BeMused: A Prologue

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One of my motivations for conducting research on the transmission of music knowledge online was a desire to create and build something that will bridge the divide I perceived between those who know music, and those who wants to know about music. I was dumbfounded by all the ways people could be connected with the technology that exists today, but did not. I don’t blame it on the people, I attribute it to the fact that there are no tools designed specifically with these two groups in mind. This thought has percolated in my mind for some time, and unbeknown to me, it would be with the 100th post on this blog that I feel ready to share with you what has come of the long gestation.

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As I jumped back into the performing arts community in various capacities since last fall, coming up with a way of applying my theoretical knowledge to solve real life problems was always on my mind. I have been sharing my writing, design and communication skills to help local and independent groups gain a little more exposure and execute the marketing vision they had but for lack of resources and know-how. The more I became involved, the more I learned about the every-day challenges they were facing. My own independent research gave me further insight into the common issues that music professionals encountered. The more I listened, the clearer I heard and understood the everyday struggles of performing artists.

Looking for a Boost

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BeMused_video

UPDATE: We got shortlisted. We’re in!!

I have spent the last few spring hanging out at the British Forum of Ethnomusicology. I’ve come to associate the change of the season with train rides in UK, B&Bs and catching up with old friends and new colleagues. I really loathed to miss this one, not only because it was in Belfast, but because I missed the chance to indulge in learning and discussing ethnomusicology in the digital age.

BeMused was the reason, and I guess a pretty good one.

Translating my research on online transmission of music knowledge into applied solutions was a goal I set for myself when I finished my masters, perhaps in lieu of continuing with a PhD. I still love research and writing, but I also see tremendous value in applied learning. Even though BeMused isn’t about online learning music, it is a participation platform for the performing arts community with a focus on Toronto (at least to start).

(By the way, I learned the term platforms for participation from Robin Chase in this TED Talk, and loved the way it perfectly encapsulates the way I am thinking about BeMused.)


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Taking a Pause

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sactuary

The last four months has been anything but boring. Getting my feet wet in performing again, working behind-the-scenes for Sneak Peek Orchestra’s first concert of the season, holding a finished Centennial Portraits in my hand and organizing the book launch, and writing reviews for John Terauds’ Musical Toronto blog, all the while experiencing the growing (birthing?) pains that a business at the startup stage inevitably goes through. It’s hard to believe just over a year ago I was exploring an ancient forrest and not seeing another human being for hours on end.

As I crossed off many of the one-off commitments in the Fall (can you tell I signed up before I had any inkling of the project I would assign for myself?), it has become easier to prioritize BeMused, and we’re making good progress towards our beta launch. The hardest part has been recalibrating my brain to switch from a focus on researching and writing to planning and designing, something that is an ongoing effort.

It has been a whirlwind of a year, with a lot of change on the surface, but what anchors me has essentially stayed the same: a love of learning, a soft spot for the performing arts, and a desire to contribute something positive against the backdrop of doom and goom in the cultural sector.

Sincere thanks go out to friends and colleagues who have been so supportive and encouraging along the way; I’d like to think of the way my endeaveur has brought us together in various ways as a good omen for things to come.

Now, let’s squeeze some much needed R&R before 2013 gets here.

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