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Outstanding performance from start to finish – A blog by violinist Richard Bottom of Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra

A violinist’s view

We love to receive feedback, good and maybe not so good, it is all helpful and helps us to grow and improve our business and products. We’re even happier when a happy customer offers to write a blog about their experience. In this blog Violinist Richard Bottom from Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra talks all about his journey to find the right glasses to help him see the music.

Violinist Richard Bottom at Huddersfield town hall with Sheryl from ALlegro Optical, the musicians optician

Struggling to see music

I decided to give Allegro Opticians a try after reading their claims and some of the testimonials on their website.

I have been struggling to see music when playing my violin and viola for several years. My normal varifocals just didn’t work when playing. I tried single lens glasses, which were fine for reading the music in front of me, but didn’t work playing in the orchestra. My regular optician suggested bi focals but these made me feel sick.

Things came to a head in July Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra were reading through Beethoven’s Eroica, a symphony which, for some reason I had never played and was really looking forward to doing. I struggled to see the music so much I went home in tears, convinced my playing days in an orchestra were over.

Looking for a solution

The following day I rang Allegro and made an appointment for later that same day. It was clear from the outset that Allegro were different from other opticians and really did understand the quite complex requirements for glasses for musicians.

The initial eye test was thorough, similar to what you would expect from any other examination. 

What followed, however is in my opinion what makes Allegro stand out from the crowd.

Next came a detailed discussion took place with Sheryl Doe, the dispensing optician. Sheryl covered all aspects of what I needed to be able to see. And it didn’t stop there. Violin out, music on stand, distances I needed to be able to see at measured:

  • height of the music on the stand, 
  • how far away the conductor was, 
  • distance to the desk in front (for copying bowings during rehearsal), 
  • writing on my own part. 
  • tracking my eye movement to see which parts of the lens I was using when playing. 

You name it, it was checked and double checked.


Seeing is believing

And the attention to detail continued. When the glasses came back from the factory Sheryl wasn’t happy with them. Slight changes were made and the lenses re-made till she was satisfied they would do the job. Even then I was sent home to play and make sure I was completely happy.

The glasses are not cheap, around what you would pay for high end varifocals. But the end result is, I now have a pair of glasses I previously thought it was impossible to make. As a result I can look forward to playing again. Allegro really do understand the needs of musicians and their attention to detail is outstanding.

I have no reservations whatsoever in recommending them to anyone looking for an optician who will go that extra mile to get it right and would like to thank all their staff for their professionalism and help.

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

As 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 because they are. 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 to provide the very best glasses for musicians.

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‘ and she has been shortlisted for the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.

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. Allegro Optical’s unique optical solution and our cutting edge approach to dispensing has led to the group being named finalists in the Huddersfield Examiners Business Awards in the Innovation and Enterprise category.

Allegro Optical the musicians optician Sheryl winning Dispensing Optician of the Year 2019 Award for their work with Musicians eye care

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? Are you looking for the perfect pair of glasses for musicians? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.