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Piano education page 10th anniversary year - Let's celebrate!

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Moderator: Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri May 07, 2004 7:55 am

It would be quite a task to compile that, since I have received more than 10,000 e-mails from visitors to the site in the last 9 years. That doesn't include those received by Dr. Leland and various other people who have authored or been interviewed for the site. What I know from the e-mails is that virtually every page on the site has been the subject of one or more, sometimes many more, e-mail comments. While some have been negative and a few downright angry, the overwhelming majority have been positive in tone.

I think the page or page section which has generated the most negative comments (about a dozen) has been our method explication on Suzuki, although none of the complainers has been willing to write a replacement when offered the opportunity.

Since so many of our pages have been the subject of positive comments, it's very difficult to adequately summarize them. Without compiling statistics, I would say that our Software Reviews, our Just for Kids Page and the Meet the Composer interviews on it, The Teaching Studio, and the Artist/Educator Interviews have been the subject of the most visits and e-mail. The Teaching Studio, Learning to Play and its subsidiary pages, and the Just for Kids Page and its subsidiary pages have been the subject of the most reprint requests (over 1000 to date). I guess I should also mention The Listening Room, as it is very popular as well.

To get more directly at your question, I would say that e-mails tell us that we have helped people in just about every imaginable way, from helping teachers with their teaching to inspiring students and everything in between. A lot of that doesn't even appear on the site, in the sense that some of the best and most important help we've given has been in answering specific e-mail questions.

I don't think I realized how much impact the site was having until a software manufacturer threatened our server operator with a lawsuit over one of our reviews of one of their products, which was given a positive, though not top, rating! That company seemed to feel that we were pretty much single-handedly responsibile for the success or failure of their product in the market and was willing to make numerous threats over it.

Another measure of success is how many times a site is linked by other sites. Currently there are over 5000 links to PEP reported by Google, using several different search terms, since not everybody identifies the site the same way or even correctly (e.g. PEP is an Encarta 2003 Editor's Pick for piano, but the link given is to a completely incorrect commercial site! The link was correct in earlier versions of Encarta.) Of course, I suppose the 50 some awards the site has won says something, too.

I know this reply doesn't get to your question very directly, Mins, but answering it would require an immense amount of sifting through e-mail. I'm willing to do that when I have the time, although I don't know if others who have contributed would be equally willing. We would have to seek permission to reprint from e-mails if the reprint specifically identified or allowed the identification of the originator, otherwise, I think not.

I guess what I would say in closing this reply is that the feedback we've gotten has been sufficiently positive that I have kept doing the site for free and paid most of the costs out of my pocket for 9 years. Equally importantly, other third parties have been willing to donate server space and bandwidth for the site. You're right that compiling such info would be good for the anniversary, if we could figure out a way of doing so that wouldn't seem self-serving. :cool:

P.S. While I'm sure other sites could cite similar statements, one of the most common general statements we get in email is that PEP is "the best piano education site on the web" or words to that effect. There have been a few such statements made on the Board. Thanks to all of you!




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1083938739
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Postby 87-1089120367 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:59 am

Hello All

I am new to pep. I am a teacher and hope to learn a lot here. Pep was my homepage years ago and then my computer crashed with everything on it lost. I am glad to find the site again.

Another forum I belong to has a "contribution" scale at the top where people can make additions using PayPal. Even though the monthly amount is several hundred dollers it is usually completed by the end of the first week. I am comfortable with this because everyone can give easily according to what they can afford. Perhap this is another option that can be considered.

Be that as it may - Keep up the Good Work PEP :D
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:55 am

Thanks for your suggestions and kind comments, Wild Rose. There are lots of potential mechanisms to generate funding for the site. The problem is to find a way which provides enough funding to run the site, but not too much so that we would make a profit, which would then subject us to taxes, etc. That is just one more complication to deal with. It would take even more of my time do deal with that stuff, such that I'd probably have to charge for access to pay for the extra time! Right now, our donated space provider has been very generous and helpful. We are doing fine in the space we have. :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby 114-1095891386 » Wed Sep 22, 2004 4:20 pm

i realize this is not the best place to ask this, but i was wondering where the first pianos were made in america? what cities started the trend? and in relation to that what about publishing sheet music? who started these in america?
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Sep 24, 2004 10:14 am

Isaack Hawkins, an engineer in Philadelphia, is credited with making the first piano in America about the year 1801; it was also one of the first pianos of upright design. Philadelphia and Charleston were two of the major cultural centers of the time.

America had printing presses (Ben Franklin, etc.) and newspapers long before that, and much published music and literature was brought over from Europe by settlers, but I don't know when actual sheet music was first published here.

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Postby 114-1095891386 » Fri Sep 24, 2004 11:32 pm

cool. thanks so much
!
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Postby 75-1095335090 » Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:03 am

I too have been to a website that accepted donations to cover their website hosting fees. They've been able to avoid using ads this way. I'm not sure how they deal with a surplus, but I know they have one. I am under the impression that they use it towards the next year's hosting fees, and to expand on what they already have.

If you wanted to avoid that kind of surplus, perhaps you could cap the donations? Like, "We need X amount" and then turn down any donations that exceed that. Maybe that would be more work than it's worth.

As for what to add to the site, I don't know. I haven't been here long enough to even know what's here already. The ideas in this thread so far are nice, though. ^_^
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Postby 114-1095891386 » Wed Sep 29, 2004 1:14 pm

thanks!
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:10 am

Just an update to remind everybody that PEP will celebrate its tenth anniversary on the Web on August 3. :cool:

In celebration, the August upgrade will be a big one. If anybody else has any other ideas of how we should properly celebrate, let me know! :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Stretto » Wed Jun 29, 2005 2:52 pm

Well, I'm glad you revived this thread - it has given me a more in depth insight and appreciation for what goes into running and maintaining it!

I have actually for the last month been trying to think of suggestions for getting more members to participate in the forums, but haven't thought of much yet. Perhaps incentives, etc. for more member participation could be incorporated in the anniversary. I'm sure this has already been considered. Perhaps there could be an active members list and a non-active members list based on having to post at least a few times a year to be an active member. Perhaps there could be a variety of 'incentives' for participating. There are a lot of members and guests reading the information who rarely or never participate in the forums. If people are getting free help, the least they could do is participate in exchange for information. I can understand not everyone would want to or be able to for one reason or another.

In addition, to 'offset' the amount of voluntary work and money that goes into the site, perhaps there could be a small area on the site listing organizations like the West Mesa Music Teacher's Assoc. and other music organizations that serve to educate where voluntary donations could be accepted from users of the site. I'm sure many people have already inquired as to how they might donate in some way. I would be willing to give small donations now and then if I had the avenue by which to do so. Rather than having to pay for use of the site, these donations would serve to improve music education in many ways.

I appreciate all the voluntary work that goes into this sight. I have already in one month incorporated a lot I've gleaned or been encouraged to implement a lot of ideas I've had. It motivates me more and boosts my enthusiasm for teaching having this site for support! :)

(I also appreciate the family atmosphere. It is nice to know I could safely recommend the site to others).
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Postby Stretto » Wed Jun 29, 2005 3:38 pm

:D - Also I meant to add that music organizations could be added to the list of places to donate in exchange for providing the site with articles or other services.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:20 am

Stretto wrote:I have actually for the last month been trying to think of suggestions for getting more members to participate in the forums, but haven't thought of much yet. Perhaps incentives, etc. for more member participation could be incorporated in the anniversary.

In addition, to 'offset' the amount of voluntary work and money that goes into the site, perhaps there could be a small area on the site listing organizations like the West Mesa Music Teacher's Assoc. and other music organizations that serve to educate where voluntary donations could be accepted from users of the site. I'm sure many people have already inquired as to how they might donate in some way. I would be willing to give small donations now and then if I had the avenue by which to do so. Rather than having to pay for use of the site, these donations would serve to improve music education in many ways.

Thanks so much for your thoughts. There are lots of good ideas there. Let me comment briefly on a couple of them.

Getting more members to participate is mostly a matter of having lots of new and interesting topics and postings. Most people are better at responding to others postings than they are at originating topics, though there is no a priori reason I can think of why this should have to be true. It may seem obvious, but by far the best way to increase activity on the Board is to be active!

Of course, another way to help is to invite other people to join. At the bottom of the Board index page is the "Invite a Friend to Join" box. As you mouse over it, you'll see that the Board software will automatically fill in your user name and e-mail address. All you have to do is type in an e-mail address for the person you want to invite and the Board will send the e-mail to that person in your name.

We do offer one incentive for posting on the Board. Those Members who post more than 25 times are automatically promoted to a higher group, called Super Members. Super Members have lots of special privileges not available to Members: use of avatars (those little square graphics appearing below the Super Members name) and ability to edit their own posts are the two most useful ones.

Another way to help is to become a Forum moderator. Moderators have access to a special control panel that allows them to edit, delete or move others posts (though this is necessary only rarely). The most important function of a Moderator is to start and participate regularly in interesting threads. You may have noticed that a lot of what I do (beyond the invisible maintenance stuff) on the Board is start topics that I hope will be at least interesting and educational, and, occasionally, provocative. Most moderators have achieved Super Member status before they become moderators, though that isn't necessarily required. Moderating doesn't require much extra time, just an interest in contributing ideas and information.

Money is always an issue, especially for a site like The Piano Education Page that has no ads, no corporate support, no income and no way on the site itself even to generate income putatively, let alone actually. However, I have been around long enough to remember the days when the Internet was primarily an educational tool (ten years ago when we started PEP). It saddens me to see the crass commercialism of the modern Internet, though I believe it has had some positive outcomes as well. That's the reason that I've kept PEP free of ads and other commercialism. We have been fortunate during most of the time PEP has existed to have visitors willing to donate space for the site. Our current site space donor and his Web expert have been wonderful. I hope that we don't have to go to a donation system, but it remains an option.

I'm sure that Dr. Leland would agree with me from his experiences running Muzine that the single biggest problem for non-profit sites like PEP is finding people willing to contribute their time and expertise to write content for the site for free. It's a big enough problem just to get people to agree to write at all, but it's even worse when they don't follow through. Getting an article from an author always involves a significant amount of my time, even if they don't write it.

There are almost innumerable opportunities for pianists and teachers to contribute to PEP: reviewing software, books and learning materials, writing tips for kids and adults, suggesting topics for articles, agreeing to be interviewed for PEP and lots more. If you have an idea for an article regarding piano education that we haven't already covered in the over 800 pages of PEP, chances are we'll like it! Contributing your expertise to the site is the best way you can help!

Thanks for your expression of support.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1120146325
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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