CJC Paves Way for Live Ensembles to Play and Learn From Multiple Locations Real-Time-Online with Minimal Latency
Aug 12, 2020; Berkeley, California; The California Jazz Conservatory (CJC) has taken giant steps in real-time-online learning, becoming one of few schools in the world to implement a full rollout of JackTrip, a network-based audio performance platform, now incorporated throughout the CJC degree program. The software, created and developed at Stanford University, allows musicians in different locations to perform live with minimal latency issues, which until now, has been the single major stumbling block for creating live, virtual ensemble music.
The addition of JackTrip, along with other software programs such as Jamulus, will be used both alone and in tandem with the popular video platform Zoom, as CJC prepares for the upcoming start of its online-only degree program for the fall semester on August 24.
“When COVID-19 shut down the school’s in-person classes, workshops and concerts, the CJC team quickly jumped into action to figure out a viable solution. We sought to offer students and faculty engaging and cutting edge online alternatives that would ensure the health and safety of our overall campus community. The team designed new and innovative courses that embraced technology and were particularly conducive to a virtual environment. Achieving successful real-time-online interaction has been challenging, but one we took on with great enthusiasm given the significance of technology––both in terms of our present-day COVID world, as well as the role it will certainly play going forward,” commented CJC Founder and President Susan Muscarella.
Working tirelessly for the past five months, researching various options and consulting with experts around the world, the CJC staff, led by CJC Dean of Instruction Jeff Denson, Jazzschool Director Rob Ewing, and Technical Projects Director Kim Nucci, recommended investing in the underlying technology and infrastructure to roll out JackTrip for the degree program’s ensemble classes scheduled for fall 2020 and beyond.
“You never know when or how your past will impact your present and future in a big way,” commented Jeff Denson, who first witnessed the miracle of JackTrip in its infancy 11 years ago while finishing his doctorate under the guidance of UCSD Professor Mark Dresser, one of the early pioneers of the JackTrip program.
“I was more than impressed with the program’s capability at the time, especially since it was in the relatively nascent days of high-speed internet interactivity. So, as we began in earnest to research solutions for live, online ensemble playing, I reached out to Mark, who then suggested that I speak with UCI Professor Michael Dessen, another pioneer of the ground-breaking program. From there, Dessen suggested we reach out to Chris Chafe, the Director of Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and a co-author of JackTrip. After Michael helped get me set up on JackTrip and I was able to successfully play online with him, I was sold,” added Denson.
JackTrip co-author Chris Chafe noted, “When COVID-19 hit, the world switched gears and so did JackTrip. Adapting it for use from home became an urgent need. Schools including CJC jumped in with testing which revealed important improvements to be made and we all hung in there together as these features became a reality. It now works well for musicians on home networks and engaged in remote music lessons, ensemble rehearsal and concertizing. We couldn’t have gotten there without the input and patience of CJC staff and many others.”
With the start of the fall semester just days away, the CJC team is continuing to work to fully implement JackTrip, including a complete upgrade of the school’s technology infrastructure and the creation of a support platform to ensure all of the faculty and students have the technology, tools, and knowledge to fully utilize the program and do what they do best…make music together again.
About the California Jazz Conservatory
The California Jazz Conservatory (CJC) is the only independent, accredited music school in the country completely devoted to the study and performance of jazz. In addition to offering Bachelor of Music and Associate of Arts degrees in Jazz Studies, CJC will launch a new degree program, Master of Music in Jazz Studies: A Master’s degree for the 21st Century Composer-Performer, in fall 2021. Applications are now available at cjc.edu/apply/. Jazzschool at CJC is the Conservatory’s community education program, offering over 100 Classes and Workshops for Fall 2020, live and interactive, in Real-Time-Online, with Fall 2020 Classes and Workshops starting week of September 21. CJC concerts––featuring visiting artists, students and faculty and usually presented year-round in two intimate venues––are currently on hold. For more information about CJC, please visit cjc.edu.