From A Distance, Learning Online
It has become a cliché that the evolution of modern telecommunications—from the telegraph to the telephone to satellites to the web—has increasingly brought people closer together. Many activities that were once possible only when individuals were in relatively close physical proximity to one another have now entered the virtual realm. Today, people can engage in various pursuits, or a remarkable simulacrum of them, whether they breathe the same oxygen or are thousands of miles apart.
Educational instruction has been a part of this transformation. A few decades ago, "distance learning" meant correspondence courses in drawing or radio repair into which you enrolled by mailing off a matchbook cover. At that time, schools claimed to be able to teach you to play the piano, but the results were patchy at best. (Early-20th-century avant-garde composer George Antheil tried to market his visual piano-instruction system "See-Note" and lost his shirt.)
But with the interactivity of the Web, musical instruction now has new possibilities, and Berklee's online music school Berkleemusic.com exemplifies this trend. . . .