The first quarter of every year, for the past 20+ years, literally half of my life (and then some) finds me scrambling to help make sure the TEC Awards go off without a hitch, prepare for the annual Winter NAMM Show in general, immediately followed by both our Central Regional TI:ME Conference and our TI:ME National Conference.
From the Mind of Mike
My thoughts on music, technology for making it, info I think you might want to share when I think of it or run across something interest, the usual kind of bloggy stuff.
This time last year we were on the cusp of launching our new website, just days before our 2012 TI:ME National Conference, held in conjunction with the JEN Conference in Louisville, KY. If 2011 was a transformative year for TI:ME, 2012 was the year the organization was re-birthed in many ways as it was positioned to move into the future using the latest online technology and software systems to better serve its membership and its mission.
Technology (which is really to say computers these days) changes at a pretty consistent pace. What was a state-of-the-art, super-high-end Mac Pro 3Ghz quad-procesor capable of supporting a massive 32GB of RAM when it was released six plus years ago now seems to be a bit less impressive.
In fact, as I learned last night when creating a new dedicated Bootcamp drive on my recording studio Mac Pro, the 64-bit Bootcamp drivers for the Mac Pro 1,1 model don't exist. The machine, though it runs Windows 7 Ultimate amazingly well, is not supported by Apple with 64-bit Bootcamp drivers, so I either forgo using my track pad and Apple wireless keyboard, or I reinstall Windows and stick to 32bit. Nor is this Mac Pro supported for anything above Mac OS X Lion. This means the end of the line for a computer that was once around $3500-4000 as configured and was the envy of all my friends. I have two, one running quad 2.66Ghz processors and my main system running the 3Ghz quad core processors. The fact is they still meet my needs.
Summertime Come and Gone, My Oh My! Featured
Wow, spring turned into summer, and summer has come and gone whisking us right up into the fall back-to-school season. I took a break from blogging to deal with a very busy summer that found me not only busy with TI:ME activities, but my normal day-to-day "real" job of publishing books and other works for the music and audio production world.
On June 6th, after a couple of years in the making, I was thrilled to see the release of the technical auto-biography of famed, dare I say legendary, producer and engineer Ken Scott, co-written by bestselling audio and music industry author Bobby Owsinski. TI:ME enjoyed the privilege and pleasure of having them both speak last January at our annual national conference, held in Louisville, KY in conjunction with JEN, the Jazz Educators Network. That was a spectacular presentation, but the book they wrote, called Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust, turned out to be a monster of a great read, and a big-seller, too.
I'm pleased to see this article appear in School Band and Orchestra this week. It gave me a chance to briefly touch on the mission of TI:ME, the opportunities in music eduction using technology, the challenges that our pioneering music educators face implementing these programs, and how TI:ME can help.
I sit here for the third day in a row seeing what I hope is the last time I will have to again watch over 400GB of my data, apps and life in general slowly trickle across my network back to my MacBook Pro's backup drive. I kept the MacBook Pro synchronized with a dedicated drive on my recording studio system, a now vintage Mac Pro Intel Quad 3 GHz sporting four terabytes of storage, 16GB of fairly reliable RAM, two video cards running four LCD monitors, all powering 30 inputs and outputs of 24/96 audio channels and a 24 channel control surface for mixing, and a weighted-action 88 key digital piano MIDI workstation along with other assorted doodads that make music and audio production relatively easy for anyone with a penchant for rocket science. I guess the good news here is that I've been smart enough to make backups regularly, so this is not a tale of woe over the loss of data and a cautionary lesson on backing up your computer. If you're reading this, you already know that's a must for anyone who works with and relies upon a computer in their personal and business lives.
Computers make our lives better. They make a musician's life seemingly magical, when they work. At times, these magical boxes, they make our lives miserable. You can go from light-speed creativity and productivity to a grinding halt in a nanosecond. We are living in an age where its hard to tell sometimes if these machines serve us, or if we serve them. Of late, its become the later for me. I'm empowered by these tools to work from home, to be productive whenever the need or mood strikes, but of late I've found myself seriously considering taking a shotgun or hammer or just my bare fists to these simultaneously angelic and devilish tools....
TI:ME Toys @ MusikMesse 2012 Featured
I just spent a long week in Frankfurt, Germany, attending the 2012 MusikMesse Pro Light and Sound Show, part of a trade show exhibition that makes Winter NAMM look like a quaint show by its sheer number of square feet and number/variety of visitors alone. Before you get to the first exhibit, you've walked a good quarter mile from the sidewalk at the main entrance. If your events are on the other side of the place, like hall 8-13, you were best taking the shuttle bus between halls (each near the size of the Anaheim show's main floor). Its that big. There were exhibits in some buildings on up to three levels. There are moving sidewalks between each building. In a word, it's huge! Its also seven hours ahead of Nashville, and oh, they set their clocks forward the last night I was there, all of which make for a walloping in ones circadian rhythms!
I was there at the invitation of the Messe organization and on behalf of MIX Magazine, for whom I've covered the show on behalf of for three years now. This is a door to lots of great conversations with a wide variety of people at the companies who make the technology we want our members excited about and versed in the use of in music education. It was fascinating to see whom at which companies did and didn't know about TI:ME, our upcoming summer courses, our winter conferences and other events, our new website. Heck, many didn't know we existed....
Its Musikmesse TI:ME! Featured
The first quarter of each year is crazy-busy for me. It kicks off with the national TI:ME conference, which we held this year in conjunction with the Jazz Education Network in Louisville, KY. Immediately following the conference, I hosted author Bobby Owsinski and former Beatles engineer Ken Scott in Nashville for presentations at SAE Institute and Belmont University. Six days later, it was off to the west coast for a week which included five days at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, and within a couple of weeks or less after that, I was off to Columbus, Ohio for the mid-regional TI:ME Conference held in conjunction with the fabulous Ohio Music Educators Association show....
Hello again. January was a whirlwind of site launching, national TI:ME conference, working with two amazing authors (Bobby Owsinski and Ken Scott) at a couple of seminars in Nashville, then a week in California for NAMM and other business, followed by the "NAMM flu" promptly when I got home. Thus, I've not had a lot of time to write a new blog entry. I am at the Ohio Music Educators Association show at the moment and very excited about meeting the Ohio Chapter members. They are an amazing group!
Meanwhile, I found this information on the website for The Rhythmic Arts Project, a percussion program for people with special needs and developmental disabilities. I helped install this program, with the generous support of The Meyerson Foundation in my daughter's middle and high school. Its not tech, its decidedly non-tech, its banging on drums and percussion instruments and an amazing program for the special needs kids that helps them in a multitude of ways with everyday life skills such as group participation, learning their left from right, and much more. Visit the site to learn more, meanwhile enjoy this very helpful article about how to appropriately address those with disabilities in the 21st century....
Highlights from the TEC Awards Featured
Most of you won't know that I am also on the board of directors for the Technical Excellence and Creativity Foundation, aka the TEC Foundation, which has produced the annual TEC Awards each year for 27 years now. This awards show was held at the AES (Audio Engineering Society) show the first 25 years, but moved very successfully two years ago to Anaheim, CA to take place during the annual Winter NAMM Show. This was a most welcome move with the astounding support offered to the TEC Foundation by NAMM to help us facilitate reinventing this fine old institution at the country's biggest music trade event. This year was a spectacular show, and as TI:ME grows, there are potential synergies with both the TEC Foundation and NAMM with TI:ME, so I want to make sure my TI:ME friends and family are aware of the kind of show we put on, and see if others out there can understand for themselves some of the ways that TI:ME, NAMM and TEC might be able to collaborate on events, awards and other activities in the future.
Our Les Paul Award recipient this year was the west coast wizard of guitar, Steve Vai, a man who earned this award not for his guitar prowess, but for his innovations and excellence in using technology in the studio, pioneering technological advancements in his instruments and tools, and carrying forward the spirit of Les Paul, the genius, inventor, musician and a man who always tried to take it out there....
NAMM Fever Featured
Yes, I mean it quite literally. Every year it seems I come back from NAMM with some kind of contagious bug from shaking hands and running for mayor at the annual Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim. This year was, unfortunately, no exception. Mercy me. I should buy stock in whatever company makes NyQuil. For those of you waiting on a reply to an email, help desk ticket or phone call, my sincerest apologies in the delay. I returned home late Wednesday evening having spent the last night in Van Nuys, CA waking every hour with alternating chills and sweats, followed by a long trip home on a thankfully non-stop flight. I pretty much slept all day yesterday, barely opening my MacBook Pro at all, and am today just now coming up for air having soaked the sheets from breaking my fevers over and over yesterday. Ah, life on the road, how I don't miss you. :)
So now that I am partially re-humanized, expect a flurry of furious activity here as I peer out of my DayQuil-induced mania and attempt to catch up on all of the honey-do's that await me from my travels, my multiple email inboxes, my to-do list and more. I've heard it said there is no rest for the wicked, and at the moment I am feeling very, very wicked with this combination of medications attempting to dry up the nasty bug that jumped into me once again while in California for my annual NAMM pilgrimage. Those of you awaiting a reply, please know you're on the list and I will hopefully find myself fully able to start catching up later today, or at least over the weekend. Always so much to do this time of year, and always so little time....
NAMM 2012 Already? COOL! Featured
Some years it feels like I just got finished with NAMM and its time to go back. This will be my high 20-something trip to NAMM. I used to count them, but somewhere along the way I lost count. Its part of my blood now, part of who I am to make the bi-annual pilgrimage to the NAMM Show in summer and winter. NAMM is a very important organization. TI:ME would not exist without the original support from NAMM that got use going in 1995 when TI:ME was just an idea the founders had on paper. And NAMM has continued every year to support TI:ME with a variety of grants, most recently for our 2012 Leadership Academy that allowed us to host some deserving undergrads and cover their expenses to attend the 2012 TI:ME National Conference. TI:ME owes a lot to NAMM, and I'm grateful for their continued support. I hope to build upon that in the coming years and achieve great new things for music educators and the music manufacturers who make the tools we all love to use to make and teach music with every day.
I'll be pretty busy at the show, between my duties as one of the board members of the TEC Foundation and our 27th annual TEC Awards on Friday at the Hilton. We're honoring lots of great companies that make music/tech products, and also honoring my good friend and very deserving recipient of this year's Les Paul Award, Steve Vai. For those who don't know, the Les Paul Award actually has nothing to do with guitars or guitar players, its an award for people who've made creative use of recording technology and excelled in the crafts of making music using technology, etc. It happens to go to a lot of guitar players, but that's not what gets them the award. That said, Steve Vai is an amazing person, an astonishing musician, and a genuine, down-to-earth guy whose hobby is bee-keeping. He evens sends me jars of honey that are outrageously good....
It's Update TI:ME! Featured
Well, the national conference is over, and most of you have been back into your routines since last weekend. However, I was not home until Sunday evening (and boy did I sleep hard!), and then had two completely full days running around Nashville with Ken Scott and Bobby Owsinski, having them speak at Belmont and SAE each day. Of course, when I'm running around I'm not tethered to my laptop and can't respond quickly to needs for members here, or chase bugs down from the site launch, etc. My inbox runneth over, and today is really the first day back in the "office" for TI:ME, so to speak. My gig as executive director is part-time. Very part time. However, I'm looking at a lot to do, so my long hours didn't quite end with the launch of the site for the conference.
We still have not mass emailed everyone to let them know about the new site, so of course lots of folks are contacting wanting to know why the old shared password doesn't work. I can't tell you how happy I am to no longer have shared user name and passwords. That said, I know that as soon as that email goes out I will likely be inundated with contacts from members alerting me to one issue, bug or another, so I am both very excited to get everyone their individual access as well as horrified at the prospect of a sudden rush of personal replies I'll need to make as a result. Oh well, thankfully we only have to do this one time, and this too shall pass....
"Home, home again, I like to be here when I can. And when I come home cold and tired, its good to rest my bones beside the fire……" - A quote from Breathe by Pink Floyd, one of the many groups whose recordings and live performances resonate with me in an indescribable way. I can surely relate to that lyric after a whirlwind month readying this website, and spending four nights in Louisville that whizzed by me like a dog chasing a cat. Its nice to be home and get a day of rest. There is no hotel bed as comfortable as my own at home.
As I mentioned before, Ken Scott and Bobby Owsinski are going to speak at Belmont University and SAE Nashville on Monday and Tuesday respectively and I'll be taking them to each over the course of two days before sending them both back to Los Angeles Tuesday evening....
And just like that…… the TI:ME Annual National Conference has ended. What an amazing weekend its been. I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink. Wait, that's a Beatles song of The White Album. And speaking of that record, the man who engineered much of it, Ken Scott, along with best-selling author Bobby Owsinski, are haunting the bar downstairs listening to one of the amazing jazz bands, whilst I kick off my shoes and finally get a little R&R, much needed after the fast pace we've been on here since Wednesday.
One amazing thing about TI:ME is its volunteers in leadership. They are amazing, hardworking and just some of the absolute best group of people I've ever worked with at any of the non-profits I've been part of like this. They don't get any better....
Welcome to TI:ME 2.0! Featured
The month of December blew by me as we worked tirelessly to recreate the TI:ME website user's experience. From top to bottom we've redesigned the entire membership user experience for all levels of members, from Individual, Student, and Library memberships, to institutional and commercial memberships. TI:ME is evolving in amazing ways, beginning with the online experience we give our membership.
Its not just a new theme to make the site look pretty, we've reinvented every aspect of how we communicate with and serve our members. First and foremost I want to tell you about Face TI:ME, the social networking service within our new website. Face TI:ME is designed to take social networking among our members to a whole new level, with its many familiar features, including public and private groups, sharing of images, videos, files and more between TI:ME and its members, or member to member. Face TI:ME is designed to engage our amazing group of members of all levels, with the kind of familiar tools you'd expect from a social networking site, but all within the private membership areas of our site....
Pardon our mess….. Featured
Today we were able to finally get rolling on a live development server for the new Ti:ME site. For the first time in TI:ME's history, we are integrating our membership directly into the site, a feature that has been a long time coming (I know I'm saying "time' a lot, but no puns intended). Now we can open up a world of direct contact with our membership, learn what they are working on and share what we're doing back. We can do this is ways familiar to anyone who has used Social Media with our own built-in app that will power Face Ti:ME, our internal "Facebook" style networking area where you can do most of the things you could do on Facebook, but among other members of TI:ME. We're very excited about populating this part of the website and watching it grow as our members begin to login for the first time and see all of the options available to them here.
Important first steps today, but a lot of work until launch.