Tutor format for a digital age?

Tutor format for a digital age?

A local young muso is planning to write a tutor for the pipes, but with limited time and income, and being in a small local market, needs to use his time most effectively. His natural medium is video, but his concern is doing a lot of work, selling downloads, only to have them forwarded to others who don’t pay. There is a trade-off between accessibility of digital formats vs the low cost to produce and to edit digital media vs a declining number of people who will pay for and use books/have CD player, and high cost of printing books and CDs.

All comments welcome but here are some questions for you in case they add more context:

-What’s your preferred medium for learning to improve your playing (print, audio, video, lessons)?
-Do you prefer to pay as you go, pay a subscription, or pay once for a series of lessons?
-For pipers, what’s missing from what is currently available?
-Any advice or comments?

Thanks in advance,

Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

I don’t play pipes but I started learning tin whistle last year. I actually bought a book (tutor) and learned from online youtube vids along. Last was for free coz well tons of free material on the youtube so why pay if you don’t need to. I would pay for physical lessons tho (per series of lessons).

I do know that in my country is someone that made a tutor himself (for whistling) being a digital copy you could purchase that would give you a dvd-rom with video’s (playing through scores, ornamentions etc lessons) and a whole bundle of scores. In this way it fitted both the "listen/see and learn" as well as the "read and learn" type of student. He put a sample on youtube and an article in a folk music magazine. However, I do know that games these day just sell codes so you can download the content via their website on your account (so people cannot copy it, get the content for free, etc). Think of something like Steam or big games like Guild Wars if you are familiar with this :)

With last method you could potentially bring it to a bigger public without spending too much cash or work on it.

Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

Hugh, there are lots of problems with online/remote/book learning in general. Non-personalization, skimming over things that are important to new players, speed of progress, speed of playing, and many more.

"-What’s your preferred medium for learning to improve your playing (print, audio, video, lessons)?"
IMO, the best (least worst) method would be a website that offers different things. I’d highly recommend looking at OAIM’s website for a decent model.

"-Do you prefer to pay as you go, pay a subscription, or pay once for a series of lessons?"
Month-to-month sub that I can cancel at any time.

"-For pipers, what’s missing from what is currently available?"
Just about everything. Especially the barely-past beginner stuff. Second octave stuff, ornaments, how and why some notes and transitions are difficult on the pipes. How to prevent injury with bag pressure in the second octave etc. ****But the single biggest thing is proper pacing of lessons.***** Every single thing just moves too fast, and as a consequence leaves out/skims over important things, or else just isn’t in-depth.

"-Any advice or comments?"
A) Any website that only (or mainly) teaches tunes will never get my money. I can pick up tunes anywhere. If a website wants to get my money, they will attempt to make the teaching as personal and comprehensive as possible. I don’t know what the general public will purchase, but I want to learn in an authentic style, and not just buy tunes. If that makes sense.

B) Personally, I would like to see a module-like approach, with each module covering a certain technique. For example a module might start out teaching a tune that features a technique like a cut or a roll. Subsequent lessons or side lessons might be
-compartmentalizing the technique, with closeup camera views, slow playing, etc.
-tracks (click tracks?) where the technique is played repeatedly (outside the context of an entire tune) so I can play along. Sometimes the best way to learn is heavy repetition.
-further tunes that teach the same technique on separate notes, or the same tune where the technique is used differently, or in other places
This approach would allow self-pacing. We can just learn the tune, or we can dig into the nuts and bolts of the music.

C) Speed controls and looping ability on most/all videos. We can accomplish this with in-person lessons and a patient teacher, let us do this self-pacing in videos too.

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Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

Thanks to both for the thoughtful comments-very helpful indeed.

It’s true that a survey of existing tutors reveals much to be desired, exactly along the lines you suggest Aaron. OTOH, I am not so worried about the approach to be taken by the piper. I haven’t run across anyone who is better at explaining the why, how, and when of techniques, and who is so able to explain exactly what he is doing. Fascinating to see, and a good match for my analytical approach to things in general.

As a non-techie, but nevertheless a professor whose field is online and continuing education, I really appreciated both of your detailed suggestions. I will go back to the technical team to find out what is possible/economical. Agree that the OAIM sets the standard at the moment, but I think there are some ways to include what we know about the euro science of learning, and use the findings from the amazing learning analytics provided by courses with tens to hundreds of thousands of learners, which can take us a step further.

Look forward to other comments!


Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

I responded to the same thread on C&F; too lazy to repeat it here.

Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

If he really wants to make money on such a tutor and avoid piracy, sharing of videos and accounts, etc., I suggest he package the tutorials into an iOS app and offer a subscription model through the iTunes App Store.

Why iOS? Well, based on my experience with app development on both iOS and Android over the past 7 years, Android users have come to expect nearly everything to be ad-supported and aren’t as willing to pay for apps.

Also, I’ve had much more piracy issues with the paid Android apps and nearly zero with my iOS apps.

Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

Michael-wise words of experience indeed. Thanks very much.


Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

Apple for sure keep a much tighter control over content on their devices, which suits them of course, as they can levy a substantial cut on sales! 30% I think for apps and in app purchases through the istore.

I publish non musical materials on both digital platforms (inc iOS and Androi) and traditional print. We sell more material in traditional print but we also make more profit on print. Digital may be the future, but for it to work for original producers of material, the likes of Apple and Google must stop being so greedy.

Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

I hear that argument about "greedy Apple/Google" a lot.

I don’t see it that way at all.

They provide me with the tools to build and submit my apps to the store, they publish them for me on localized App stores in 200+ countries, they deal with all customer transactions, financial records, and local tax issues, and send me a direct deposit every month. It couldn’t be easier. I don’t have to do anything except support my apps with occasional updates and bug fixes. I’m more than happy to pay them their 30%.

For subscription apps, the rate is 30% for the first year, 15% for the second and following years.

Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

I understand Kilcash’s perspective and I understand Michael Eskin’s.
But I cherish diversity in expression more than I desire Mustard argy-bargy over
individual member’s choices (or general silliness).
What, who, how did we get here?
Maybe Brexit, maybe Trump. I don’t know.
#Keep on sessioning… through the fog ;)

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Re: Tutor format for a digital age?

For an example of a tutor app based on the abc engine I wrote for the Craic, take a look at syncopate.it http://www.syncopate.it

The app is focused on rhythm exercises for melody instruments, where one part is the the ‘teacher’ and the other the ‘student’ part, and lets you alter the speed of playback and the balance between teacher/student, etc.

It’s free to download and the first level of each instrument is fully functional, with additional lessons available by in-app purchase. I’d be happy to answer questions if he has any.

A couple of notes:
- this has abc under the hood, but with a few extensions (mostly around playback) which are not yet available in the standard
- we considered subscription instead of straight IAP, but we’re keeping it simple for now
- playback uses sound fonts which are not all equally good sounding (I like the guitar, but the violin is a little thin for my taste)
- natural sounding playback is … challenging

Any feedback from this group is welcome!