Digevent (www.digevent.com), a company specializing in interactive Webcasts, has entered the field of online music education. Digevent offers free weekly online lessons, held regularly on a specific day and time, to anyone who is interested. The maximum class size is 2,500 students, and so far Digevent has been able to accommodate every applicant.
The current course offerings include Drum Beat, Keyboard Kaleidoscope, and Guitar Mania. Each class meeting is divided into segments. For example, a Guitar Mania lesson devotes time to a Riff of the Week discussion and a question-and-answer period. On occasion, a guest artist will focus on a specific topic.
You register for classes online at the Digevent Web site; the process takes about 15 minutes. During registration, the Digevent server checks your computer to make sure that you have the applications you need to participate in the Webcast. (The company refers to this as preflighting.) The minimum system requirements are a Pentium/166 MHz running Windows 95, 98, 2000, or NT; an Internet connection with a 56 Kbps modem; and Microsoft's Media Player 6.4 and Internet Explorer 4.0.
After you've registered, Digevent e-mails you the lesson site's URL and your log-on time. During a lesson, you can e-mail questions to the instructor. And if you miss a class, you can catch up by downloading an archived copy of the lesson.
Digevent plans to make the service accessible to Macintosh users later this year. Master-level classes, available on a pay-per-view basis, are also in the works.