Slightly off topic, but a good critique of the school-grade band/choir/orchestra-music publisher industrial complex :
It was a nice enough, if completely unmemorable, piece. But why, I kept thinking, couldn’t they sing a real Elizabethan madrigal? Or how about a Beatles song? Or anything at all that has inspired and touched and sent shivers down the spine the way great art does?
If high-school English teachers stopped assigning Shakespeare and Faulkner and instead gave their students the winner of the 1991 Iowa English teachers’ novel-writing contest to read, I think we’d know where to tell them to get off.
via The Washington Post
Who says music researchers are stodgy? Some interesting new research going on at McGill that could someday work to improve beat detection in all kinds of music software:
An essential first step in understanding how various producers uniquely use percussion, melody, and harmony in their tracks is downbeat detection (to find the first beat of every measure). We’ve developed a style-specific method of downbeat detection catered to Hardcore, Jungle, and Drum and Bass (HJDB) by combining multiple forms of metrical information: low-frequency onset detection; beat tracking; and a regression model (SVR) trained on the timbre and sequence order of breakbeats. In a recent evaluation using 206 HJDB tracks, we demonstrate superior accuracy of our style-specific method over four general downbeat detection algorithms (including two commercial algorithms).
Read the rest at Breakscience.
Dennis Desantis has some interesting writing about the 10,000 Hour Theory, stated in which it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice/training to achieve master level at any activity, be it playing an instrument, sports, etc.
From his blog:
If 10,000 hours sounds like a lot of time, keep in mind that it’s not a switch; it’s a process. On your way to expertise, you will get better and better, and you will feel progress happening all the time.
And most importantly, 10,000 hours is what it takes to be elite. Simply getting good will happen much sooner. But it will not happen without putting in real, focused time.
What are you waiting for?
Of course, there are differing opinions, but it’s still interesting food for thought.
He has some great case studies on musicians who actually did this.
I did a little back-of-the napkin math: If you practiced your new thing for an hour a day only, it would take roughly 28 years to achieve greatness. At two hours per day, more like 14 years. At 3 hours per day, we’re getting dangerously close to “cramping one’s style” but you can get there in about 9 years. So maybe it was true in college – the people who put in 4 hours a day in the studio really did get a quality payoff for their efforts. I was never convinced enough to put that kind of time in – maybe I should have read the article back then.
It’s been long known that the anti-copy protection clauses of the DMCA prevent honest folks from doing common “Fair Use” tasks such as backing up DVD’s they already own.
But what about the survival of our culture to future generations? Are historians allowed to preserve media that’s been copy protected? The answer currently is no:
So we’re looking at a future where 100% of all major cultural commercial works could be protected with DRM, taking 100% of those works out of the flow of cultural history until they become public domain, at which point they will likely already be lost due to technological obsolescence and media decay. (Interestingly, this will tilt our future understanding of the history of this period toward those works that never relied on DRM for copy protection.)
This status quo is simply unacceptable and must change, or we have to be willing, as a society and a nation, to say goodbye to libraries and the concept of universal public access to knowledge.
It’s time to repeal the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA. It unfairly dictates how consumers can use electronic products they own, and it jeopardizes our cultural history while providing only marginal protections to copyright holders.
Let’s not make this generation the one where cultural scholarship dies.
We need a new Fair Use.
Via The Atlantic
Okay friends, holy cow.
So apparently at 30FPS or some other frame rate, this would just look like a jiggly hose, but when perfectly synced with the sound wave, we have a super-amazing video.
Note: the sound is not traveling through the water, it’s simply the mechanics of the speaker shaking the hose in sync with the camera’s frame rate (kind of like how on car commercials it looks like the wheels are going backwards sometimes).
Teachers need to hang this in their rooms:
Ito: There are nine or so principles to work in a world like this:
1. Resilience instead of strength, which means you want to yield and allow failure and you bounce back instead of trying to resist failure.
2. You pull instead of push. That means you pull the resources from the network as you need them, as opposed to centrally stocking them and controlling them.
3. You want to take risk instead of focusing on safety.
4. You want to focus on the system instead of objects.
5. You want to have good compasses not maps.
6. You want to work on practice instead of theory. Because sometimes you don’t why it works, but what is important is that it is working, not that you have some theory around it.
7. It disobedience instead of compliance. You don’t get a Nobel Prize for doing what you are told. Too much of school is about obedience, we should really be celebrating disobedience.
8. It’s the crowd instead of experts.
9. It’s a focus on learning instead of education.
Via Bruce Sterling
As a teacher, I heavily rely on the ability to switch back and forth between mirrored and spanning mode for my Mac. I seriously hate messing with Displays preferences during class and fiddling with resolutions and such. Until this summer, Macs were pretty good at quickly switching between these modes, but with the arrival of Mac 10.8 Mountain Lion, the displays menu was replaced with the much more specific Airplay menu, which does not include the old Mirroring toggle. In fact, the key shortcut to enable/disable mirroring (⌘-1) forces a rescan of the displays, often resulting in a resolution change. Terrible!
Luckily, we can re-enable this feature easily with a free app from the Mac App Store called Display Menu by Thorsten Karrer. This app does exactly what you think it should, and it also enables the quick resolution switching that OS X had way back in the day. Everyone chained to a desktop with mirroring mode for their day job needs to get this app, posthaste. Check out more info on the Display Menu website.
From the Constitution of the United States:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to
Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”
(Article I, Section 8, Clause 8)
Read today, it’s as if the founders anticipated collaborative and derivative works, or “remixing” if you will.
Apparently, a house representative posted an astute analysis on the pitfalls of our current executions of Copyright law, and within hours the document was removed. It includes some great points on the original intention of the law, and how current laws actually have become a roadblock for innovation and progress, simply artificially propping up outdated business models.
The required reading can be found here (PDF)
Normally I don’t look at videos from Apple.com marketing as all that, say, “un-natural”. However, this video of an innovative Chinese school is interesting. At a time when many US schools are just now recognizing the value of project-based learning through technology it shouldn’t be surprising that other countries around the world are doing this too. But in this case, it kind of is surprising – China isn’t exactly known for this type of innovation.
An interesting list of things getting real for professional orchestras around the US.
I cannot remember a time when so many US orchestras were simultaneously in such difficulty. Whatever patchwork solutions are achieved in the month ahead, system changes are required across the sector in the long term. These are not isolated instances so much as symptoms of an underlying paralysis.
I had a very smart professor tell a class of percussionists some good advice: “Only insects specialize”. The dream of making a living only doing classical orchestral music is over for the vast majority of musicians, and as educators we need to lay this truth bare.