Innovation in Music 17

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Innovation in Music 17

The first outdoor conference, in which you have been accepted solely because of the quality of your research, is always an exciting moment. Even more so, if the conference is taking place in the capital for your area of expertise, London. If we add that because of its industry driven sponsors, the keynote speakers are people that you highly regard as amazing artists, producers, and engineers such as Imogen Heap and Ken Scott, it gets even more interesting.

It was an early morning, because to be there at 9 to see the first presentation that also had my name on it, I had to catch the 6.50 train from Birmingham. But even so, sleepy as I was, walking in the University of Westminster was such an amazing experience. Based in the heart of London, this white marble university was the location chosen by the InMusic organisers, and the choice was perfect. In a technological context, the contrast with the classical architecture was stunning to say the least, but probably this is just me going off on a tangent.

Being seen in the morning as a performer and pianist, and on the same day as a researcher for my own research was a really interesting experience. Seeing myself as subject of one presentations, and hours later as the one researching gave me some real insight on the real meaning of research and how many facets compose the role of a researcher.

The actual presentation was good, and smooth. And having some actual data to present for the first time, was really encouraging, after almost a year presenting only the state of the art in my subject, relevant literature and the research project itself tied to the methodology chosen. But what was even better where the questions. Having such a diverse audience split between an industry driven background and an academic one, I had the chance to reflect on multiple aspects of my research.

  1. Technical questions about the machine learning side of things made me realise how fascinating it is for non tech people to have a machine learning from a human being. That gave me the right motivation to insert more and more machine learning explanations in presentations, even those not dedicated to tech people.
  2. I was questioned about the reason why I chose to split the user base for my testing between jazz and classical pianist. With a big and obvious wink to pop music. User base was already a subject that I had in mind for quite a while, and this question made me find the necessary courage to broaden the scope of my user base and test the system with other artists and genres.

Once finished presenting, I assisted to Jonathan Bailey’s keynote speech, and not only I was blown away by the technology advancements coming from his company, iZotope, but I was also impressed by his explanation of the business model that is being run in the company itself, and after a bit of brainstorming with James, we took many things out of that talk that were directly applicable to the integra lab. So overall a really interesting and inspiring keynote speech that sparked some good thinking.

The networking coffee breaks were also very interesting. Before presenting I was introduced by my supervisor Tychonas, to two researched that seemed very interested in my research project. They brought my attention towards Sebastian Berweck, contemporary pianist and performer, suggesting me to forward him my project ideas to get some feedback from somebody directly involved in the research field around piano and live electronics. Another really interesting chat was with researcher Tim Canfer about my project, and I received an invitation to collaborate in a chapter on the book he is planning to write around music interaction design.

In conclusion the conference was really interesting and insightful both from the purely research driven purposes, such as getting feedback from an environment external from the university, but also from a networking point of view, as well as a purely inspirational place to be in for one day.

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