From the Share Skype site comes an interesting application of voice conferencing: getting your band together.
As a background, our band Liquid Playground is reuniting and performing for our 10 year college reunion at Princeton in May, but the problem is we haven’t seen or played with each other for 7 years. time heals most wounds and we are all happy to get back together for a reunion gig. Here is how we set it up: Three of us were in my garage in Redwood City, CA (drums, vocals, keyboards), the bass player was in Colorado, and the guitar player was in Boston. Each remote player had an amp in their room near their computer and a mic. I had a wireless laptop and mic in the garage and ran my audio out into an amp in the garage. I set up the Skype conference and when the remote users would talk or play, they’d be coming through the amp just as if they were in the garage.There was an issue of slight delay in that we couldn’t all sync up real-time while we were playing. However, we quickly learned to ignore some sounds as we were playing if they were behind the beat. But 50% of this rehearsal was trying to remember what the heck we played and how we played it, and Skype was perfect for this: Pete in MA would ask how a chord progression went. It’s amazing we pulled it off, but Skype is a huge reason why we won’t suck as much when we finally get on stage again!
Skype sounds like a great solution to me, particularly with cross-platform support (I’m running Skype on my Macs, PC, and PocketPC). It’s not the only solution: I saw a percussion teacher do a remote class with a group of marimbists across the country via iChat AV.
Have you tried any of this tech for distance learning or music practice?