On Feb. 5, UR announced that its 3,700 students living in residence halls will gain free access to Napster’s Premium music service, which contains over 500,000 songs. In addition, Napster and Eastman will be developing ways in which Napster can provide original content from Eastman’s students and faculty members across the entire Napster network.This agreement with Napster is a ground-breaking step for UR and Eastman. It is movement toward the direction of the future of music, but it should be seen by the administration as only a step and not a final destination. The future of musical performance and education lies in technology, and it is the duty of the Eastman School to provide its students with and educate them about this technology.The future of classical music does not lie solely in performance. With classical music recordings and the success of professional orchestras on the decline, it is the responsibility of Eastman as a school to produce well-rounded musicians who not only play their instruments but are educated in the music’s new technology-based outlets. The Arts Leadership Program’s goal is to produce well-rounded musicians who are exposed to “extra-musical tools and information that can only be learned in practical, real world settings,” yet none of the ALP classes given during the 2003 – 2004 academic year focused solely on artists rights concerning technology and the Internet. With the music industry heading in this direction, it is imperative that musicians be aware of their rights as well as career opportunities dealing with the aforementioned. On Monday, Feb. 16., the university is holding a panel discussion entitled “What Part of Jailhouse Rock Don’t You Understand? Defining Rights in the Digital Age.” President of the Recording Industry Association of America, Cary Sherman will be participating in this panel, which includes topics concerning illegal file-sharing.Panels such as this should frequent Eastman. Issues concerning the ethics of music and the Internet important to Eastman students because one day they may find their music being illegally downloaded.Professors at Eastman can utilize music technology to supplement their teaching. Currently, the department of theory streams audio files online for aural skills web work. The musicology department could also benefit from this technology.Presently, students in most music history classes purchase Norton Anthology CDs, which work with the class’ required textbooks. In addition to these CDs, most music history professors provide personally burned CDs to supplement their classes. In most instances, there are only about four copies of the CDs for classes that consist of an entire 50 plus students. At times, it can be impossible for students to check these CDs out of the library, and when they do, they are confined to the listening room because the CDs are on reserve. By putting these CDs online, professors will be providing more students simultaneous access the CDs, as well as making the CDs accessible at times other than during library hours.Use of electronic reserve documents for teaching purposes is commonplace at both the university and Eastman. Indiana University’s music library allows students to access commonly used scores online. This is just another way technology can be employed to teach students at Eastman.Technology can benefit students by being more than a teaching tool. Eastman’s numerous student ensembles perform approximately once a month. Recordings of these concerts may be purchased through the department of technology and music production that cost between $25 and $35. These CDs can only be purchased by individuals performing on the recorded concert or by any individual with written permission from the recorded concert’s performers. Parents – who pay over $25,000 a year for their children to attend Eastman, alumni – who are called on a relatively frequent basis for donations and members of the community, are unable to hear these concerts if they are unable to attend them.At Syracuse University, ensemble concerts and recitals are streamed live online, so that parents, alumni, students and the general public who are unable to attend these concerts can still hear them. By allowing concerts to be accessed online, they are available for the enjoyment of the casual listener, but can also benefit the students and the institution by providing the school with more exposure. This may ultimately lead to larger audiences, a wider pool of auditioners and outside donations.In the university’s press release concerning its partnership with Napster, Dean and Director of Eastman James Undercofler said, “The Eastman School has always been in the business of defining the future of music in the United States.” To be honest, it should be said that Eastman is defining the past of music and definitely not the future. Eastman owes it to its students to minimally step up into the present and use the technology that other institutions are using.Gorode can be reached at email@example.com.
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