For the past two years, I’ve been serving as the Peabody Institute representative on the organizing committee for the “Music Anywhere, Anytime” conference, also known by its more official title: International Symposium on Synchronous Distance Learning. This will be a virtual conference with four primary sites—Manhattan School of Music (New York), Peabody Institute (Baltimore), Royal College of Music (London), and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore)—and slots for nearly thirty additional real-time interactive partner sites through a bridge provided by Internet2.
Since I entered this process with next to no experience in this field—having only used Skype to rehearse with others across distance—working on this project has been an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. I was heartened to find that current technology allows for high definition video and sound that’s better than cd quality to be broadcast over the Internet. While time lag issues are a continuing problem for intercontinental collaborative performances, these tools currently allow for real-time pedagogical interactions that can be fruitful for underserved communities as well as for expanding the reach of our premiere institutions.
Many of the presenters involved with this conference have been among the pioneers in this field. My co-organizers, Christianne Orto of MSM, Tania Lisboa of RCM, and George Hess of YST, have each been working on projects throughout the world. The title of the keynote speech by baritone Thomas Hampson, “Protecting the ‘A-ha’ Moment in Virtual Arts Learning,” with its emphasis on using technology as a tool towards preserving some of the more traditional aspects of one-on-one studio music teaching, helps to convey the overall tenor of the conference.* In all, the two days of the conference will involve eight hours of interactive presentations originating from four continents.
As of this writing, we still have room for several interactive sites, each of which will be able to see each presentation and ask questions during the open sessions. If you have access to a video conferencing system supporting H.323 transmission, you can register as one of these sites through the conference website. In addition, the entire conference will be streamed live on October 5 and 6, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. EDT.
* There may be an additional keynote speaker. If so, I will provide details in the comments section once this is confirmed.