Winds of Change
We're in the communication business. We may think our job is teaching little fingers to play, or furthering the mission statements of our music schools, or projecting our understanding of a long dead composer's score to a passive but attentive (we hope) audience. But what we really do
This magazine is an avenue of communication. It serves as the connection between writers and readers. It's essentially a one-way street - the information flows from writer to reader, and unless the reader then comments via a letter to the editor, there hasn't been an interchange of information. We hope that the information disseminated has been worthwhile. You subscribe to this magazine because you are interested in a general way in what the editor chooses to publish. Someone with no interest in music or piano pedagogy would probably be ignorant of the magazine's existence.
A piano recital is also an avenue for
in hearing the pianist and/or the program. Ideally, the
Return for a moment to Economics 101. We're talking about the traditional delivery chain of goods: production, distribution, and exhibition. Someone produces the content (the article, the piano lesson, the recital), which is then distributed (through a magazine, a private or university studio, concert management, or a recording company). The end result is a publication one can hold in one's hand, or a set of skills learned (perhaps an academic degree), or the fleeting memory of a concert experience (the shiny CD you can play anytime starts to look like a better buy if you value tangi
But wait! All that is so five minutes ago. A little thing called the Internet has changed the world. No longer does a producer need a distributor. Just upload your product onto the Net.
Let me introduce you to Hannah.
Go online to YouTube.com and search "Hannah Chopin." There you will find "Hannah plays Chopin Nocturne #20 in C# minor," posted in October of 2006. At the time, Hannah was eight-and-a- half
Now do a rough estimate of the number of people who have heard you perform in your lifetime of giving concerts. Compare this number to Hannah's. Take two aspirin and immediately start taking the Internet seriously.
Not only has Hannah had over a million listeners - 4,328 have given her ratings that average five stars (the best you can get). And the applause does not stop there - 3,387 have added text comments to the site (on the Net everyone can be a published critic). These range from "dang she is great" (succinctly stated by "
She is indeed both brilliant and sensitive! But I question the idea
With all due respect to "
The fundamental change in the business model is the Internet's neutrality. Unlike the middlemen of yore, Google, Wikipedia, and
YouTube does not own content. Thus you are not directed to their choices - you use them to find yours. T hey make their money by connecting peopJe to information "on a network that allows anyone to reach anyone on more or Jess equal terms."1 YouTube makes no claim that Horowitz is a better pianist than Hannah. On the one hand, let the buyer beware. On the other, isn't it fascinating that a young lady named Hannah can have this kind of impact?
T he point here is that the days of a few people havi ng "exclusive custody of the master switch"2 are over. As an independent teacher, you can use the Internet to your heart's content and quite possibly to your checkbook's advantage. Tired of the method books sold to you through the old delivery chain? Write your own and post it on the Web like the developers of the Linux computer operating system (this could be a web-written as well as a web-based method!). Have something to say that you can't get Clavier Companion to publish? Start your own blog. Can't get a concert series to hire you to play the complete works of Sorabji?
Let me introduce you to Hannah.
1 TimWu,"TheNewNewMedia,"TheNewRepublic,December 31,2008, in a review ofJonathan Zittrain's book The Future of the Internet (And How to Stop It).
2 Credited to Fred Friendly, former President of CBS News, by Wu, ibid.