July 31, 2011

‘Dojo University’ to offer group online video instruction

Marketed as “No travel, no vacation days, no gas money, just bagpipes,” Andrew Douglas of Albany, New York, has extended his Piper’s Dojo efforts to one-to-many instruction via online video, a first for the piping world. “Dojo University” will begin its first “semester” in September and extend until November with teachers Glenn Brown, John Cairns, Alex Gandy and Bruce Gandy the featured instructors. Douglas will handle the beginner course.

“To my knowledge, Dojo University will be the first ever comprehensive piping school that will exist entirely online,” Douglas said. “We  provide students of all skill levels with instruction from the world’s greatest pipers at a price much lower than that of traditional lessons and schools.”

Douglas said that students will receive 20 hours of seminar-style instruction for US$299 per 10-week semester. Students will have the ability to pose questions and even play for the class via the university’s new conferencing technology with video and audio interactivity, chat, show-my-screen technology, file uploads, white-board capability, and other features. Each week of the semester students will receive a one-hour lecture-style class from the featured instructor.

When asked what he thought of online one-to-many instruction, Jim McGillivray, who founded the Ontario School of Piping & Drumming, and who still teaches at the July summer school, said, “Having an online class with an expert has got to be better than a face-to-face lesson with no one. Summer schools are great, but learners in areas with few or no expert teachers have 51 other weeks to deal with. You glean what you can where you can.”

“I think the gist of why this is advantageous is that it brings an element of what you’d get at a summer-school or workshop onto your computer,” Douglas continued. “It is expanding the horizons of what Internet learning can do. Skype lessons are great, but they require a lot of money to do regularly, and generally offer only what a student asks for. This format will expose them to all sorts of different ideas and points of view that are extremely valuable to the development of a player.”

Numerous individuals and organizations offer online instruction via Skype. Private lessons with top instructors via Skype are generally priced around $50 per hour.




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