Brian K. Shepard Internet2 Activities Site Menu
Since the late 1990s, I have been researching the use of high-performance, advanced networks for musical purposes. In October of 1999, while still a professor at the University of Oklahoma, I demonstrated the potential for using high-performance networks to teach music when I conducted the very first demonstration of a music lesson using uncompressed audio and video over Internet2 from Seattle, WA to Oklahoma City, OK. Since that time, advanced network videoteleconferencing (VTC) technology has provided an extraordinary opportunity to develop musical and academic programs of instruction in a wide of range of educational and professional settings. The USC Thornton School of Music can now reach out to students, professionals and music aficionados of all types in virtually any geographic region of the United States and across the globe.

Internet2 is a consortium of 200+ universities (pdf) in the U. S. working in partnership with industry and government in the same spirit that fostered the current Internet, to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies to accelerate the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Additionally, Internet2 has International Partners (pdf) across the globe that allow Internet2 members access to institutions around the world. Part of that development in advanced network applications is in the arena of high-quality videoteleconferencing. As anyone who has spent any time on the commodity or commercial Internet knows, the quality of audio and video is still rather primitive. Audio streams are highly compressed and often monaural, and the video quality is usually worse. The typical video file on the Internet opens in a small window on the computer monitor and usually has grainy and jerky motion. The incredible bandwidth of Internet2, however, allows for real-time, bi-directional, full-motion, broadcast-quality video on a full-size television monitor with full fidelity, stereo—and even multi-track—audio. With that quality, comes the potential for finally using Internet videoteleconferencing for music applications.

When people think of uses for high-performance networking, they often think in terms of the hard sciences. However, the arts and humanities have been one of the greatest benefactors of Internet2. If a large data file is delayed a tiny fraction of a second in moving from one location to another, there usually isn't much of a concern. However, even a few milliseconds of delay in a video or audio stream can have catastrophic results for music and performance. With Internet2, we can send and receive uncompressed, "broadcast-quality" audio and video simultaneously. Due to the complex issues associated with audio and music, having a VTC stream that conveys the entire audio spectrum is essential for effective musical teaching at the collegiate and professional level. Thus, student and teacher can now be in remote locations yet still see and hear each with the kind of quality needed to make critical, aesthetic judgments.

Chronology of My Internet2 Research Highlights

I am an active member of the Internet2 Performance Events Advisory Committee, and my work and research into the musical uses of Internet2 (pdf) and other advanced networks like the National Lambda Rail is ongoing. Although activities occur almost daily in this work, here is a chronology of some of my more important highlights and milestones. Prior to Arriving at USC
    Stomp Dance via Internet2
    Native American Youth from Los Angeles in the Bing Theatre at USC join the Stomp Dance via Internet2 with dancers from the Tahlahvse Ceremonial Grounds in Oklahoma
  • February, 2005: Sponsored by the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center, I made a series of presentations to faculty and staff at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on the subjects of High-Bandwidth Videoconferencing and Audio for Videoconferencing.

  • January, 2005: Presented workshops on Audio and Echo Control to the 2005 Performance and Masterclass Production Workshop hosted by the New World Symphony.

  • September 28, 2004: Presented my research on Echo Control in the Musical Videoconference to the Internet2 Fall Members Meeting in Austin, TX.

  • January 14, 2004: Presented—via Internet2—a session on Audio for Musical Videoconferences to the 2004 Performance and Masterclass Production Workshop hosted by the New World Symphony.

  • March 28, 2003: Presented—via Internet2—a session on Audio for Musical Videoconferences to the 2003 Performance Production Workshop hosted by the New World Symphony.

  • October 29, 2002: The OU School of Music presented Stomp Dance—the Gathering of the Tribes to the 2002 Internet2 Member's Meeting in Los Angeles. In this demonstration, Creek Tribal dancers in Oklahoma taught the basics of the "Stomp Dance" to Native American youth living in the southern California area, and then danced together with them.

  • September 1, 2002: Received a grant from the OU Research Council to upgrade the Litton CAMVision-2 codec to a Star Valley codec offering inter-compatibility with other MPEG-2 codecs as well as the ability to stream uncompressed audio and video, thus nearly eliminating the delay inherent in most videoconferences.

  • January 29, 2002: The OU School of Music collaborated with the Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University for Broadway Local -- Exploring The Nitty-Gritty of a Musical Theater Career and the Auditions It Takes to Have One.

  • Broadway Local
    In the Broadway Local event, Music Theater students from the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Oklahoma worked together to perfect their singing and acting technique
  • October 1-5, 2001: Due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Fall Internet2 Member’s Meeting was replaced by a Virtual Member’s Meeting conducted over video and telephone conference. I was scheduled to participate in several presentations and discussions at the meeting in Austin, Texas. One of my presentations concerning the archiving and dissemination of non-traditional theses and dissertations via Internet2 was given in a telephone conference.

  • July 18-19, 2001: Made several “virtual” musical and verbal presentations to visitors at the Ann Arbor Arts Fair in Ann Arbor, Michigan via Internet2.

  • July 11-12, 2001: Taught “Videoconference Audio Techniques” to participants from approximately 40 Internet2 Member Universities at the Internet2 Video Production Workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  • June 7, 2001: Along with several other members of the Internet2 community, I participated in a panel discussion on “Arts and Humanities Uses of High-Bandwidth Internet Videoconferencing” at the INET2001 conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

  • May 10, 2001: Erin Dunn, Master’s Cello Student at the University of Oklahoma participated in an Internet2 private lesson taught by David Geber, Professor of Cello at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. This lesson was subsequently featured on NY1 Television and in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

  • November 20, 2000: Dr. Sally Faulconer, Dr. Kenneth Fuchs and I demonstrated the capabilities and potential of Internet2 in the teaching of music at the NASM conference in San Diego. My article Teaching Music Through Advanced Network Videoconferencing (pdf) was subsequently published in Proceedings, the official journal of the National Association of Schools of Music.

  • Backstage at the Rialto Theatre
    Working with Bob Riddle and Mike LaHaye of Internet2 to resolve a network issue prior to the Internet2 Performance Event at the Rialto Theatre in Atlanta, GA
  • October 28-November 2, 2000: Presented a talk entitled Musical Developments on Internet2—Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going (pdf) at the annual Internet2 Member’s Meeting in Atlanta. In addition to my presentation, the OU Symphony Orchestra made a virtual appearance at the Rialto Performance Event performing Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and the Oklahoma Brass Quintet performed two selections with four players in Norman and one in Atlanta via Internet2 Videoteleconference.

  • September 25-28, 2000: In a demonstration of the musical capabilities of advanced networks, The OU School of Music provided streaming video and audio content to the iLabs portion of the Networld+Interop technology show in Atlanta.

  • Summer, 2000: Dr. Eugene Enrico, Dr. James Faulconer and I, along with undergraduate students Hunter Cadzow and Justin Moser, conducted further research on the musical applications of Internet2 with the help of a National Science Foundation "Research Experience for Undergraduates" grant. Specific areas studied were the streaming of high-quality video and the real-time streaming of MIDI data.

  • April 27, 2000: Felicia Moye coached violinists of the New World Symphony in Miami via videoconference and several of her students auditioned for the New World Symphony's Music Director (and USC alum), Michael Tilson Thomas.

  • March 8, 2000: The School of Music participated in OU's Internet2 Awareness Day. We presented our Videoconference Master Class and fielded questions on its capabilities.

  • February 2, 2000: Made several Internet2 presentations to the faculty and administration at Temple University on behalf of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

  • January 19, 2000: Felicia Moye participated in the University of Delaware's Internet2 Awareness Day. She performed and collaborated with Lloyd Shorter, Professor of Oboe at UD, through the Litton CAMVision-2 codec. Part of her presentation was to explain to the audience how she taught using the technology and to give them ideas about how they could use it.

  • December 15, 1999: Conducted a videoconference demonstration with the Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University. One of the initial goals in developing this technology was to expose students to some of the world's finest musicians and teachers. This demonstration gave us the opportunity to work with Patinka Kopec, Professor of Violin at the Manhattan School of Music, who worked with a several of our string students. It also gave us the opportunity to fully test the audio capabilities of the system, since we had audio engineering experts at both ends. Our final assessment was that the audio quality was quite good.

  • Felicia Moye and Lloyd Shorter
    Felicia Moye, violin at the University of Oklahoma works with Lloyd Shorter (on video monitor), oboe at the University of Delaware. Corey Jackson (in background) monitors the network stream
  • December 8, 1999: As a result of the Seattle presentation of October 12th, I was asked to make a similar demonstration at the Internet2 Technical Meeting in Miami, Florida. Additionally, I gave a talk on the capabilities of using MPEG-2 videoconferencing via Internet2 for teaching music.

  • October 25, 1999: With money from the Provost’s Office at OU and EPSCoR, the OU School of Music was able to purchase a complete Litton CAMVision-2 Node unit.

  • October 20, 1999: Repeated the October 12th Violin Master Class Demonstration on the OU campus so faculty and administrators could see the possibilities of the technology.

  • October 12, 1999: Demonstrated the very first music Master Class using uncompressed audio and video over Internet2 at the Internet2 Fall Member Meeting in Seattle, Washington. In that demonstration, Felicia Moye, Professor of Violin at OU, taught one of her students located back in Oklahoma.

  • Summer, 1999: Received loaner MPEG2 codecs from Litton Systems to test my concepts of Internet2-based musical videoconferencing.

  • Summer, 1998: In an attempt to bring larger numbers of world-class artists to our music students at the University of Oklahoma School of Music, I began research into Internet-based videoteleconference systems.
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