Very often people have questions and feedback not only to us but also to other community members. Earlier I would have to write an email to person 1 with the question from person 2. When I would receive a reply from person 1, I would write back to person 2. A few days would pass with this procedure. Imagine if person 2 decides to write a second reply to person 1 and entire cycle continues.
Very inefficient. Luckily modern technology has solved this problem with chat channels where instant messages are delivered right away to entire group.
You may know that we have Total Organist channel on Basecamp and it has proven very effective in communicating and motivating our students.
That's why I have also created Secrets of Organ Playing channel on Basecamp.
We know many our community members by name. They write to us. We write back. They ask questions for the podcast. We discuss them on the show.
PROBLEM: Our community members don't know each other. They might have heard about some of them from the podcast but have no way to reach them.
SOLUTION: Check out our new Secrets of Organ Playing Basecamp channel where anybody from Secrets of Organ Playing community can communicate with each other:
On Basecamp you can submit serious questions or simply chat with each other. You can post whatever you like with one rule. Please don't spam.
Basecamp works on every device (computer, laptop, tablet or phone).
From now on you can submit questions for the podcast not only through email but also through Basecamp.
When you subscribe to our channel on Basecamp, please stop to say hello!
Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas
Ausra: And Ausra
Vidas: Let’s start episode 371 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Lorelei, and she writes about Basecamp:
I logged onto basecamp. When did that start? I don't understand. How does this help me? I'm not sure how to use it...
V: Well, Ausra, for starters, let’s define Basecamp. Basecamp is a project management platform that we’ve been using for the Total Organist community since, I think, last August. And the reason we started to use it, together with our regular training materials, is because it helps people to communicate with each other, and for us to communicate with them, and with this tool, we can all grow together much faster. Do you know what I mean?
A: Yes, and it’s easier to communicate in such a way, because if people have questions, problems, or something to share, that’s what we do on Basecamp.
V: So, if Lorelei logged onto Basecamp, she probably would see something like the Home dashboard, and she is on the team of Total Organist. We add subscribers to the Total Organist program into this team, and here you will see a Message Board, ToDo list, Schedule, Campfire, Automatic Questions, and Docs and Files—all those lists. So, we use Message Board, we use Campfire, and we use sometimes Docs and Files for other purposes, and Automatic Questions, also. So what Message Board does is we could make announcements. Or other people can make announcements. For example, Mic just wrote about Melodic Dictation videos missing. He didn’t find those videos in the Melodic Dictation course and he wanted to ask us this question. Of course, this kind of question can be asked in the Campfire as a chat, but it doesn’t matter. The Message Board is great, too. For example, on the Message Board, we also put an announcement when we were ready to go to London to play at Saint Paul’s Cathedral, so that everybody in our community would know that for a few days we will be gone, and we will not know if we can respond to their questions on time, very soon. It turned out we had WiFi in the hotel and everything was fine. On the Message Board, you can also see Total Organist Training materials. This file is a sort of a backup from the Total Organist Website. If you log into Total Organist and want to download some score to practice, or subscribe to some training program, you can use the Total Organist Website, but you can also use our Message Board materials for Total Organist training materials as well. It’s like a backup file for those who have trouble, for example, logging into Total Organist. How does it sound so far, Ausra?
A: So basically, this platform is created to make things easier for you. Easier to find, easier to connect with us, and easier to communicate between yourselves, because as we have talked before, that sometimes people who are at the beginning or intermediate level might help other people who are at the same level even better than we are. So, sort of a helpful tool for you to communicate between yourselves.
V: Exactly. For example, there is this chat….basically column, and you can actually write any type of question or feedback there to me, or to any people there on our community. It’s really great, it’s like instant messaging within our group. Short messages are delivered right away, and you get notified. Concerning notification, you can specify how you would like to receive those notifications, because some students wrote to me that their email inboxes are overflowing with notifications, because people are messaging and giving feedback, asking questions, and everybody is being notified by email. And, I understand that, because SPAM is not okay. And here is the thing… you can adjust when, if, and how you want to be notified in Basecamp under menu item, “Me.” You just find “Me,” your own settings, basically, and you can adjust. For example, I don’t like to be notified right away; I only am notified once a day in my email inbox. But whenever I open the application of Basecamp on my phone, I have those unread messages, also, notified, so that I won’t miss what happened overnight, for example. I hope this helps. Do you think, Ausra, this is helpful?
A: I think so, yes.
V: Another thing about the Total Organist community on Basecamp is automatic check-in questions. For example, at the end of the day, people get this question: “What did you work on Today?” All the community. And, you can write like a short report. Like, a sentence or two--”what did you achieve?” “What were your struggles?” “What challenges have you overcome?” Basically, anything you worked on either in organ playing, or you can just share your day with us if that’s okay with you, of course. Nothing too personal. Right? Another question that people get asked at the end of the first Wednesday of each month is about the Total Organist! “How do you like Total Organist so far?” Because I need, and we need, with Ausra, people’s feedback!
A: Yes, sort of a guidance for us.
V: How can we improve, what is good about that, and how we are helping people, basically. On every Saturday in the morning, people get this question: “What have you been struggling with the most in organ playing this week?” Basically, at the end of the week, you get this question about your struggles. It’s a good review, right Ausra?
V: And you could share them, and if we find your answers applicable to other people as well, we might be able to discuss them on the podcast, too! For example, people like to read books, right? So on the first Monday of each month, you get the question, “Have you read any good books, lately?” And other people might be enjoying your recommendations of books. Every Monday in the morning, you get the question, “What will you be working on this week?” At the beginning of the week, it sort of sets you on the right path.
A: Yes, so it’s sort of you’re making goals on Monday, and then summarizing what you have done…
V: On Saturday.
A: Yes, on Saturday. At the end of the week.
V: Exactly. And then, another question is like, “Seen anything recently that others in our Total Organist community would find inspiring?” And people like to share. You know, various things. Sometimes, I might share my own blog from Steemit, and other people might come across a video or something—a link—that they might share. Various things. It’s really interesting to see. And the whole point is that the Total Organist is like a little community. Right now, we have… how many people in our community… maybe sort of like about 90 people. Around 90 people in our community. That includes people who subscribe directly through paypal, that includes people who are on our transcription team, and that includes people who help us with fingering and pedaling transcriptions from the videos, also. So around 90 people are watching those questions, and reading them. Some people are just reading, some people are responding, you know how it is. Some people are more active than others, but that’s OK, because this is how communities work.
A: That’s true.
V: And what’s the entire why we are doing this, Ausra?
A: To help us to improve this program Total Organist, and to help for you to improve.
V: Because, we might have many hobbies. Organ playing is just one of the possibilities, and I had many hobbies in the past, and I still have some today. And, I can notice that whenever I am a part of the community, I can improve and practice regularly—almost daily—this hobby. For example, drawing these comics. We’re sharing this on the Steem blockchain with Ausra, and other people are commenting and giving us feedback, and also it’s a little community there. So we’re not alone, obviously, if we drew those comics for each other, this would in itself before fun. But since other people are also watching, then the results are more apparent. It motivates us to continue. In the past, I had the hobby of learning a language—Swedish—I would love learning Swedish. But, I was alone, and I didn’t continue for too long.
A: So I guess feeling that you are not lonely and feeling that there are people who support you, who understand you is very important—having that sense of community.
V: Because until last August, the way Total Organist was set up is everybody would get emails with training materials, or they could log into Total Organist website and download something on their own. Which is fine, but again there is no communication, no feedback, and unless they wrote to me directly, they don’t know if they are improving. And this is crucial… to know if your practice leads to some results. And we believe that with the Basecamp communication channel, you can quadruple your results in organ playing. Thank you guys, this was Vidas,
A: And Ausra,
V: Now we are ready to go to practice, because when you practice,
A: Miracles happen!
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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