Monday, December 03, 2007

From darkness, light.

The social network of the future will be populated by the RSS feeds of the activities of your friends and your friends will be determined by e-mail. The big players won't put a major push into building a new social network. Your e-mail account isn't valuable because it's got the e-mail addresses of other people who could be solicited commercially -- it's valuable because it articulates who in the world is able to command your attention. It contains analyzable, direct communication between you and the people most important to you.

Marshall Kirkpatrick
Read/Write Web

I realise for many of you, the above paragraph contained a few words you have heard but are unclear of their precise relevance to this message at the seasonal time of mid-winter greetings and festivities. Mr. Kirkpatrick is discussing the phenomenon of social networking and the explosion of sites like Facebook, Meebo and Twitter, to name just a few. On these sites you make contact with your friends, “add” them to your list of friends and are then added to their list of friends. Whatever you celebrate, be it Diwali, St. Nicholas, Hannukah, Christmas or the winter solstice you will probably be spending time with loved ones. In our interconnected world, we often share thoughts and often cards with the aforemntioned groups. In this twenty-first-century-web-2-point-oh world, we can share more than cards and E-mails.To share your holiday greetings, you could post a video with your holiday wishes on YouTube and link it into your social networking site. As you add friends to your site you also also grant your friends access to your thoughts, plans, pictures and…

Yes, the ellipsis is intentional. The list of what you can share with your online friends is limited only by the developers’ imagination. Music, movies, what music is playing on your computer at the moment are only the beginning of what can be shared. All of the developers want to have your social network account share their application with your friends, so they too will sign up to that service. Then all of their friends, ad infinitum. If I sign up for an application the E-mail that my friends receive in their profile will say, “Richard Hein would like to share this application with you. Sign up today and share with Richard!” By consenting to join the service, I have granted them the right to use my name in their marketing appeals. It’s there in the fine print, the bit that no one ever reads.

As in all things in life, it is the fine print where the devil hides. Many of you have used YouTube videos in your classroom and your students have probably posted videos there. What you and your students need to know is that the once a video is posted on YouTube, to paraphrase the fine print: until you remove the video from YouTube, and then for a commercially reasonable time, you grant YouTube permission to do whatever they wish to do with your video, in whatever format they wish and on any medium that exists or may exist. Yes, they may even sell your creation and not pay you a cent. I hope you noticed the “a commercially reasonable time.” What is the current length of copyright? That could be a commercially reasonable time, couldn’t it? Just a thought. Probably no need to worry, though. It also continues to say that just because you filmed something for your personal use that you must ensure that you have the permissions from the appropriate copyright holders to distribute those filmed images. Oh! Wait a minute, don’t forget the sound recordings as well. Oh.

So that probably leaves YouTube out of the running for assisting with your seasonal communications opus. Why not make a podcast? Plenty of tools to create with, especially on the Apple platform. Pop the photos of you and the family and friends into iPhoto, and create a slideshow there or use them to create an iMovie. Open GarageBand and choose appropriate instrumentation for your favourite public domain holiday song and arrange away: drum parts, synthesised sounds, special effects - whatever! You can even sing or play along with your backing track or sing or play the parts on different tracks and ignore the synthesised sounds completely. You can then use your arrangement as the sound track to your slideshow or movie, and publish it - you can pop one on any web space you own or very easily via Apple’s .mac services. There you go - a unique, personalised holiday greeting that will help to make the season bright for those whom you love both near and far.

For us in the northern hemisphere it is a time of endings and beginnings, darkness giving way to light, death and rebirth. In the darkness we remember those who are near and those who are with us only in memory. As we light candles or fires to ward away the darkness, we pause to remember all of the love that brought us to the place we are today, and look forward to all the love that we will share in the future as we move on to places now unknown to us.

Bright, glad tidings of the festive season to you all.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Simple Gifts

Country music is just three chords and the truth.
Harlan Howard
Sometimes it is the simplest stories that make the greatest impact. The finest writing is often the simplest and most direct. Many of us see beauty in zen koans. Haiku has fascinated readers for centuries. The starter for this piece appeared in an Emmylou Harris special called "The Ten Commandments of Country". One of the statements she made, after proffering that they really should be "suggestions" not commandments was that, "If love didn't hurt, there'd be no country music."

We might extend that idea to other types of music. If we think back to some of the memorable moments in our lives, the pain of a lost love or unrequited love or a broken heart will probably be present somewhere. Think of the songs that you have sung or performed where the subject or theme has been the pain of love dying or growing without reciprocation. Listen to the songs of John Jacob Niles, then bring out The Silver Swan. In studying the music of Appalachia, home of the roots of what today is called "classic" country music, he found links through images and language to the Elizabethan English poets.

Now the aural distance between "I Wonder As I Wander" and "Achy Breaky Heart" also tells a story of an urbanisation and transformation of an acoustic art and the people who perform and listen to it. In a gentler world we might say that the growth of the symphonic ensemble followed a similar path as it went from gut strings to wound. As the world grew noisier, the music grew louder as well. Much of modern day country is coloured with the twang of the electric guitar and the throb of drums. Blame or thank the Bobs - Wills and Dylan. From the big-band boogie of Texas swing to the electrification of folk music, the times, they were (and are) a-changin'.

The three chords provide the structure. Same three as the blues and many hymns and patriotic songs. We've all learned them. There is usually an image in the words that catches the ear of the composer. When we think of love, that love need not be limited to the romantic ideal, but may also include the love of beauty and sometimes the disappointment that pursuit of love can create. Take the following:

Songbird in a golden cage:
She'd prefer the blue.
How I crave the liquor of her song.
Poor bird who has done no harm:
What harm could she do?
She shall be my prisoner her life long.
My songbird wants her freedom:
Now don't you think I know.
But I can't find it in myself,
To let my songbird go:
I just can't let her go.

Jesse Winchester’s lyric, sung recently on Spyboy by Emmylou Harris, has the same swing between sweet and sour; happy and sad; and pride and disappointment that marks much of our journey through the world. The composers of art songs from every era have played the same balancing game. We each recognise our self in the singer and in that recognition, the humanity we share. Labels will get in the way: a simple melody, well sung or played will conjure up all the beauty that a heart can hold.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Practise Makes....Better

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke

Welcome and welcome back! By popular request (well, one person) I am re–presenting some of the material presented at last year's International Honor Band and Choir Festival and in a previous column. It once again is recording time for auditions for Honor Band, Choir, Orchestra and Middle School Honor Band. Jon Hodge has shared a guide for recording which is linked from the News page on the AMIS web site. My previous article is in the HeinSite archive on the AMIS web site - I've used the same quote to make it easier to find. This is a "variation on a theme" so apologies if you have heard the melody before. These same techniques may also be used to record your whole group in rehearsal or performance.

A brief philosophical diversion. One goal of the audition recording process is to present an accurate view of the performers capabilities and abilities through performing prescribed literature at controlled tempi and using common articulations. It is therefore possible for like to be judged against like. The tempo guidelines in the vocal audition for the song are the acceptable range for performance. Whether or not you artistically agree with that choice, it is what is given for the audition. The audition committee has made mistakes and is, indeed, flexible, but if everyone uses that range of tempos it is possible to compare how a variety of singers handle articulation, phrasing, diction, and rhythmic accuracy. To make an analogy; everyone is driving their individual cars on the same racetrack, with the same bends, straights and curves.

We, as artists and educators celebrating music, wish to minimise the intrusion of the recording process on our performers. They are nervous enough, and a teacher flapping about pushing buttons, setting levels, adjusting stands does little to calm the nervous performer. It also does little to calm the nervous teacher who may not have an advanced degree in audio engineering or years of experience gigging in lounges and bars, setting up and taking down increasingly intricate sound systems. There is an easy solution.

Practise. You always try to have your performing group rehearse in the performance space under simulated performance conditions, don't you? When you are working with your students, record them from their first efforts. Let the students hear their performances and make decisions about performance adaptations (breathing, tone, articulation) based not just on your feedback, but their own - based on listening and evaluating their performance.

By using a microphone and audio interface for your iPod you can carry your recording studio with you in a briefcase or book bag. You may have to carry the stand as well - a perfect task for helping the student take ownership in the recording process. Although the audio interfaces are available for the iPod nano, I would still recommend the iPod video - the small iPod video has four times the recording time as the largest iPod nano. Ten megabytes (MB) per minute of uncompressed audio, so one hundred megabytes is ten minutes, one gigabyte is approximately one hundred minutes of music.

You will have to experiment. Unlike more professional solutions, there is no level control. You'll have to move the student backwards and forwards to find the "sweet spot". You'll also have to experiment with metronome placement so the student, accompanist and microphone can all hear its important message.

I tend to place the iPod on the piano and set the microphone up so it is facing away from the piano. I also place the metronome on a music stand at 90° to the microphone. The singer (in my case), then stands facing the piano anywhere from two to three feet away from the microphone. Incredibly large and colourful voices will have to retreat to avoid creating distortion. This uses the microphone's natural rejection of sound coming from directly behind to minimise the piano sound going to the recorder and maximise the singer's sounds.

I then start the recorder and record the entire half hour session. I keep a sheet numbered 1 to 50 and have the student say a number before each trial - I then put a quick + - or √ as a rough guide to my impression of the performance. I'll listen to the first recored track and readjust the microphone position if necessary, but after that it is hands off the technology and all attention is on the performer and their performance. If there is time, I'll link the iPod back to my laptop, pull the recording into iTunes. It tells me that there are new voice recordings available and asks if I would like to import them now. This also gives me a backup recording automatically as it remains on the iPod until I delete it. Once it is in iTunes, I can rename it with the singer's name. The date is automatically entered. I can then drag it into a playlist and burn it straight to CD so the singer can take it home and listen to their performance and reflect on what they can do to change it.

Since we are already used to recording rehearsals, there is less tension when it is time to record the final performances. Beforehand, I'll have read through the audition instructions to see how my students should be announcing themselves and if I am supposed to be making one track for each candidate or four tracks for each candidate, one for each exercise and announcement. I stick to the plan, repeat the process, and will eventually ask the student which of the "takes" is their final performance. I remind them that only complete "takes" of an exercise can be used. If a student is still making pitch errors, note errors and rhythm errors I will continue with their evaluation and reflection process, but we will probably come to a mutual decision at the end of their recording session that perhaps this audition still isn't ready to submit. This means that the performer and I have decided not to submit the audition and that their advances from early attempts have been acknowledged, but that the singer has come to a greater understanding about what is meant by membership in an honor group and probably has new goals for their musical studies for the year.

If the audition process for that student continues, I then take the student's requests, compare them with my track sheet, and edit the long session file and find the versions they wish to use using an audio editor. Both the editors mentioned below have wave shape editors so you can see the conversation, singing and the metronome. I then export the final tracks as .wav or .aiff files and place them in a folder with that student's name. I'll also name the tracks, for Soprano 1 in this case; s1announce, s1ex1, s1ex2, s1song.

The final tracks are then dropped back into your CD burning application of choice - I still use iTunes as it creates yet another backup of my edited files and makes it easy to create a second CD as my insurance copy. There are numerous available for every platform: Roxio Toast, EasyMediaCreator and Nero come immediately to mind. Then, the dreary part; I go to the Lower School music room when no one is there and listen to the entire recording. This is my check. Is each audition complete? Are the tracks for each candidate in the correct order? Does it play on that stereo? How does it really sound? Any problems and it's back to the audio files. Hopefully recording problems like distortion will have been discovered earlier in the process. Then I'll take the CD(s) home and try the, on my stereo. If I have time, I'll listen to the whole thing again. If not, I'll listen to the beginning of the CD, the middle, and the last track. Then it's time to fill in the paperwork that accompanies the CD(s), the online form that accompanies the audition, and get the package ready for mailing.

So there it is in a nutshell. Practise. Demystify. Involve the student in the evaluation. Read instructions and follow them. Celebrate success at every stage of the audition process and remember that you are the first member of the audition panel.

Rick Hein


Audacity - Free - (

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

* Record live audio.
* Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
* Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files.
* Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.

SoundStudio - $79.95 - (

Sound Studio 3 is an easy-to-use Mac OS X application for recording and editing digital audio on your computer. Digitize tapes and vinyl records, record live performances, create your own mixes with crossfades, tweak the levels and EQ, apply digital effects and save in all major file formats with Sound Studio 3!

xtrememac micromemo - $59.95 - (

• high-fidelity digital audio recorder
• Turn your iPod into a portable recording studio. No tapes, no batteries, no cables. MicroMemo™ plugs • into your iPod to record interviews, meetings, lectures, a new guitar riff, or any audio content directly to your iPod nano or iPod video.

Sony ECMMS907 Digital Recording Microphone - $99.99 - (

• Electret Condensor Stereo Microphone with Mid-side stereo system
• Wide Dynamic range for capturing high-quality sound through digital recording
• Directive angle can be set to between 90 and 120 degrees depending on environment and source
• Triangular shape design, fits comfortably in your hand

ROXIO - Toast & EasyMediaCreator - (

Nero - (

Garageband and iTunes ($79 - free with new Apple computers) can also be used to import voice memos from your iPod using iTunes, drag them to the desktop, drag the desktop file into Garageband, trim out talking and excess metronome run, and then send back to iTunes, where it can be burned as a CD.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ripples in the still pool

Once in every show
There comes a song like this
It starts off soft and low
And ends up with a kiss
Oh where is the song
That goes like this?
Where is it? Where? Where?

A sentimental song
That casts a magic spell
They all will hum along
We'll overact like hell
For this is the song that goes like this
Yes it is! Yes it is!

The Song That Goes Like This
Lyrics Eric Idle, Music John du Prez

Not all of our musical experiences will scale this peak of self-reference, but Eric Idle is not one for letting anything go without wringing every drop of humour out of it that is possible. You will remember some of his other hits, Always Look On The Bright Side of Life, The Universe Song, and most other songs from Monty Python. Certainly the compser's name looks a bit familiar, doesn't it?

"Pastiche!", I hear you cry. Well, even Stephen Sondheim has had a go at that. Remember Follies? Maybe you've had the experience of performing Mozart's edition of The Messiah? Pastiche is such an ugly word, yet as a composer and arranger I know from many hours looking at blank pages that the audience is most comfortable hearing what they are used to hearing. Look at the wild success that the major/minor diatonic system has been having since its introduction. Tell your modal jazz guys and gals that they are using a system of tonality even older than that and they won't believe you.

As a composer, you always looking for your voice. You spend hours in lessons and in writing practice pieces and studies. Sometimes, your voice eludes you. You sit waiting for that magic spark to get you started. I'm sure that my fellow contributors to this august journal will agree that putting the first words on paper is the difficult part. Well, maybe they wouldn't, because just as in musical composition, drafting and redrafting is the order of the day and I would say that keeping the words (or notes) on the paper is the hardest part of composition.

But where does the magic spark come from? Ask any professional and they will tell you the spark is the first excuse of every writer or composer. Just like any other skill, composition takes practice and effort. Diligence. Devotion. One of the best ways to work is to keep a book of score paper and a pencil near your favourite chair or in your school bag and jot down that little tune that comes in your head, or that catchy phrase, or that rhythm that popped in to your head. If you hear a song you like, make a note. Combination of instruments? A news story? Children speaking in the lunch line? An observation about a picture? A picture? Anything that snaps you into that different state that makes you notice. Once you've got a collection, the more difficult part will start as you now have a collection of sparks.

That's right, the excuses are gone now. You've noticed something in the world around you that caught your creative interest. Find fifteen minutes to stretch your creative muscles. If you are not a good lyricist, find a poem you like, a Bible verse (or any other inspirational imagic text) or try an instrumental piece or a piece with obscure Latin-sounding words and syllables. Not a confident pianist? Write a solo line. Can't write melodies? Write a rhythm piece using body sounds. Don't know what the body sounds are? - define your own set.

Some of you must be shocked by now and wondering what has happened to me. We're quite a ways into the piece and I haven't told you to use technology to solve a problem or buy a new piece of software to get inspiration or go to a cool web site that is full of ideas. Ah, grasshopper, we must look within to see more clearly what lies without.

As your year draws to a close, you'll be starting to think of ways to pass your summer holiday. Courses, gardening, family and travel are some of the ways that we find to re-create. You know the way that you like to recharge your spiritual batteries and to get ready for another frantic year of school life, festival life and life in an ever-changing world. Be bold and take a step on a new path this summer. The journey of a composer is a journey of creation where the experiences of your life are distilled through you into an object - a creation. It is a product that arises from you and reflects you and your world at that moment of its creation. As a performer, you've learned how to re-create that moment when you perform a piece. Now as a composer, you have to take the leap into the world of vibrations and order them to your will, so others can feel what you feel as you create your music.

Unleash your creative powers. Set the water rippling in the still pool this summer and watch the waves of your universe grow to new peaks and catch the glint of a previously unseen light.

Keep rippling.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Internet Grows Up

But the very success of YouTube strongly suggests that there won't be another YouTube, simply because one site downloading 58 percent of all Internet videos and that site, in turn, being acquired by the second-biggest video downloading site that also has more money than God, well the YouTube guys would have to commit mass suicide to blow their lead at this point and I don't see that.
Robert X. Cringely
Changing the Game
I Gringely

Welcome to the birthing pangs of Web 2.0.

Now everyone can be a publisher. Who needs broadcast media? Our recent International Honor Band and Choir Festival made AMIS history by being the first to have selections from the performance posted online. You can visit and search, without the quotes, for "AMIS honour" and find eleven short videos of the concert. As I write, the finale has been watched 1,077 times. That's about twice as many people who saw it live on the night. Now I know you're going to say that it's about even, counting all the performers, but allow me to luxuriate in that number. Looking back in time, it was not long ago when we posted pictures of the 1999 Honor Jazz Band Concert on the budding Internet, (or Web 1.0 as it has now become), and it took five months to have 1,600 visitors. In four weeks we have had two thirds that number and they are watching video, not still pictures.

To quote Bob Dylan yet again, "The Times they are a-changin'." Your students are the ones who are tremendous multi-taskers. They listen to music, IM, blog, surf the web, work on their Facebook or Bebo sites, comment on others walls, read the comments on their walls and respond, then check the photos on Flickr or Photobucket and add a few tags then check out digg or slashdot or post a link to their page. Oh yes, occasionally homework rears its ugly head, but Google makes short work of research these days. Build a bibliography by cutting and pasting the URL, author and so forth into "Son of Citation Machine", paste the result into Word, autosort paragraphs alphabetically and Robert is your proverbial paternal or maternal sibling. If even that is too much work for you and your ethics run closer to the dark side, there are plenty of sites selling term papers and coursework.

It has been reported that over 75% of Internet connected homes in America now are on broadband. We are coming ever closer to the age of ubiquitous computing. Have a question? The answer is online and your computer is now always online. Our cellphones have more computing power than the original home computer, and possibly more power than the early mainframe computers. They are definitely more flexible. You can now take photos, play music, take videos, E-mail, write word processing and spreadsheet documents. What is more, you can take your instant creations and with one or two button presses post them from your phone to the Inetnet for the world to see. We are both consumer and publisher. Who needs an editor?

As mentioned last issue, at this point copyright begins to rear its ugly head. Many people post video captures of their favourite broadcast programs. People's right to privacy also begins to become an issue. Everyone is now a paparazzo and the picture of you doing that amusing dance with your eyelids peeled back and the twisted leer may not appear all that comical the next morning on a web site. Since everyone is their own publisher, how can you judge the expertise of the poster? Does an analysis posted by a twenty year old undergraduate history major carry the same weight as one published by a twenty-year veteran political analyst from a major broadcast syndicate? Who pays for these publications? Are there advertisers? Look again at your YouTube search page - you'll see at least two and probably two others.

The other element in Web 2.0 is the connections between events. I mentioned tags before, and they are the hot spots that link images to other images, other people and other sites. Images link to other images and there are new connections and a new social network is formed. Links are shared, connections made along the lines of the phenomenon "six degrees of separation". Tagging and mashups of data, maps and photos are a feature of Web 2.0. Anyone can tag a location on Google Earth and link to a picture they took of that location and have stored on the Internet. As an example, visit and search for an audio visual "oral history" of Route 66.

Google is working at being the nexus of the links - the hub of all the connections. So is Yahoo. Notice two names missing from this article so far? I'll bet you did. The desktop is irrelevant to Web 2.0. Apple, Microsoft, Linux, or even something yet to come - the network is the computer. You can now, through a variety of providers, have a suite of programs that is 100% Microsoft Office compatible without using a program written by Microsoft or paying a penny to purchase them. What's more is that you can also create, share and publish these documents without ever saving them to any local computer hard drive.

Where has Apple been? Pioneering a legal way to sell music without physically producing cds or tapes or lps. Following the message of John Negroponte in Being Digital Apple have found a way to sell bits, not atoms. They have sold a few atoms as well. In the five years since its introduction, Apple has sold its 100 millionth iPod (atoms). And to make it even dearer to the hearts of the business world, its companion the iTunes Store (bits) has sold over 2.5 billion songs, 50 million TV shows and over 1.3 million movies, making it the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store. Remember, Apple gives away iTunes.

Everyone wants a piece of Web 2.0 - even at a one or two percent pay rate the numbers generated by the new social web are truly mind boggling.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

All You Need Is Love...and a good lawyer

We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks. It feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future.

Steve Jobs
Apple Inc.

It is great to put this dispute behind us and move on. The years ahead are going to be very exciting times for us. We wish Apple Inc every success and look forward to many years of peaceful co-operation with them.

Neil Aspinall
Apple Corps

Thus ends the madness. Now the rumour mills can swing into overtime and assay the significance of Steve Jobs using a song from "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Cub Band" in his demonstration of the iPhone in January and George Martin and son remixing the The Beatles' canon for the Cirque du Soléil show Love.

The music of The Beatles is amongst the most strictly controlled in all of popular music. Their CDs have been carefully matched to their albums, despite the fact that a CD can hold more songs than a long playing album. No bonus tracks - only two "new" cds. They have refused to have their songs used as "partner songs" or parts of an arrangement mixing other songs with their tunes. They famously have not allowed their music to be used in advertisements. Those that have appeared in ads are part of the historic sale of the assets of Northern Songs, a company created to control the publishing rights for the Lennon and McCartney songs. When The Beatles formed Apple Crops, they wanted to pull the publishing for all of their songs into their core business, so Northern Songs had to be dissolved. Unfortunately, the closed bid auction had an unknown party enter. This unknown party won the auction, much to the chagrin of Lennon and McCartney and was revealed to be none other than Michael Jackson. That means that every time Paul gets out the acoustic guitar at the end of the concert, sits on the stool and sings Yesterday, Michael Jackson gets paid.

The publishing rights are the real earners of the music business. Sure, CD sales are important the first few years, but over the duration of the copyright, (there's that word again), publishing royalties are paid every time the song is performed in any medium in any location in the world. They may only be a few pence, but think how many times a song is played on the radio, in an elevator or on the television. Yes, that was every where in the world. In every elevator. Any radio station. Now we add "sold as a digital download".

The Beatles also have never allowed their music to be sold for digital download. the songs may have appeared in peer-to-peer networks or torrents, but those instances are due to individuals sharing their private collections. The record labels have tried to find a way to control this illegal duplication and distribution of copyright material. In the US, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has sued people it has identified from subpoenas served on Internet service providers. These people were accused of sharing thousands of songs. Doesn't sound like much, but two or three cents times a thousand songs shared with a thousand people makes for a significant piece of change. If a million people are sharing a thousand songs with a million people, it is a very significant piece of change.

If the iTunes Store becomes the sole provider of The Beatles music, both companies believe the revenue will be unbelievable. Rumour has it that there may be a Beatles iPod, preloaded with their songs and a special design just as Apple introduced a special edition U2 iPod. Apple Inc. has had tremendous success with the iPod and the iTunes store. Record companies like the fact that the music has a digital rights management system (DRM) that actually works. They thought they would have a better experience with the Microsoft produced Zune, but were disappointed to find that the DRM system that was guaranteed to play didn't play on the new device. The record industry has been pushing Apple to allow different prices for the songs on iTunes and were pleased that Microsoft allowed variable pricing. Sadly, the Zune store requires advance payment and money is converted into "Zune Points" potentially confusing the purchasing public.

Our digital future burns bright. High quality recording becomes more affordable, the hardware becomes more greater in capacity and smaller in physical size. With the iPhone, the 3G phone and other multifunction devices we are entering the age of convergent technology. All our individual devices will become multipurpose devices. Look at the development of the personal computer - it is no longer enough that it performs calculations quickly - it must now manage our addresses, music libraries, video files, communications and more.

The past thirty years have been a wild ride, but the ride is just beginning. In the words of The Beatles, "You've got to admit it's getting better." Hold on to your hats - it's going to be fun!