Vidas: Hello and welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast!
Ausra: This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better organist.
V: We’re your hosts Vidas Pinkevicius...
A: ...and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene.
V: We have over 25 years of experience of playing the organ
A: ...and we’ve been teaching thousands of organists online from 89 countries since 2011.
V: So now let’s jump in and get started with the podcast for today.
A: We hope you’ll enjoy it!
V: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 695 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. Today, we’d like to talk a little bit about how and why Total Organist Community has migrated from Basecamp to Discord, right Ausra?
A: Yes, that’s a big journey.
V: Yeah. Basecamp has served our purposes very well for four or five years, and we were very very happy how it works, and what was your experience, Ausra, with Basecamp communication?
A: Well, I was slow at the beginning with all unfamiliar platforms, but I was very happy after, afterwards. I got used to it. And during the pandemic, when I had to teach online and school hadn’t suggested any alternatives, we were just, you know, said that we had to do it, and I was happy that Vidas allowed me to use Basecamp for my students. So I did that for a few months until school bought access to Google Classroom. Then I switched to that, because we were required to use Google Classroom.
V: That’s right. And yeah, for our purpose it served various teams. Like our university Unda Maris studio was on Basecamp, separate channel. For communications, it really worked very well. But the thing with Basecamp is that it costs, well, $99 per month, or $1,000 per year if you pay yearly. And for large teams, for large corporations, it’s okay, because they don’t charge anything for extra people. Because lots of project management software charges specific fee, maybe a low fee, but still one fee for each extra person.
V: So imagine if we have 10 people and you get charged 10 times for each person. But Basecamp has just one flat fee. Except this fee is a little bit strange, because if you have 20 people on your team, you can still get a free personal Basecamp account, right? And for small private lessons, that could be possible, right? For our Unda Maris studio could be possible because we have less people. But if you have 21 people on your team, the first, it’s already, you already pay the same as you would for 1,000 people on your team, you know?
V: Or 10,000.
A: Yes, that’s a little bit unfair.
V: And I asked them to adjust their pricing a little bit for smaller teams like we have; for family corporations like Ausra and I have. But they were very inflexible, and they said, “Sorry, that’s our policy,” you know, ok? And for a long time, for a few years, it served our purposes. But in this economy, to pay $1,000 per year just for communication, it’s hard to justify this expense Ausra, right?
A: Yes, it’s a little bit too much.
V: Yeah. So we decided to go ahead and look for other platforms, maybe free versions. And of course the first that came to us, to mind, was Discord. Discord is very popular platform for groups, for communities. It was created for gamers. It’s a gamer platform to chat while livestreaming. It’s very robust and has many features that gamers love. But today, actually during the pandemic, as all of their communication chatrooms have expanded their coverage to offer much more comprehensive approach to chats, to communities. And now they can handle all your communication needs, whatever your interests are. Basically, if you have a club, if you have a team of people like we do with Total Organist, or Secrets of Organ Playing community too, they can chat in real time in Discord. The thing that we loved probably the most on Basecamp, and we were actually hesitant to move for quite awhile from Basecamp to anywhere else, was those automatic questions that you would get every day, or every week, or every month. Like, “What have you been working on?” And people would answer - not all of them, but some people would get involved, and that’s very very nice. Did you like those questions?
A: Yes, I liked those a lot.
V: And for a long while, I thought it would be hard to replace that automatization in other platforms because I didn’t find those features in free platforms like Discord. But recently, I found that there is automation platform called Zapier, and you can automate everything that you do. You get, for example - now we have the same questions, but they are delivered to Discord channel through the Zapier bot. I set up that bot in advance, and for customize day or date or time, they can deliver a customized message. And that saves a lot of time, because…
A: Oh yes.
V: …every day we don’t have to pose the same question over and over again.
A: Yes. Yes.
V: And for the same number of people, so everybody will get them. So we’re very happy.
A: Yes. And today I already started to use Discord, because before that I hesitated, because I didn’t like those moving stickers.
V: Yeah. Well, when people join Discord, you can send a wave, like with a sticker. And that sticker is like moving picture, like GIF. And it starts to wiggle hands or say something like an animation.
A: It’s very distracting.
V: Yeah, it’s also fun!
A: It is fun, yes.
V: It’s a happy picture.
A: It is very happy. But maybe I’m just too old for such happy figures.
V: Yeah, could be. So we set up the same channels that we had on Basecamp, we set up on Secrets of Organ Playing Community on Discord. We have General Channel, we have Welcome Channel, we have Training Materials, we have Fingering and Pedaling for our team, and Podcast Transcriptions for our team to share. We have Announcements Channel, and we have Support Channel, people could ask questions if they need help. It actually even has one extra channel that Basecamp didn’t have, that’s Voice Channel. You could actually transmit livestreams, voice livestreams through Discord. I haven’t used it before, but it could be something that we could think about.
A: I think we will try it.
V: Voice, like radio, right? We could set up radio for our members. And that works really well. And a number of people have already joined in from Basecamp, they already moved. And some of them who haven’t moved, they will probably join later. The link is available if you are listening to this conversation at a later date, the link is always available on Total Organist Dashboard when you log in to your account, and you will see the link to Discord, right? We are offering the same community also, but with a little bit different privileges. To our Buy Me a Coffee subscribers to select levels. People who are paying $10 per month or more- €10 per month or more, so they could get access to this private Secrets of Organ Community, except they wouldn’t be able to see Total Organist training materials. Is that fair, Ausra?
A: Yes, I think that’s fair.
V: Yeah, because that’s not included in their membership of course. So we have a few students from Buy Me A Coffee platform who we teach privately like coaching one-on-one, and they get access to this Discord community as well. So, shall we recommend and encourage people to look into private coaching if they need private one-on-one help?
A: Of course, I think it’s very helpful.
V: Yeah. Some people need group lessons, group materials videos like we do in Total Organist. That’s okay for some. But for some, they specifically contact me or Ausra to teach them something one-on-one. And that’s how we use Buy Me A Coffee platform now. These specific levels get various types of rewards. And those rewards mean that they get specific numbers of private lessons through Zoom platform with us one-on-one, depending on the level that they choose. All right, so that’s about Discord. It’s been wonderful for me. I’ve been using it for the last week or so to communicate with those new members who have jumped in. And it’s been working. I haven’t seen any complaints so far, because it’s very accessible. You can specify your theme. It has a night theme, it has white theme. I like a darker theme for my eyes. Ausra likes white theme for her eyes. So I think you will get the best suitable appearance for yourself as well. So anyway, if you’re listening to this conversation at a later date, please remember Basecamp is no longer our choice for communication of Total Organist Community and Buy Me a Coffee community as well. So we have moved to Discord for now. And if we ever decide to change the platform of course you will get notified with another announcement.
A: Yes. Thanks for listening.
V: And remember, when you practice,
A: Miracles happen.
V: This podcast is supported by Total Organist - the most comprehensive organ training program online.
A: It has hundreds of courses, coaching and practice materials for every area of organ playing, thousands of instructional videos and PDF's. You will NOT find more value anywhere else online...
V: Total Organist helps you to master any piece, perfect your technique, develop your sight-reading skills, and improvise or compose your own music and much much more…
A: Sign up and begin your training today at organduo.lt and click on Total Organist. And of course, you will get the 1st month free too. You can cancel anytime.
V: If you like our organ music, you can also support us on Buy Me a Coffee platform and get early access:
A: Find out more at https://buymeacoffee.com/organduo
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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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