A photo of Chapman sitting at a table at the Westminster Music Library. He is wearing a suit and is smiling, with a selection of books on shelves behind him.

The Taipei Music Foundation for vision impaired musicians

Chapman is an Amber Music Award recipient. His father and Amber Trustee, Chun Shum, has shared the following account of Chapman’s participation in the 31st Vision Impaired Music Competition in Taiwan.

The Taipei Music Foundation for the Vision Impaired has the following mantra, “如果黑暗無盡頭,何不讓音樂燃亮生命!” which translates to:

“If there is no end to darkness, why not let music illuminate life!”

Taipei Music Foundation

Chapman Shum, a 13-year-old blind music lover, participated in the 31st Vision Impaired Music Competition, hosted by the Taipei Music Foundation for vision impaired musicians. This year was unique as the foundation extended its welcome to international talents, making it the inaugural International Vision Impaired Music Competition.

Chapman stands holding a cane and wearing dark glasses. He is in front of a stage with a red curtain behind it. There is a grand piano and a group of people standing on stage.

The International Blind Music Festival united some talented blind and partially sighted music talents from Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, and the UK. Beyond the competition, the festival provided a platform for exchange and camaraderie.

Participants from diverse regions shared their unique journeys as blind and partially sighted individuals pursuing music. They discussed their aspirations regarding future education and employment opportunities, along with the support services available for vision impaired individuals in their respective countries.

Literature from the event. Two mounted sheets of paper with a golden design round the outside are encased with a red border.

Ueta Takako’s incredible journey

One individual, 上田喬子 Ueta Takako, a soprano from Japan, left a lasting impression. She embarked on a solo journey to Taiwan for this four-day extravaganza, overcoming language barriers, navigating a variety of transportation methods, and adapting to different locations. And, of course, her voice resonated as the most profound memory.

Chapman delighted the audience

A montage of photos of Chapman on stage. The first shows him playing a grand piano; the second shows him performing the drums; the third shows him holding a certificate. The words say, 'The 31st Taiwan Music Festival and Competition for the Visually impaired. The 1st International Music Competition for the Visually Impaired.' Chapman was awarded the 'Jury's Special Prize in the Academic group, student sub-group' and the 'Jury's Special Prize in the Free Crossover group, student sub-group.'

Despite being the youngest contestant, Chapman showcased extraordinary musical talent and earned two awards in two different categories. His jazz drum performance of “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath earned him a Jury’s Special Award in the Free Crossover category, Student Sub-Group, while his piano prowess secured him another Jury’s Special Award in the Academic Student category.

There was a surprise lined up for participants

Beyond the music competition, the foundation had a thoughtful surprise in store: a guided tour of Taipei for all participants. They embarked on a journey through the serene Beitou Hot Springs area, allowing the musicians to feel the hot steam rising from the Earth’s depths and savouring the distinct flavour of hot spring eggs. To top it off, a delectable seafood feast awaited them in this vibrant locale.

This immersive experience not only allowed those taking part to bask in the warmth of the geothermal valley, but also to delve into the rich tapestry of Taiwan’s history, making this expedition an exceptionally enriching adventure. After the four-day exchange, all the guests had forged strong bonds of friendship and eagerly anticipated a joyful reunion at the next festival in 2025. Looking forward, I hope to see some musical talents from The Amber Trust join Chapman at the next festival, as we continue to celebrate the power of music in illuminating lives.

Chapman performs at a grand piano on stage. Pink flowers and green plants lay at the base of the stage.

The Taipei Music Foundation for the Vision Impaired

The Taipei Music Foundation for the Vision Impaired orchestrated the inaugural Taiwan International Blind Musicians’ Competition. Situated in Taiwan, TBMF is a nonprofit powerhouse. Just like The Amber Trust, it is dedicated to empowering blind and partially sighted individuals in the realm of music. Their mission encompasses fostering musical talent, nurturing confidence, and fostering social inclusion and equality. TBMF offers a spectrum of musical education, encompassing instrumental proficiency, vocal training, and music theory, all contributing to the development of blind musicians’ musical prowess.

TBMF also provides a stage for vision impaired musicians to share their talents with the world and allowing the public to revel in their extraordinary musical creations. Beyond performances, TBMF actively supports blind musicians in the intricate realms of music composition and recording. They become the guiding light that propels these talents to the forefront of the music industry.

TBMF has opened its audio sheet music library to all vision impaired users. Through Chapman’s participation in the event, Mr. Chang, the founder of TBMF, became acquainted with The Amber Trust. He extends a warm welcome to all Amber students, encouraging them to make use of their Music Library. As a blind music lover himself, Mr. Chang understands the challenges faced without the right tools. He developed this library specifically for vision impaired music lovers, ensuring that more children with vision impairments can benefit from this resource.

A photo of Mr. Chang, the founder of the Taipei Music Foundation. Mr. Chang is wearing dark glasses and a black suit.

Access TMBF’s audio sheet music library

  • Visit the Taipei Music Foundation
  • Register by following the membership instructions
  • Login and freely download sheet music files in MIDI format from their library
  • Download a music listening software to play the MIDI files
  • Enjoy playing!