Bill Mccann


Bill Mccann in Braille.


Foundational quote for image generation:

“We can’t totally trust our own perceptions of the world. We have to make judgments based on our perceptions. Of course we do. But we also have to be open to the possibility that, you know what, I could be completely wrong about this.”

This image depicts a young boy (representing Bill McCann), emerging from the cold mountain water under the bridge across Licking Creek. His wide-open eyes convey a sense of surprise or shock.   The clarity of the water and the vivid details of the bridge contrast with the boy’s startled expression, reminding us that sometimes, even the most evident truths can be overlooked or misinterpreted.

While this image depicts an event from Bill’s childhood, it equally serves as a universal metaphor for the unpredictable nature of perception.  Even those with sight can be ‘blinded’ by their preconceptions and biases. Perception, for all its value, is not infallible, and we must always be open to re-evaluating and understanding the world.

“And I said, I wonder what’s on the other side of this bridge. And I went off the bridge into the water.  So, we can’t totally trust our own perceptions of the world.”


Foundational quote for image generation:

“When I lost my sight that summer when I was six. All I wanted was a bicycle. My father never said, Bill let’s talk about this. No, I had a bicycle under the Christmas tree that year. My Dad taught me to ride it in our driveway. And then he took the training wheels off and somehow I learned how to balance myself and ride that bike. I knew every bump in the sidewalk within a five block radius.”

This vibrant image captures a young boy (representing Bill McCann) exuding confidence as he rides a bicycle down a sunlit suburban lane. Although his path ahead is not clearly visible, the poise with which he handles the bicycle suggests an air of self-assurance and determination. This picture serves as a potent metaphor for Bill’s journey as he explores his world, not through sight, but through determination, confidence, and self-reliance. 

The bicycle, a symbol of independence and mobility, represents the Bill’s drive to navigate his surroundings despite the challenges posed by his visual impairment. The image is a vivid reminder that, while vision might provide sight, true understanding and growth come from experiences, risks, and the belief that one can overcome challenges.


Foundational quote for image generation:

“I have learned that in some people’s minds, being blind is about one step away from being dead. And so as blind people, I think it’s important for us to understand that reality because, I mean, it could be it’s the kind of thing that could be upsetting to us because it sounds unkind, but what it’s really about is that people fear what they don’t know.”

This evocative image depicts a man (representing Bill McCann) sitting inside a bus. The amber and deep red tones of the interior exude a warm essence, and the vibrant, contrasting colors create a dramatic atmosphere.

Bill is depicted as a contemplative figure, seated with a trumpet cradled in his hands, a clear reference to his identity as a musician. He appears deep in thought, his face shadowed yet defined, hinting at the stories and experiences he might have encountered in his journey as a blind trumpet player. His posture is relaxed but poised, reflecting both vulnerability and strength.

The windows behind him showcase abstract patterns, possible to indicate the world passing by.  The man, his instrument, and the expressive setting, paint a picture of an artist connected with his surroundings, lost in his thoughts, possibly reminiscing or preparing for a performance. The overall ambiance evokes feelings of nostalgia and introspection, capturing a still moment in the bustling rhythm of life.

Bill plays his trumpet.



Musician and Entrepreneur / Philadelphia, PA USA

Bill McCann is a lifelong advocate for literacy, independence and inclusion for the blind and low vision musician.

At age 9, Bill began learning two skills that have blessed him throughout his life: playing the trumpet and reading braille music. These related skills enabled him to study classical and jazz performance at a music conservatory graduating cum laude, teach both sighted and blind students to play the trumpet, lead his own jazz band, play for wedding ceremonies and special liturgies, and, after working as a programmer at Sunoco for almost 10 years, to ultimately start a software company dedicated to improving access to music for blind and low vision performers. His work has brought him to over twenty countries, to interviews on the BBC and with the Associated Press, to UNESCO in Paris and even to the White House.

In 1992, he founded Dancing Dots to enable visually impaired musicians to independently read music, write their music down, and to record their music. His company created the world’s first commercial braille music translator software, GOODFEEL® and has pioneered in the area of creating what he calls “accessible scores”. Their Lime Lighter, software solution enables low vision musicians to read and to write magnified music in an accessible environment. Dancing Dots also publishes a series of braille music courses and provides equipment and training for a number of accessible solutions for creating professional-sounding, multi-track audio productions.

Today, Dancing Dots has customers throughout the United States and in over 50 other countries. Mr. McCann has presented at numerous international conferences and has taught at a variety of music camps in the U.S. and Canada. Most recently, he served as Music Director from 2014 through 2017 for the Enchanted Hills Summer Music Academy in northern California and performed and presented in a festival for blind musicians in Morocco in 2019.

He has been interviewed by the BBC, Associated Press and the Philadelphia Inquirer and has published numerous articles about his work. His composition about a blind driver who dreams of his first solo ride in a self-driving vehicle, “The Glorious Dream: Ballad of the Google Car”, has provoked both laughter and reflection in YouTube subscribers everywhere. For the bicentenary of the birth of Louis Braille in 2009, at an international conference at UNESCO in Paris, Mr. McCann was honored to be invited to speak about one of his heroes, Louis Braille, and about the tactile system for music bearing his name.

Learn more about Dancing Dots