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#983615 - 02/14/07 06:21 AM Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Hi all,

It has been mentioned before a few times, but how about actually doing it: running a live online recital for us adult beginners?

If we use Skype , we could host a conference call of all participants. Skype is free and works very well, even if you are behind a firewall. Of course, other programs are a possibility too.

One of us would host the recital and set up a program for the order in which everyone plays. This person would also record the recital, which is possible with some additional software. Then we could upload this recording somewhere so that everyone could hear it.

Some notes:

- The main problem is picking a time because we have members from all over the globe.

- Sound quality won't be very good because these internet phone programs are optimized for speech, not music.

- I think Skype limits conference calls to 9 people. Of course, if 9 people play for 3 minutes each, that is about 30 minutes. It will probably run even longer than that. If more people want to play in the online recital, we could host several of them.

EDIT: I just noticed there is a new version of Skype that has "Skypecasts", which would be ideal for this sort of thing! They can hosts many different participants (much more than 9), so that way we can even have an audience. \:\)

Thoughts? \:\)
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#983616 - 02/14/07 09:36 AM Re: Live Online Recital
Ozor Mox Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 231
Loc: Hampshire, England
This is a cool idea, but I see three main barriers to this and why the submitting and posting of recital pieces will probably, for now, be an easier solution.

1. Not everyone is signed up to Skype. I'm not. Is it completely free to hold a conference call like this?
2. As you mentioned, time zones will be a major problem. I can't imagine more than half of the members here who participate in recitals being able to play at the same time due to the obvious problems of time of day and work and stuff. It would probably have to be a weekend, otherwise people will be at work or in bed when others can play. Or hold recitals for different time zone groups, but that would defeat the purpose of it a bit because ideally everyone could participate at once.
3. The quality of the recording will probably be very poor. The built in microphone on my laptop is naff for recording piano (I've tried), not to mention once it's travelled over a network not designed for that purpose. Is it possible to plug something like a Zoom in for use as a microphone connected directly to a computer?

I really like the idea mahlzeit, but think these things will need to be well and truly worked out before it can work as intended.

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#983617 - 02/14/07 09:59 AM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Thanks for the comments, Ozor! \:\)

This isn't intended to be a replacement for the online recitals we're having right now, but rather as an additional cool thing to do. I also think it will be great for practicing our performing skills.

About your comments:

1) Skype is completely free and very easy to use. You do need a reasonably fast internet connection, so dial-up probably won't work.

2) Time zones are indeed a problem. But if we're recording the recitals, then people who couldn't make it can still listen to them. I think holding recitals for different time zone groups would be the best solution -- but it depends on who wants to join in.

3) The sound quality is very bad compared to our normal recital recordings, because it is compressed for it's sent out over Skype. Unfortunately, that is true for all of these internet phone applications. A better solution would be to stream audio like internet radio stations do, but I don't think there is a free application that does that for conference calls.

As for recording your piano, I believe you can plug the Zoom into your computer and use that for recording (but I'm not entirely sure). And if not, then your crappy laptop microphone will just have to do. \:D

I would like to know if anyone is interested in participating in such a recital. If so, then we can simply hold an impromptu one (maybe this weekend?) to see if this will work (while we're still in the spirit of recitals \:\) ). I have figured out a way to record from Skype, so no problems there.
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#983618 - 02/14/07 10:18 AM Re: Live Online Recital
Astra Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 391
Loc: Slovenia
Well, I would love but dont have the computer near my piano \:\( .
Anyway, great idea.
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#983619 - 02/14/07 11:15 AM Re: Live Online Recital
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
I would be interested.......I think...

\:D \:D
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#983620 - 02/14/07 12:44 PM Re: Live Online Recital
ted.stanion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 278
Loc: Portland, OR
I think Skype limits the number of participants to nine if your computer has an Intel processor. The limit is four if you have an AMD processor.

Ted

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#983621 - 02/14/07 01:23 PM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
The limit on the conference call is not an issue if we use the new "Skypecast" feature, which supports many dozens of participants. \:\)
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#983622 - 02/14/07 02:59 PM Re: Live Online Recital
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4242
Loc: Arizona.
mahlzeit:

I think this idea has definite possibilities, however, "realistically" we may want to go about this live-ish type of recital in small steps.

I think the next natural step in this online recital process would be for members (who wanted to) to submit a video of them playing their piece.

Should a "video recital" become a huge succsess in the future, then at that point we all could possibly consider an actual "live" performance and work out the logistics at that time.

Many of us are enjoying playing piano not only for its rewarding paybacks, but also its a soothing and relaxing activity.

For some, posting video's, or performing live may introduce a whole new set of stress factors....(do I look good?, will people think I'm fat, is my house in show shape?, what about my performance anxiety etc....), you get the point!

When I suggested the video recital idea a few months ago, some were for it while many others were not. Their reasons were valid!

My personal suggestion (at least for now) is to allow members to do what ever they want. If you want to submit an audio recording only, great. Should you want to submit a video recording link...(you tube or alike), no problem.

Keeping the stress level down and the enthusiasm levels up should be paramount, at least in my book.

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#983623 - 02/14/07 04:27 PM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Hey super-hunky,

I agree on all of that, although I wouldn't necessarily say that a live recital is a step up from video. To me, they are different things and I don't see why we can't have both.

The live recital wouldn't have video, by the way, only audio. Doing a live video recital would be scary indeed (and impossible to pull off technology-wise). \:D

And of course members can do or leave whatever they want. I wouldn't want to force anyone to participate. If no one is interested at this point in trying out a live "recital" then we obviously won't have one.

In any case, I might just host one of those Skypecasts this weekend and see who turns up. \:\)
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#983624 - 02/14/07 04:36 PM Re: Live Online Recital
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4242
Loc: Arizona.
Well, I have no idea how to do it, but I'll participate if you give me 3rd grade level spoon fed instructions!

What equipment do you need?

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#983625 - 02/14/07 04:41 PM Re: Live Online Recital
shimmer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 189
Loc: Australia
Hi Mahlzeit. I appreciate your enthusiasm but I have to say that I would not participate by playing (too nervous). Time difference permitting, I would like to listen, though...

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#983626 - 02/14/07 05:20 PM Re: Live Online Recital
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
I would participate in the Skype thing if it happens.

I'm not sure if allowing video in the recitals would be a good idea. People would rather watch video than just listen to audio, and that might take attention away from those not able to record videos.

brojek.
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#983627 - 02/14/07 05:34 PM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
What you would need to participate in the Skype thing is:

1) Skype. Get it at www.skype.com . You also need to make an account. It's all free and easy, even my mom uses it. \:\)

2) A reasonably fast internet connection. Dial-up probably doesn't cut it.

3) A microphone to talk into and headphones to hear everyone through. Headphones are mandatory because otherwise everyone else will hear their own voices echoed back over your speakers, which is incredibly annoying. I use a $5 headset and it works good enough, but the built-in laptop mic will do as well. But get headphones!

4) If you want to perform, you need a way to get your piano sounds into the computer. This is the tricky part. If you're lucky, your (headset) microphone can pick up the piano sounds and you won't need to do anything else. Otherwise, you may need to use a second microphone (for acoustics), or plug your digital into the computer.

I have a digital and I'll probably have to either a) crank the volume way up, or b) switch cables between playing and talking. So I'm either talking or playing. Maybe this becomes a little annoying after a while, but we'll see.

That's about it. Is that spoon-fed enough, or do you (or anyone) need more details? \:\)

Oh, once the Skypecast is set up, I can paste a link here. If you click the link, Skype will automatically start up and take you to the right place. I think I'll set it up for this weekend, or maybe some evening.

The main problem is picking a time that suits several people, so if anyone else is interested, please speak up and let us know when would be a good time for you. This won't be a real recital, but more of a pilot. We'll chat some and anyone who wants to play something can play. Listeners will be welcome, of course! This is just to see how it goes, and whether it's something we might want to do "for real" sometime in the (near?) future.
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#983628 - 02/14/07 10:03 PM Re: Live Online Recital
stephenc Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 693
Loc: Australia
This sounds great, I am all for the idea. Skype sounds like a good medium also. I would certainly like to participate and or listen. A trial run would be great - are there going to be problems? Yes. Could it ba a total failure? Yes But could it be a huge success? Yes

We need to pick a time in a single location - say New York, and use this to compare our own time and availability - just type "time new york" into google to find the time (the first hit). So, in Melbourne Australia its currently 2 pm Thursday 15th and its 10pm Wednesday 14th in New York. That means I'm 16 hours ahead of NY time etc etc

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#983629 - 02/15/07 05:30 AM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
I was going to suggest using the time of this forum as a reference, but it turns out it's the same as New York time, so that works out just fine. \:\) I'm 6 hours ahead of that.
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#983630 - 02/15/07 06:04 AM Re: Live Online Recital
Astra Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 391
Loc: Slovenia
Hi!
As I said I dont have piano near computer but I got an idea. I can record it on my recorder and then just play the recording on the time of live recital.
However, this probably doesnt count cause it isnt live anymore \:\)
But if it does count Im in \:\)
Btw, the time is now (here): 12:05 (5 minutes after noon)
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#983631 - 02/15/07 06:27 AM Re: Live Online Recital
Ozor Mox Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 231
Loc: Hampshire, England
I could get my laptop near my piano, but I think I'd still rather do a recording for it! I'd be even more nervous and mistake prone than normal playing for others knowing I'm playing live to several people I don't know from all over the world who also play piano!

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#983632 - 02/15/07 07:12 AM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Of course you can "fake" it by playing back a recording and no one would know, but the whole purpose is to play *live*. \:\)

I probably am pretty bad at it too -- so this is the ideal opportunity to practice. Even though we know each other from these message boards, we're still pretty much strangers so there isn't really much risk of losing face. And the fact that the others are also piano players makes it even less of an obstacle, because they either are beginners themselves or once were beginners.

So, consider it a learning tool. Making mistakes is allowed! \:D

(By the way, I wouldn't mind people who don't have their computer near their piano to play a recording -- I'd rather hear you play that way than not hear you play at all.)
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#983633 - 02/16/07 09:24 AM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
OK, I've made a Skypecast entry:
https://skypecasts.skype.com/skypecasts/skypecast/detailed.html?id_talk=426551

It will start tomorrow (Sat 17 Feb) at 16:00 (i.e. 4PM) *my* time. If you're in New York, that is 10AM.

It's scheduled to last for 2 hours. Maybe this is a bad time, maybe not. I'll just log on at that time and see who joins me, and then we can chat and play the piano. \:\)
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#983634 - 02/16/07 09:45 AM Re: Live Online Recital
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5604
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
mahlzeit,

I'm interested to see how this all works.

I've started similar conversations elsewhere on the forums.

The technology for "live" Internet performances is slowly becoming available. I am in the process of trying to evaluate our options and would welcome any input.

In addition to live performances and recitals, I'd like us to have the option of audio/video chat sessions (where we could have guest speakers, or scheduled chat on specific topics).

One option might be to use something like this Quick Cam which has both audio and video, and claims to work with MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Messenger.

Another is this new service, now about to enter beta testing (they have said they would be happy to have us test it)...
AUDiiO from eJamming

If you decide to sign up for the beta testing (link near bottom of page), tell them Frank Baxter at Piano World sent you.
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#983635 - 02/16/07 11:11 AM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Hi Frank, I'm interested to see how this all works as well. \:\)

I never could get my webcam or microphone to work with any of these messenger programs, most likely because I have a hardware-based firewall (i.e. router). You can probably configure the router to let webcam traffic through, but I haven't done that. Besides, that should be done on both sides.

One of the benefits of Skype is that it can circumvent these problems by relaying the traffic through their own servers, although that makes it slower. But at least it does work. Maybe these messenger programs work like that too nowadays -- I haven't checked.

The eJamming product sounds VERY interesting, but my computer and internet connection don't meet the hardware requirements. \:\(

Audio chat sessions with guest speakers are definitely doable through Skype, though. \:\)
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#983636 - 02/16/07 04:47 PM Re: Live Online Recital
stephenc Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 693
Loc: Australia
Awesome! sounds great Mahlzeit! Though it will be quite early Sunday morning here (2 a.m!) I will be there - whether I play or not is another question (I intend to spend most of today (saturday) at the piano so at least my hands will be warmed up!

Just one question - are you able to plug the digital in the 'line in' of the PC and participate like this (rather than play the digital through the mic) - I think you were suggesting this is the case up the thread a bit - if so, how would one set up this in Skype?

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#983637 - 02/16/07 05:01 PM Re: Live Online Recital
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Matthijs \:D

Great idea but weekends are a no-no for me

I'm available to skype anytime during the week

I wonder if Frank could put our skype details in our profiles?...like Mike has at pianomagic (so we can all simply be one click away \:\) )

Frank???


regards


Lee \:\)

I really like skype \:D its the way it dials anyone, wherever they are in the world instantly that never ceases to amaze me
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#983638 - 02/16/07 05:05 PM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Cool, Stephen! \:\)

Skype records from whatever device you selected as the recording device in Window's Volume Control Panel.

My sound card only allows me to choose one device, so I either record from Mic In or from Line In.

If your sound card can record from more than one input at a time (I don't even know if such cards exist, but maybe they do) then you can simply select both.

Otherwise, you'll have to switch between Mic In when you want to talk and Line In when you want to play.
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#983639 - 02/16/07 05:16 PM Re: Live Online Recital
stephenc Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 693
Loc: Australia
All right!! Thanks Mahlzeit, recording works - I think I'm ready to go!

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#983640 - 02/16/07 06:18 PM Re: Live Online Recital
stephenc Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 693
Loc: Australia
So Mahlzeit and i had something of a test run - this is gonna be great!

It is very simple to setup and the sound quality is good for an instantaneous across the globe transmission! You can join the Skypecast and just kick back and listen, and of course request to play if you feel inclined!

So - please join our trial run setup by mahlzeit!

"OK, I've made a Skypecast entry:
https://skypecasts.skype.com/skypecasts/skypecast/detailed.html?id_talk=426551

It will start tomorrow (Sat 17 Feb) at 16:00 (i.e. 4PM) *my* time. If you're in New York, that is 10AM. "

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#983641 - 02/17/07 06:09 AM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
As a reminder, the Skypecast will start in 4 hours[/b] from now. \:\) It'll run for about 2 hours.

What you need to participate is:

1) Skype . It's completely free. Get the latest version (3.x) if possible.

2) Headphones and a microphone.

3) A piano if you wish to play something. This is not required, you're free to just listen, but why not play something? \:D

The starting time is 16:00 in Europe, which is 15:00 GMT and 10:00 New York Time. To convert the time to your time zone, click here .

If you need to contact me directly, my Skype username is "playzeit".

I thought I had a way to record the Skypecast, but that didn't work. However, I *can* record people's performances.

Speak to you on the Skypecast! \:\)
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#983642 - 02/17/07 10:03 AM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
It's on! \:\)

Click the following link to launch Skype and go directly to the Skypecast:
Go to the SkypeCast now!

I hope someone shows up so I won't just be playing for myself. :p
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#983643 - 02/17/07 10:07 AM Re: Live Online Recital
funburger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 1417
ok mahlzeit, i am downloading now, so you wont be alone. plus i want to see if this works:)
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#983644 - 02/17/07 10:25 AM Re: Live Online Recital
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Does it work for you, Funburger? I saw you join the Skypecast, but then you left again. \:\(
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