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15 Years of the Piano Education Page

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15 Years of the Piano Education Page

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:33 am

We have a long history of sending a Christmas letter to all our contributing authors and interviewees. This gives us a chance to send holiday best wishes and tell those who have helped make the site a success a little about where we've been and where we're headed with The Piano Education Page (PEP). This is particularly appropriate this year, as we are also celebrating our 15th year on the Web. Because this information may be interesting to other visitors as well, I've decided this year to share this letter with everyone who reads Topic of Note. Those who would like a detailed history of the first ten years of PEP's existence should check out The Piano Education Page - Ten Years On. I'll just update the information in that article here.

When we started PEP in 1995, there were no significant piano education web sites. That situation has changed a lot in the last fifteen years. Some sense of that change is given by the fact that PEP is now linked and/or mentioned by name, in several different guises (different pages and different URL's), by around 40,000 other web site pages, according to Google. We thank all those who have recognized the site as a valuable resource by including mention of it in their sites and in the many print publications in which it has appeared, as well.

The Piano Education Page has now grown to over 1000 pages of free, non-commercial information, up about 30% from five years ago. That number doesn't include the information in these Forums, which add at least as large a number of pages. Somewhat to my surprise, we still see the need to add new articles to the site just about every month. These include ones for teachers, students and parents. Many of them are suggested by e-mail questions or by topics here in the Forums. We continue to answer e-mail every day on a wide variety of topics, just as we did five years ago.

Although rewriting the site has become a huge job, just because of its sheer size, the entire site was reformatted/rewritten in Fall of this year. Although I preserved most of the layout, the site looks completely different, with a new color scheme based on the colors found in a grand piano and many new graphics. Perhaps the biggest change in the rewrite was the addition of collapsible outline navigation (the PEP Program Notes) to every page on the main part of the site. This allows visitors to find and directly go to more of the site's pages, when they need to do so. When unneeded, the Program Notes get out of the way, reducing clutter on the screen. Collapsible outlines have been around for a long time on other sites, but the Javascript code has finally become stable enough and well enough supported in browsers to use it here. Just about every page on the site had new information added or was updated. Finally, in the biggest change of all, these Forums were moved to a new server and new software. These changes give us both more capability and better control over spamming, thus allowing us to give unregistered guests more ability to access and post in the Forums. We were able to find software that allowed us, in a couple steps, to convert all the posts from the old system to this one, so essentially nothing was lost in the transition.

One change that came with the rewrite I made reluctantly. After nearly 15 years of keeping the site completely free of ads and other commercialism, I finally bowed to economic necessity and added ads. I have tried to keep these from interfering too much with visitors' uses of the site, but I'm hoping that they will bring enough income to pay at least a part of the out-of-pocket expenses that I have accrued over the last 15 years in writing and running it. Even though ads appear on the site, their content isn't controlled or affected by us, so they will not affect our impartiality or the public service nature of the site. Our Site Policies provide more information about PEP's ads and use of them.

My time (15-20 hours per week on average) will remain donated, as it has for the last 15 years. PEP will continue to be the non-commercial resource it has been in the past. Contributions of content by public-spirited authors and visitors will be just as important in the future as they have been. I hope that more teachers, educators and pianists will consider writing for PEP and the large audience that it reaches every day. If you would like to contribute your insights to the site - and have them read all over the world - please contact me about writing for PEP. Just click on the mail icon, just below my avatar, above and to the right. If you are a teacher and have teaching materials that you have developed and would be willing to share for free with others, we would be interested in those, too.

There are lots of ways to help others on PEP. To see some general suggestions for content contributions you can make to PEP, read our article How You Can Help on The Piano Education Page. It doesn't cover everything that others could contribute, but may serve as a source for some ideas. If you don't feel comfortable writing articles, active participation in the Forums is also valuable. These Forums were established to provide those who may not have written for the site an opportunity to get or provide help and offer their own insights. Several Forums members have gone on to write full articles for the main part of PEP. There are now lots of other piano forums out there, all with their own merits, but I think this one might be the most civil and focused on meaningful discussion of piano education. Of course, if you'd just like to talk, we have that covered, too, in our Intermission forum.

Writing, editing and running PEP has been a labor of love for me and, I hope, the many educators and visitors who have contributed to the site. I want to thank them all here for their generous donations of time and server space over the years. The site would not be what it is without their help. I also want to thank you for taking time to read it! I wish all of you the best for the holiday season.
Last edited by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed on Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:30 am, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Addition of information
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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