Out Of The Box, Connecting The Audience, Performers, And Composers Through Skype -Part 1

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This is the first part of an unknown number of posts about a first of a kind instrumental concert that, literally, connected the composers of the music being performed with the audience, conductor, and ensemble. The concert/event took place on May 6th, 2008 at Mercer High School in PA.

Travis J. Weller (noted composer and ME Blogger), and I decided that we wanted to do something, spectacular, out of the box, and -to our knowledge, never been done before that integrated technology, a live performance, and connected with the students in very meaningful way. The now famous SKYPE CONCERT concert band performance at Mercer High School was the result of our brainstorming.

After considerable leg work, we were able to, graciously, have Dr. Andrew Boysen, Dr. Scott Watson, and Mr. Brian Balmages agree to appear, LIVE, at the concert via SKYPE. This idea stemmed from prior work that I have written about and done. Last December I posted about how easy it was for any music teacher to use SKYPE to have a number of experts appear in their classroom. This time, Travis and I decided to see if we could, on a much grander scale, SKYPE experts into a concert setting. We succeeded.


In the next post I will describe the technical details of how and what we used to make this happen.  Above  is an embedded slide-show of the event in 24 pictures. If you would like to view these pictures on a grander scale, please visit this Picasa Link. I also have edited a 20 minute video of the event that will be posted as part of this series.

I would personally like to thank Dr. Boysen, Dr. Watson, and Mr. Balmages for their willingness to make this, as of now, one-of-a-kind concert, a reality. The student performers, audience, and school faculty and administration in attendance could not believe what a positive and amazing experience this was for all those in attendance and literally sparked a dialog about it and what can be done educational like this that goes on to this day! More to come! Stay tuned…

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Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is an industry innovator, education clinician and lecturer, trumpeter and conductor, and the creator of many education websites. He is currently the Vice President of Innovation and Engagement at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc. After twenty-three years as a professor and administrator at Grove City College, he made the move into industry in 2018.  As one of the youngest full professors in Grove City’s history, he served in various roles over his tenure including the Technical Director of the Pew Fine Arts Center, Assistant and Associate Chairs of Music and Music and Fine Arts, Director of Music and Fine Arts Technology, Director of Jazz Studies, Stage Manager, and he finished his tenure as the Director of Bands where he directed the college’s Symphonic Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Bands, and various small ensembles.

He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award, the PA Citation of Excellence, and named a “member for life” of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association,  a past President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association, and a member of various education and music honoraries. He has written for numerous publications including DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and was the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine for eight years; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. He is an active conductor, trumpeter, clinician, and educator. Find out more at his website jpisano.com.

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