Classical Music Buzz > HughSung.com - Music Meets Tech
HughSung.com - Music Meets Tech
helping musicians adopt technology to enhance their art and lifestyle
53 Entries
Here's the second of 2 videos, featuring a new piece by Gary Schocker called "Nach Bach", based loosely on the J.S. Bach Sonata in A minor performed in the previous video. Sorry for the plain jane single angle shot, i accidentally forgot to turn on the 2nd camera before playing! Thank goodness this camera at least had the XLR microphone input...



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8 years ago |
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Gary has been abundantly patient with me, waiting since February for this video to get edited and posted! This is actually the first of two videos, both performances being related to this Sonata in A minor by Bach for flute and keyboard:



Enjoy!

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8 years ago |
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Found this on Wired yesterday, and I'm completely fascinated with how cellist Zoe Keating uses looping software and MIDI foot pedals to assemble these quasi-minimalistic compositions in realtime:



Just twittered a "Bravo" to Ms. Keating - i guess I'm really late to the game, as her first of 2 self-produced albums came out back in 2004, but this is still inspiring stuff! Wonder if i can rig up my piano since i already have a house full of programmable pedals... ;)
8 years ago |
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Here are two views of a video recorded for PianoDisc, talking about how MusicReader, AirTurn, and Sync-A-Vision all work so well together to create the ultimate music reading system for pianists.

Before (shot with a handheld camcorder off to the side):


After (shot with Hi-Def Canon pro-cameras):


What a difference post production makes, eh?
8 years ago |
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This device might have its useful applications, but sitting on top of a music rack is definitely not one of them:



Funny, there was a teacher at the MTNA conference who was asking about a mechanical page turning device like this...i don't know about you, but this would give me cardiac conniptions if i ever had to use it to play anything faster than a Largo!
8 years ago |
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Here's the latest announcement for my next Exponential Musician workshop coming up this Friday in Boulder, Colorado:

The Entrepreneurship Center for Music at CU-Boulder would like to invite you to "The Exponential Musician", a special workshop featuring Pianist and Technology Advocate Hugh Sung on Friday, April 10, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Imig Music Building C-191 (for directions via Google Maps, click here.)

Hugh will be presenting and collaborating with other Boulder-based musicians in live demonstrations on various technologies that can exponentially enhance 3 primary areas of music: Pedagogy, Performance, and Practice.

Exponential Pedagogy

Hugh will demonstrate how using computers as music readers can exponentially improve the pedagogy of music. Using programs such as MusicReader and Audacity, you'll discover innovative ways to apply digital ink and audio/visual cues to dramatically improve the speed and quality of the study of music.

Exponential Performance

From hands-free wireless page turning systems to the inclusion of visual effects with the Visual Recital concept, you'll be exposed to innovative ideas to enhance stage presence, motivate your students, and engage today's audiences in new and thrilling ways!

Exponential Practice

It's never been easier or more affordable to leverage the power of the Internet to improve your musical practice and expand your teaching studio! From setting up free websites to creating new products for residual income with no money down, Hugh will share his expertise on Internet marketing to help create new opportunities for musicians in today's challenging economic climate. Hugh's blog at www.HughSung.com is dedicated to helping musicians adopt technologies to enhance their art and lifestyle, and is currently one of the most popular classical music blogs on the Internet.

Admission

Admission is free and open to the public. For more information contact SoYoung Lee, 303-828-0526 or soyoung@airturn.com

About The Entrepreneurship Center for Music

The Entrepreneurship Center for Music is a unique program that develops these attributes by providing additional training in communication, business, and technical skills, all within the context of a global music market. Offerings extend from condensed workshops to internships and courses for credit. From the basics of marketing to the application of talent and training, the goal is to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and skills that yield a competitive advantage.


By the way, if you would like to host "The Exponential Musician" workshop at your school or music organization, or just have some questions about the workshops themselves, please email workshop@airturn.com. We're already receiving a number of requests, and we have a busy Spring schedule to finish up! Hope to see you at one of these workshops soon!
8 years ago |
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While i didn't get a chance to participate in any of the main MTNA conference or panel discussion events, i still found the Exhibitors' Hall at the 2009 MTNA convention in Atlanta, GA to be a fascinating microcosm of the classical music industry.  My partners Lester and SoYoung were on hand from the first day, and i arrived a day later to help man the AirTurn booth.  This being my very first convention ever, i had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Lester reported that the initial day saw a good bit of foot traffic and some particularly encouraging signs, namely that a good number of folks already recognized who we were and what we were selling.  Of all the companies and products that he's worked on, the AirTurn seems to be achieving the fastest brand recognition so far among our target musician demographics. 

Frazzled from only 2 hours of sleep the night before (had to be picked up at 3 am by the airport shuttle for a 5:30 departure) and a flight buffeted by nasty turbulence, it's a wonder i was able to speak in cohesive sentences, much less make a meaningful sales pitch!  I started out by handing out brochures and business cards, but then received a great tip from the jewelry vendors in the booth next to ours to ask for names and email addresses from booth visitors.  Lester calls this "pull marketing", enabling us to send info and promotions to our clients, as opposed to simply "pushing" our own brochures and hoping for a response that might never come.  Another great bit of advice from my jewelry friends was to try to write little notes about each client as reminders to make future communications more personal.

Boy, some of those first clients were tough cookies!  One lady came over to see my demonstration of ink annotations in MusicReader.  I was showing her how easy it was to add digital ink stamps of music notation symbols with a mouse, and started by adding a flat next to a note.

"No!" she practically screamed.  "Wrong!!"

"Excuse me?"

"Wrong!! You put the flat in the wrong place!!"
I had no idea what she was talking about and took a closer look at the stamp i had just made:

flat1 

I tried to explain that it was easy to erase digital notations and redraw them, and did so like this:

flat2

"No! No! No! That's completely wrong!" she wailed.  Business lesson #1 insists that the customer is always right, so i erased the offending accidental and gave it another go:

flat3

Finally, she exclaimed, "Yes!  Now that's correct!"  My goodness, i thought she was going to have an aneurism and pop a vessel from her forehead!  "You must understand", she insisted, "I have photographic memory!  PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY! I see everything and remember every detail!  If you write it wrong, I can't get it out of my head!!" She brought her hands to her eyes as if to shield them from some visual monstrosity invading her periphery. 

Ooookaaaayy.....moving right along...

Another woman came along and gave a critical squint as i tried to explain the various viewing options with MusicReader - double page views, intelligent half-page views that zoomed the music without cutting staves off, etc.  She looked dourly at my 15 inch HP laptop screen and asked, "Is that the only color for reading the music?"

"Excuse me?" 

"You know - does the music only come in that shade of white?"

Now she had me completely lost.  Assuming i've been reading music for about 37 years or so, I'm pretty sure that most music is supposed to be printed as black ink on white paper, unless i've been horribly color blind all these years...

"Well, it's just that I prefer reading music printed on ivory paper.  That shade of white is just too bright.  And what about an option to have the paper black and the notes white?"

We certainly want to listen to our customers and take their suggestions into account.  I suppose adding a feature to change the background color of music scores shouldn't be too difficult to implement - it's just pretty remarkable to come across such creative suggestions!

Here are some pictures from our booth setup.  I'm really pleased with how our banners came out, if i may say so myself!

The second day was much better in terms of customer traffic.  Booth visitors seemed much more enthusiastic about the AirTurn/MusicReader concepts.  There were a lot of returning folks bringing friends to show off the AirTurn to them.  Several fellow exhibitors stopped by to discuss possible partnerships, and there was plenty of interest in the Exponential Workshop concept as well - in fact, i may be returning to Atlanta in the fall to do a series of workshops for several music organizations and schools in the area. 

I didn't get much of a chance to see the rest of the exhibitors in detail, but it was quite a menagerie of pianos, digital keyboards, music board games, DVD and computer pedagogy courses, musical accessories, and of course tons and tons of sheet music (the paper kind, naturally).  One enlightening aspect was seeing which vendors were able to present clear, concise messages communicating who they were, what they offered, and what value they brought to the customer. 

More to write, but i think the lack of sleep is catching up to me...

8 years ago |
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While i didn't get a chance to participate in any of the main MTNA conference or panel discussion events, i still found the Exhibitors' Hall at the 2009 MTNA convention in Atlanta, GA to be a fascinating microcosm of the classical music industry.  My partners Lester and SoYoung were on hand from the first day, and i arrived a day later to help man the AirTurn booth.  This being my very first convention ever, i had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Lester reported that the initial day saw a good bit of foot traffic and some particularly encouraging signs, namely that a good number of folks already recognized who we were and what we were selling.  Of all the companies and products that he's worked on, the AirTurn seems to be achieving the fastest brand recognition so far among our target musician demographics. 

Frazzled from only 2 hours of sleep the night before (had to be picked up at 3 am by the airport shuttle for a 5:30 departure) and a flight buffeted by nasty turbulence, it's a wonder i was able to speak in cohesive sentences, much less make a meaningful sales pitch!  I started out by handing out brochures and business cards, but then received a great tip from the jewelry vendors in the booth next to ours to ask for names and email addresses from booth visitors.  Lester calls this "pull marketing", enabling us to send info and promotions to our clients, as opposed to simply "pushing" our own brochures and hoping for a response that might never come.  Another great bit of advice from my jewelry friends was to try to write little notes about each client as reminders to make future communications more personal.

Boy, some of those first clients were tough cookies!  One lady came over to see my demonstration of ink annotations in MusicReader.  I was showing her how easy it was to add digital ink stamps of music notation symbols with a mouse, and started by adding a flat next to a note.

"No!" she practically screamed.  "Wrong!!"

"Excuse me?"

"Wrong!! You put the flat in the wrong place!!"
I had no idea what she was talking about and took a closer look at the stamp i had just made:

flat1 

I tried to explain that it was easy to erase digital notations and redraw them, and did so like this:

flat2

"No! No! No! That's completely wrong!" she wailed.  Business lesson #1 insists that the customer is always right, so i erased the offending accidental and gave it another go:

flat3

Finally, she exclaimed, "Yes!  Now that's correct!"  My goodness, i thought she was going to have an aneurism and pop a vessel from her forehead!  "You must understand", she insisted, "I have photographic memory!  PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY! I see everything and remember every detail!  If you write it wrong, I can't get it out of my head!!" She brought her hands to her eyes as if to shield them from some visual monstrosity invading her periphery. 

Ooookaaaayy.....moving right along...

Another woman came along and gave a critical squint as i tried to explain the various viewing options with MusicReader - double page views, intelligent half-page views that zoomed the music without cutting staves off, etc.  She looked dourly at my 15 inch HP laptop screen and asked, "Is that the only color for reading the music?"

"Excuse me?" 

"You know - does the music only come in that shade of white?"

Now she had me completely lost.  Assuming i've been reading music for about 37 years or so, I'm pretty sure that most music is supposed to be printed as black ink on white paper, unless i've been horribly color blind all these years...

"Well, it's just that I prefer reading music printed on ivory paper.  That shade of white is just too bright.  And what about an option to have the paper black and the notes white?"

We certainly want to listen to our customers and take their suggestions into account.  I suppose adding a feature to change the background color of music scores shouldn't be too difficult to implement - it's just pretty remarkable to come across such creative suggestions!

Here are some pictures from our booth setup.  I'm really pleased with how our banners came out, if i may say so myself!

The second day was much better in terms of customer traffic.  Booth visitors seemed much more enthusiastic about the AirTurn/MusicReader concepts.  There were a lot of returning folks bringing friends to show off the AirTurn to them.  Several fellow exhibitors stopped by to discuss possible partnerships, and there was plenty of interest in the Exponential Workshop concept as well - in fact, i may be returning to Atlanta in the fall to do a series of workshops for several music organizations and schools in the area. 

I didn't get much of a chance to see the rest of the exhibitors in detail, but it was quite a menagerie of pianos, digital keyboards, music board games, DVD and computer pedagogy courses, musical accessories, and of course tons and tons of sheet music (the paper kind, naturally).  One enlightening aspect was seeing which vendors were able to present clear, concise messages communicating who they were, what they offered, and what value they brought to the customer. 

More to write, but i think the lack of sleep is catching up to me...

8 years ago |
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I think i need a new breakfast cereal to help me get through my insane days:



That's right, "Spazztroids" - yummy cereal loaded with hyper-sweeteners 13,000 worse than sugar, and 180 MG of Caffeine!!! Oh, and there are some vitamins thrown in there for goodness' sake....
8 years ago |
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Last week's "Exponential Musician" workshop in Malvern, PA for the Main Line Music Teachers Association was an absolute blast!  There's nothing quite like being in a room full of participants and seeing enthusiastic light bulbs glow as folks start to realize the amazing possibilities that technology can offer to enhance the pedagogy, performance, and practice of music!

Here are some pictures from the workshop, graciously taken by Diane Bull (thanks Diane!):

IMG_1397

Here's a shot of the setup as it was being put together.  From L to R: Shure telescoping mic stand, projector screen, Sanyo theater projector (which didn't end up being used, as i forgot to bring the VGA cables! DOH!), my backup HP mini projector (whew), Bose L1 Cylindrical Loudspeaker, piano, Sager Laptop on a Laptop Tripod, HP Laptop on piano, Blue Snowball USB mic (connected to the Sager, which served as the main presentation computer)

 

IMG_1404

Here's a closeup of the setup above, and the view from the audience as i put the finishing touches together below:

IMG_1402

The activity room we were in had beautiful windows and a scenic view of the Malvern countryside!

IMG_1398

I used a MindMap in presentation mode, which allowed me to jump between topics and hyperlink files such as PowerPoint slideshows, pictures, video clips, and programs.  It's nice not to be stuck in a linear presentation format!  BTW, that's a brand new AirTurn polo shirt i'm wearing ;)

IMG_1407

IMG_1426

One of the highlights of the workshop was giving live lesson demonstrations using various tools like the open source audio recorder/editor Audacity, as well as MusicReader to view and project the music score and digital ink annotations in realtime.  Here's a picture of me working with student Mary Mox on the "Reverie" by Debussy, using Audacity to visualize the audio recorded via the Blue Snowball USB microphone into the computer.  By learning to recognize peaks and dynamic shapes in audio wave files, it was amazing to see how much faster Mary was able to correct herself to achieve a particular expressive effect!

IMG_1424-cropped

Here i demonstrate what we're looking for, recording myself on a separate track to compare with the other "takes".  Again, the visual feedback provides a powerful pedagogical tool to help students take on what i call the "3rd perspective" - in other words, being able to objectively hear what the audience hears from a performance without any physical distractions.  While we might "feel" a certain dynamic effect, such as a crescendo by tensing up muscles and moving our body in such a way, it can be surprising to learn how little of that translates into what is actually heard by the audience - or, in this case, the microphone.

Another tool used was my netbook's webcam, to demonstrate how easy it is to capture quick videos at different angles, specifically to help students see their own posture and physical affectations that might be having an effect on their playing.  Again, it's one thing to see it from your own point of view seated at the piano (or looking into the mirror for another instrumentalist), but it's another thing entirely to view yourself from angles that can really reveal what your hands, arms and shoulders are doing.

IMG_1434

Working with another student, Becky Hood, on Debussy's "Dr. Gradus ad Parnassum" from his "Children's Corner" suite.  The goal is to help students use technological tools to become their own teachers by giving them multi-sensory ways to hear and see what's going on in their performance. 

 

IMG_1437-cropped

Here's another student, Miranda Liu, as we work on a Bach Invention (you can see the score being projected on the screen behind her, using MusicReader).  In this instance, we saw how using digital music readers can free up students and teachers from the limitations of ink and paper, particularly when it comes to dynamically annotating scores.  With traditional ink and paper, there is an inherent fear of mistakes;  what i mean by this is that you are limited to using erasable pencils which aren't always as visually vivid to be truly useful, and using color inks or markers requires a level of "perfection" in the annotation, since you can't erase ink.  \

With digital ink, there is no fear of putting the wrong color or marking down, as all annotations are non-destructive.  It's as easy to erase as it is to mark, so that there is more encouragement to play in the musical "sandbox", as it were - coloring the motif in the right hand in red, perhaps, then trying to color the motif in the left hand in blue.  Made a mistake and colored the wrong notes?  No problem with a digital score!  When mistakes aren't fear-inducing but transformed into valuable learning tools, students can be encouraged to be more exploratory and experimental in their study of the score.

We had a wonderful turnout and a yummy lunch afterwards, with several teachers asking for another workshop soon (many of them expressing a particular interest in exploring Audacity more). 

IMG_1445-cropped

As an added bonus, i gave the participants of the workshop a special link to a page on the AirTurn website where they could access all of my MindMap notes, links and files after filling out a brief survey and signing up for our monthly newsletter, all for free!

Next stop on the Exponential Musician Workshop tour:  Boulder, Colorado on April 10!  Stay tuned for details!

8 years ago |
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