians eyecare from a friend. Michael and Susan are both experienced varifocal wearers, but while they were fine for everyday visual tasks, they didn’t provide a good enough field of view for playing.  The couple collected their new glasses a couple of weeks later and were delighted with the results. They said;  “Michael and I are delighted with our new glasses and agree that they are so much better than anything either of us had before. Nigel wasn’t wrong when he said Allegro Optical is unique, the whole experience has been most enjoyable. It has been so refreshing to finally meet an optician who really does understand what we need. Michael’s neck pain has almost gone and I can see the conductors again while still seeing the music. The new glasses are definitely better than my old glasses. Thank you for all your help.”

No more migraines and a colourful future

Thanks to colour Migraines are now a thing of the past for Music Teacher Julie Walker. Having had problems with glare for sometime, often accompanied by severe headaches. Julie struggled daily as her severe photophobia and migraines.   She visited Allegro Optical on the recommendation of a musician friend. prescribed a pair of prescription Precision Tinted Lenses and Julie now wears these spectacles for work and when playing.  

Julie has reported a significant reduction in her reliance on medication since she began using her new glasses.  She said “So far, these glasses have made a big difference. Within seconds of putting them on, I could feel immediate relaxation in my eyes & my headaches have improved significantly. In addition to helping with my light sensitivity under the bright lights at work, they’ve helped with my sight reading and I can now enjoy my work and my music making.”

Tony was getting “Brassed Off” when he couldn’t see the music

Tony Spencer of Simply Brass first discovered the Musicians Optician at Brass in Concert at the Sage in Gateshead. Coincidentally Tony was a former player of many years with Kippax band, who recently won the Yorkshire Regional Brass Band Finals and are conducted by none other than Allegro Optical’s Managing Director Stephen Tighe.   Tony has a few eye disorders including early cataracts.  He also has an epiretinal membrane (ERM), a condition resulting in a very thin layer of scar tissue.  This has formed on the surface of the retina. In addition to this, Tony has presbyopia and a very dominant left eye. Another issue is that while Tony’s left eye is his dominant eye it is also amblyopic, or “lazy”. Some studies have shown that saccadic latency is increased in cases of dominant amblyopic eyes.  Making seeing the music increasingly difficult, often resulting in double vision. So it is no surprise that Tony was having problems.

A Solution

We resolved Tony’s issues by blurring his left eye and dispensing our Fogoto lens to his right. When Tony collected his new glasses he was able to see the music on the stand clearly. He was also able to focus on the conductor. We contacted Tony a few days later to see how he was getting on with his new glasses. He said; “This innovative approach by Sheryl and her colleagues at Allegro Optical has hopefully increased my time in banding.” On a recent visit, Tony even gave us a demonstration of his sight reading with his new glasses.

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

An independent family run business we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs. Now known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further a field. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). We treat each client as an individual and it is true that no two musicians are the same. So why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping performers that this year alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘. During March Allegro Optical was awarded the  ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York and went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. The company has been featured in many national publications including The Times 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine. Are you are a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music is no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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