Technology opens up new world for Marci

The Encourager

Musician and busker Marci Rota loves looking up song lyrics online and using YouTube to make her own playlists.

Marci out in the city with a friend

But rewind a year, and Marci didn’t even have a mobile phone.

A friend asked her how they could keep in touch, which started the ball rolling on her technology journey.

She began working with Blind Foundation Adaptive Communications/Adaptive Technology Services Trainer Bavani Suresh.

“Bavani suggested that I start off with a basic smartphone, and that’s how it started,” says Marci.

From text messages and calls, her interest expanded into surfing the internet.

“One of the reasons I started doing it is because I’m a busking musician and I like to look up songs and their lyrics so I can listen to them and learn them from YouTube.”

Marci also uses the screen-reading programme Talkback and sends emails and texts, makes calls, listens to the radio and makes playlists online of her favourite music.

“Marci is an amazing student,” says Bavani.

“She picks up tips and techniques so quickly. She has now become a true techie.”

Her new skills are especially helpful for the holiday season, as she is able to look up and learn Christmas songs to perform while busking in Manurewa a suburb in South Auckland.

Marci has been busking for about 10 years, playing the guitar and singing. She learned to play the piano as a student at Homai College, recently finishing piano grades six, seven and eight. For many years she enjoyed performing at the Manurewa Baptist Church.

Marci and a friend, sitting and talking at the harbour.She mostly performs easy-listening songs and seasonal music while she’s busking, but loves listening to a wide variety of musical genres.

“There’s so much now that I’ve got the internet and YouTube. My favourite genres are R’n’B, funk, jazz and classic rock, also a bit of punk, blues, reggae and soul, and I’m starting to get into a little bit of country music.”

When she has the time, Marci also likes to sing karaoke.

Marci acknowledges other musicians with low vision for influencing her music journey. “I’d like to give a big thanks to Allan Witana, Catherine Stevenson, Mark Laurent and Josie Kurie. They have been a huge support.”

Marci encourages blind people or those with low vision to share their music with their local community.

By Bavani Suresh


This article was originally published by Blind Low Vision NZ in their publication Outlook, Autumn 2017, and is used with their permission.




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