Technically Philly: Drexel Hosts Music Technology Concert and Discussion w=500 h=375]

3-D printing is a process that uses a digital model to make a solid, three-dimensional object. the process has gained attention for its uses in engineering and scientific endeavors, it is also being used increasingly in the music industry.

Director Bruce Kaminksy speaks to the audience in between selections from the Mediterranean Ensemble from Drexel.

This was one of the many topics that the discussion panel at Drexel University’s Mandell Theater discussed on Thursday evening.

The night started with a concert featuring the Drexel Mediterranean Ensemble, which showed the juxtaposition between older music and instruments and modern music and instruments. There was also a sing-along to Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never.” The 100 attendees accessed the lyrics of the song by scanning a QR code on the program.

Following the concert, a discussion panel, led by Bruce Kaminsky, spoke on how technology affects and will continue to affect the music industry. Most members of the panel were industry professionals, varying from musicians to a producer of physical copies of CDs.

Members of the panel of experts speak about the changing technology of the music industry.

“Some folks will equate technology with the digital aspects of the zeros and ones of existence,” Kaminsky, who is the director of the Mediterranean Ensemble, said. “But technology has always existed.”

Kaminsky also said that the emerging technologies and popular websites like YouTube are making it easier for the unknown artist to gain popularity.

“In some ways it’s evening out the playing field,” he said. “Now the individual who has an idea has almost as good of a shot at becoming known.

One of the most important topics of the evening was STEM education in schools. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and it is used in education discussions to increase students’ competitiveness in the technology fields. Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Director Youngmoo Kim, however, stressed a slightly different approach.

“We advocate for something a little broader,” Kim said. “We advocate for STEAM, which is integrating the arts…We do projects that cross the technology and the arts, and we think that is a incredibly fertile intersection. A lot of really, really cool stuff happens at the boundaries, not just coming from engineering, not just coming from artistic fields, but when you put these worlds together.”

Here are some other highlights from the music technology event.

Members of the panel also led the audience in a sing-along to Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never.”
  1. 3-D printing is becoming common in the music industry. The guitar picks used in the performance were made this way, and parts for ten-year-old instruments that are no longer kept in stock have been remade using this process.
  2. Because of advances in technology, music is becoming much more visual than before. Most people go to YouTube when they want to hear a new song rather than going to iTunes, in order to gain that extra visual element that listening to the mp3 on iTunes lacks.
  3. Technology is being used to even the playing field for new and up and coming artists. As a new artist it is much easier to be discovered by utilizing tools like YouTube.

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