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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 » Thu Apr 22, 2004 10:15 am

The Piano Education Page will celebrate its tenth anniversary on the Internet in August 2005. To celebrate that event, I'd like to hear ideas about what we can do on the site to mark it over the next year leading up to it. Should we start a members-only section (with a small one-time fee)? Should we make available at nominal price a CD-ROM with all of PEP's content? Should we have a big party here in NM? Should we add some important new feature(s) to the site, like online video or basic lessons? By throwing these ideas out, I'm trying to generate some ideas and thought on the part of all who read this. I have tried very hard over the past 9 years to make available, within the bounds of possibility and propriety, what our visitors say they want. So let me know if you have ideas for what we should do for the anniversary. :D
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Postby Mins Music » Fri Apr 23, 2004 1:34 am

"Should we make available at nominal price a CD-ROM with all of PEP's content?"

This is a good idea, a great way to commemorate the last ten years!

"Should we start a members-only section (with a small one-time fee?" What sort of things would be included in the members only section, what incentives would there be to join? One thing about PEP that really stands out from other music websites is that everything is FREE! I think it would be great to hear from some other pianists what they'd be willing to pay for to have access to that isn't already available for free.

"Should we have a big party here in NM?" :( I'd be there in spirit!
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Apr 23, 2004 7:29 am

Mins Music wrote:"Should we start a members-only section (with a small one-time fee?" What sort of things would be included in the members only section, what incentives would there be to join? One thing about PEP that really stands out from other music websites is that everything is FREE! I think it would be great to hear from some other pianists what they'd be willing to pay for to have access to that isn't already available for free.

As I said in the original post, I'm trying to generate some ideas for how we might celebrate an anniversary that few Internet sites have reached. PEP wouldn't have reached it were it not for tremendous amounts of donated time and effort on my part and that of the many contributing authors whose names you can find listed on the site. Just as importantly, it would not have lasted 9 years so far were it not for several people who have been willing to donate space on their servers to house the site. These folks have been real heroes, in that they don't even get recognized as the server provider on the site (another story).

That said, it has cost me around $10,000 (!) to run the site over that period, paid out of my own pocket. I have been willing to do that, because I feel very strongly about the sad state of commercialization of the Internet. That's the reason I've kept ads off the site all these years, despite the fact that almost all other worthwhile sites have them. I get a request every month or so from somebody asking to advertise on the site.

Looking forward, adding new features means needing more space and bandwidth (lots for video and audio in particular). For those who may not have looked into hosting, you are charged a fee both for the space you use on disk and the amount of bandwidth used (i.e. the number of times files are sent and their length). Since PEP is over 50 MB now and is approaching 40,000 "hits" a day, our requirements in both areas are substantial. Our current space provider has been a superhero on both counts. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.

Some sort of membership might allow us to fund the space, rather than depending on and, perhaps, overstretching, the generosity of others. I find that approach preferable to forcing everyone to look at ads. Anyway, also as I said in the original post, the anniversary is a good chance for us to look ahead and figure out what we can and what we should do with the site. Anything said at this stage is just speculation and ideas, not fact. That's the reason I posted this topic - to allow others to weigh in on these topics. :)
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Postby 109-1082165152 » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:11 am

Although I'm still new on this site I'd have to say I am impressed. Therefore, I think a members-only area is an excellent idea. I've done a fair share of providing my knowledge of web designing free of charge to organizations around the area and to my disappointment, trying to keep the site was a real challenge because of financial difficulties. I'm only a High School teacher and had to pay it out-of-my-own-pocket. (I'm not complaining - just making a statement) :p

Dr. Zeigler, I commend you for this rare opportunity for all of us who want to share our experiences from different backgrounds, and to actually get advice for free from Dr. Bill is beyond our expectations. Thank you, Dr. Bill. Thank you, Dr. Zeigler. You are both heroes in the world/history of music.

PS. I'm speaking on my behalf of course, If anyone wants to second this, please feel free! :D
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Apr 27, 2004 8:29 am

mrcomposer wrote:Dr. Zeigler, I commend you for this rare opportunity for all of us who want to share our experiences from different backgrounds, and to actually get advice for free from Dr. Bill is beyond our expectations. Thank you, Dr. Bill. Thank you, Dr. Zeigler. You are both heroes in the world/history of music.

Thanks, mrcomposer. :D

Although we've never really sought recognition or appreciation - we do PEP because we believe in it - it's always nice to hear comments such as yours. Kinda makes it easier for me to spend the large amounts of time required to run, maintain and upgrade PEP. Since none of us who work on the site have ever made a dime from it, in an era when it seems like everybody else is out there trying to make a buck (or pound, shekel, dinar, etc.) on the Internet, it is somewhat amazing that good people like Dr. Bill, Mins Music and MANY others have been so willing to give of themselves to help the site. I, and many of PEP's visitors, REALLY appreciate all that they have done. That's one of the reasons I'm starting now to plan for the 10th anniversary - so that the site continues to be worthy of their commitment.
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 Ursie » Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:09 pm

mrcomposer wrote:PS. I'm speaking on my behalf of course, If anyone wants to second this, please feel free! :D

I'll second it. This is my favourite site and I hope I will be able to add more to it as my own experiences grow. This message area is of course only part and I just wish I had more time to spend reading the other areas. My hubbie runs a website (for free) so I do know the time and effort that goes into this kind of project, so thank you Dr Zeigler. I also know how great it is to have others contribute as it can be very frustrating when there are no contributions. To get free advice from Dr Hill, is of course a treasure. I prefer the idea of membership rather than allowing advertising. But as Mins Music has pointed out what could you offer that is not already free? There is a website practicespot (you might know this one Mins Music) which has lots of info for free but you can pay for access to scales/argeggios page. Some of the scales/argeggios are free but to get them all you have to pay. I use this to download large printed scales which I then make into my own theory sheets. Anyway, thats my thoughts for the time being. But we need to think of something because it would be a great great disappointment if the site was to go offline.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:28 pm

Dear Ursie:

Thank you for the very nice comment.

(signed) Dr. Hill.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:56 pm

Thanks, Ursie for your comments as well. We COULD offer a lot more stuff if we had the space and bandwidth. We could have more articles, updated more frequently, since we could pay people to write them, instead of having to beg for them or write them myself. Once I get articles, I then have to fit in the time to edit and format them, as well as maintain the other over 250 separate documents that make up PEP. I don't know if you've noticed, but I regularly update and upgrade existing documents on the site with every upgrade, besides adding new stuff, and I've been doing it once or twice a month for nearly 9 years now. With more bandwidth, we could offer streaming video of, for example, master classes or lessons. We could do more with audio. I could use javascript applications to make the site more personalizable and more interactive.

One other comment, you DO pay (and pay, and pay, ad infinitum) for stuff on practicespot!!!! Without wishing to be unfairly critical of somebody else's site (see below for an explanation), every page of practicespot is loaded with ads. Articles are stretched out one or two paragraphs at a time per page, so as to maximize the number of ad views. Many of the documents on the site are just "teasers" in which you get a little content to set up a "pitch" for an often rather expensive "full" version. Although I know that many people like that site for their own purposes, I stay off of it for these and several other reasons. It's just too frustrating and the content/ad ratio is much too low for my personal taste. That's the prime reason we've never linked it on PEP, exactly in keeping with our site policies. Practicespot is entitled to run and format their site anyway they like, because it's their site and they need to support it and themselves, but it's not something I want to emulate on PEP. :p

P.S. To make what I mean "absolutely clear" here, my comment about practicespot is not intended as criticism of practicespot per se, but rather to point out that commercial sites like practicespot and entirely non-profit sites like PEP MUST use different approaches and apply different criteria to the way they write and run their sites. For that reason, it is difficult and perhaps even a little unfair to try to compare them. Since I run a non-profit site, I tend to evaluate other sites in that light, not as commercial entities.

In fact, I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Philip Johnston, the owner of practicespot, who has, in the past, generously and personally expressed a debt of gratitude to and a great deal of support for PEP. He is a "gentleman and scholar" and I wish him nothing but success with his site. :) In that sense, I encourage all of you to visit it, keeping in mind that it IS a commercial site.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1083345051
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Postby Ursie » Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:37 pm

Oops! - apologies for the typo Dr Bill. :)
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Postby Mins Music » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:58 pm

I really like Eternal Dragon's idea of a composition competition. This is something that may be considered for the member's only section ??? Perhaps the top ten entries can have their music on midi, the same way as the listening room, and the winner could have one year's subscription free to the member's only section. ??? ???

Of course judging the competition would be HUGE, so we'd need a few volunteers (!!!) to help cut it down to the top ten, and then perhaps Dr Bill could pick the winner from the top ten!

Perhaps the theme could be "THE PIANO EDUCATION ANNIVERSARY THEME", and the winner's entry could be heard when viewing the 'home' page.

There could be two categories - one for adults, and one for kids - and the winner of the kids competition could be heard on the page Just For Kids! (Of course that would also mean the kids would have to be a part of the member's only section).

Lots of ideas! What does everyone else think? As Dr John said, nothing's in writing yet, and brain storming is heaps of fun, so get involved! :cool:
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Apr 28, 2004 7:28 am

As I read over this thread, I realize that I may have misled it with my musings about how to pay for the server space for expanded content on the site. Right now, our donated space provider has been wonderful about our space and bandwidth needs. We occasionally run out of space, but that is usually dealt with fairly quickly. Any members-only area is in the future, if at all, and will offer that greatly expanded content that I've been suggesting, not the core site content.

What I was really after when I started this thread was your suggestions about the types of content that we could add to make the site better. What would YOU like to see on the site? How should we go about it? What, if anything, would YOU be willing to contribute in terms of time and expertise? Is there anything that we do on the site that you feel is a waste of time? Is there anything that other sites do that we could do better, if we added it? These are, I think, the most important questions as we head toward our tenth anniversary. :)
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 Dr. Bill Leland » Wed Apr 28, 2004 10:21 am

Mins, I'll only judge the winner if you help. Maybe all the moderators could serve as a panel--certainly John ought to be involved.

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Postby Mins Music » Wed Apr 28, 2004 5:31 pm

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:since we could pay people to write them,

This is just my own personal opinion, but I like the idea that PEP is supported by volunteers. Your whole philosophy has been no advertising, no links to commercial sites, just a good quality product available to all. I think its sad (although understandable) that the only incentive other teachers would have to write articles is if they were paid. Speaking personally (as only I can) I think it's a wonderful opportunity to be able to give something to the world wide community of musicians. It's been a great experience and a real learning curve for me to contribute my little bit to PEP, and I encourage ALL teachers out there to get involved with either contributing ideas for articles, or articles themselves - Dr John does a FANTASTIC job with suggestions, editing and the layout, so give him a private message and volunteer your services! It gives an extra OOMPH to your own teaching too! :cool:
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Postby Mins Music » Wed Apr 28, 2004 5:58 pm

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:Mins, I'll only judge the winner if you help.

I would LOVE to be on the panel that helps narrow down the winner!

Dr John - if this idea ever goes ahead, count me in to help you organise anything you may need organising! :laugh:

Perhaps we need to start a VOLUNTEER to do something thread!!! ??? :cool: :laugh:
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Postby Mins Music » Thu May 06, 2004 8:56 pm

One thing that I would be interested in, is finding out exactly HOW PEP has benefited students and teachers of piano, whether it be a particular article, how they use the listening room etc, whether a review has helped them in making a purchase etc. Is there a way of compiling some type of testimonials for the 10th anniversary? Are there emails that explain how people were helped or benefited by PEP? Would you be able to publish excerpts from these emails or is there some kind of copyright and privacy issue that would make the job too large a task?

I think it would be great to read an article: This is what people have thought about the last ten years of PEP!

:cool:
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