Music Master Class

Skidmore has embarked on some exciting new videoconferencing projects involving the music department and the new Zankel Music building.  The outreach began during the spring semester with a videoconference to Carnegie Hall.

A student string quartet was presenting a music appreciation program to Saratoga Bridges students with special needs.  In order to learn how to best engage these students, the quartet members connected by videoconference to fellows of The Academy at Carnegie Hall.  The fellows are part of a program of Carnegie Hall, The Julliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education who visit schools and colleges, performing and giving similar music appreciation lectures.  The purpose of this connection was not to review the performance of the music, but to discuss how to effectively present the musical score to the students and involve them in the presentation.

After playing one of the scores for the fellows at Carnegie Hall, the Skidmore students and fellows discussed how to best discuss the music at a level that the perspective audience could understand.  The fellows also suggested ways that the Skidmore quartet could pull the Bridges students into an interactive session through various activities and questions.

A second videoconference was scheduled a week later, after the Skidmore Quartet had practiced their presentation. The fellows at Carnegie Hall made a few more suggestions, and the Skidmore Quartet made a very successful and interactive presentation to the Saratoga Bridges students.  The videoconferencing process was very natural, and it allowed the two groups separated by three hours to successfully and creatively meet during their busy schedules.  Our students benefited not only from the expertise of the Carnegie fellows, but also made new connections with fellow musicians.

Our next step is to explore the use of Internet2 (high speed internet) to connect by videoconference to other institutions for music master classes.  This summer a group of us travelled to The Eastman School of Music to discuss possible projects and learn more about the software and hardware necessary to transmit CD quality sound over Internet2.  We have identified areas where we might collaborate, and plan to pursue these beginning this fall.

Hunt Conard
Director, Media Services


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