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Project Lets Musicians, Miles Away, Play Music Together


Imagine being able to play music with another person miles away with essentially zero delay. That’s what ASU School of Music and Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) students can now do because of an innovative partnership between ASU, the Sun Corridor Network, and Information Technology at PVUSD.

If you try to play music with someone else over Skype or Facetime, you’ll find it incredibly difficult due to varying internet speeds and the delays inherent in those programs and commercial internet. In normal speech and in most situations, the delay from these services is nearly unnoticeable. Musicians, however, need perfect timing to practice or perform their work to the fullest. This connection, through a technology platform called LOLA (LOw LAtency), allows ASU and PVUSD students to perform together- in fact, they already have.

“LOLA is a multi-site telematic system that transmits high quality audio/video designed specifically for network-based arts creation and collaboration,” said Jason Caslor, assistant professor and associate director of bands and orchestras in the ASU School of Music. “While it functions similar to programs like Skype or Facetime, LOLA allows for high quality audio and video with almost zero delay. With LOLA, coupled with Arizona’s very low latency Sun Corridor Network and the national Internet2 Network, musicians can actually perform with fellow artists in real time even though they are physically miles apart.”

PVUSD generously loaned a LOLA node to ASU, and live sessions between the university and the district began in January. Eventually, a full live demonstration was staged on April 10 at ASU Gammage with PVUSD high school band and orchestra students at a location 25 miles away with great success. Watch the video below.

Audio and video provided by Classical Arizona PBS. Other selections of this and other events may be found via the “Classical Arizona PBS” mobile app (https://bit.ly/2rhMtZb) and/or via the Classical Arizona PBS Facebook page.

The project was brought to life by the Sun Corridor Network and its Executive Director Michael Sherman, the ASU Gammage staff and ASU network engineers Daniel Tischendorf and Bob Belisle.

“The Sun Corridor Network is very proud to enable a collaboration between one of our school district users and ASU”, said Sherman.  “PVUSD and ASU are among the first institutions in the country to deploy LOLA and collaborate like this. It is a thrill for us to see the unique characteristics of our network used for such a wonderful purpose”, Sherman continued.

Caslor thanked the ASU School of Music and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts for their financial assistance in making the demonstration possible. The project with PVUSD will be presented at the Internet2 Global Summit meeting in San Diego on May 6-9.

Additionally, the ASU Wind Ensemble accomplished a recording session with composer John Mackey via LOLA on April 19 from the Berklee College of Music.

From Sun Corridor Network: “The Sun Corridor Network is Arizona’s gigabit speed network dedicated to research and education enables the mission of the three public universities and provides service to other schools and community colleges across the state. And as a regional connector for the national Internet2 research and education network, the Sun Corridor Network connects to thousands of educational research partners across the country and globally.  Eligible organizations can access Internet2 services in Arizona by becoming a user of the Sun Corridor Network.” Learn more here.

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