Band Practice Goes To The Cloud?

GigIn seems to be a new website that is part social network and part “web conference tweaked for musicians.” The basic idea promoted by the site is that you can connect with up to six people anywhere in the world to jam or practice.  Then you can take what emerges there and hold an online concert of some kind.  I’m still exploring it a bit, but can’t really give it a full tour until I join a band (and Bono refuses to return my emails for an audition).

Obviously, this is designed for musicians – but educators are used to re-purposing things anyways, right? I’m thinking that this can be used for anything that requires creative collaboration and practice.  Music majors could get together and practice, of course – even when they live far apart. Or they could meet with faculty mentors online to practice. I’m also thinking this could possibly be used to take speech and debate courses online. Even some plays could be practiced this way – depending on how you reformat them.  Language learning in also a possibility. Also, I’m thinking that smaller online advanced art courses – ones where you work on specific projects with an instructors feedback – could use something like this to go online.

After signing up, I see that there is a mixer program built in – something that gives GigIn an edge over most web conferencing tools (if it works right).  The lack of a good mixer is why you can’t really use many web conferencing solutions for band practice.  If the lead guitarist is using an inferior hardware set-up to everyone else, they might come out quieter in the mix (or way too loud, or distorted, etc). The ability to broadcast your sessions is also another feature that sets this apart from many others.  And then there seems to be the social aspect.

There is also mention of attending online festivals – which could also translate into online teaching sessions and online conferences for educators.  Of course, whether you would use this rather than any other web conferencing software will really come down to how well it works and how flexible it is.  But I like that the idea with GigIn is to connect, create, collaborate, and broadcast online. If they can figure out how to make all that work smoothly and give veryone the features they need – then this tool could have a bright future.

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

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