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Beecher, Ill. company helps visually-impaired realize their music dreams

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Creating a community for music lovers where accessibility is no longer an issue is the vision of a company called I See Music located in Beecher, Illinois. (WLS)

Creating a community for music lovers where accessibility is no longer an issue is the vision of a company called I See Music located in Beecher, Illinois.

Unique ability, not disability. That's how Byron Harden describes the students of I See Music.

Harden created the music engineering company for the visually impaired after losing his sight not once, but twice.

"I lost my sight at seven years old. Actually woke up on my 7th birthday and due to an allergic reaction to penicillin, so they sewed my eyes shut for nine years. They opened it back up when I was 16 years old and I had a cornea transplant. Next thing you know voila glaucoma and right into darkness," Harden said.

Harden didn't let his loss of sight deter him from his passion: music. He created an audio production company not only to make music but to teach.

"It's a program we teach music production to the totally blind. We teach audio production all the way from DJing, studio engineering," he said.

I See Music's first students began training in 2014. The company's Impact Program is only hand over hand music production training facility in the country. So far 10 students have completed program.

"We only train two people at a time. Our trainers are blind, all are trainers are blind and of course our students are blind so if you can imagine 20 people in a room with computers that are talking when they're all blind it would be an interesting day," Harden said.

Students like Demiel Wright travel to Beecher for the chance to make their dreams a reality.

"I lost my sight around 9 years old and the only other blind person I knew of was Stevie Wonder and I just figured in my mind blind people did music. Having a studio here that is accessible for me that I can navigate through and bring my ideas and everything to fruition," Wright said.

I See Music does not replace college but gives training to bridge the gap for the visually paired to go on to school, independent contracting or employment.

"I hope to go back and work on a lot of my material and develop into the master engineer I want to become and may be eventually have an establishment like this," Wright said.
Byron said he plans to start offering full DJ courses in early 2017.

For more information on the program and I See Music, visit http://iseemusic.org/.
Related Topics:
societydisabilitydisability issuescommunityBeecher
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