Stony Brook Music Department Web Site’s New Look


So, it seems that the Stony Brook music department Web site has finally made it to the twenty-first century. Nice.

I’d say it’s about time.

Alright, maybe it’s a little lame that I’m getting legitimately excited about this, but to me, a self-proclaimed music nerd, this is really quite refreshing. Since JRN 210 last spring, I’ve been sort of haphazardly covering the music department and naturally, that includes regularly sifting through event listings on the department Web site in order to set up a coordinated coverage schedule.

Perhaps the changes aren’t as visually drastic as my enthusiasm might suggest…the Web site, for example, still features the same boring peach background, the same boring header (“Sounds for all Seasons”) and the same two column split on the homepage.

However, slowly but surely, signs of a gradual evolution are emerging.

For one thing, the site now features what might just be the single closest thing to an interactive graphic that I’ve ever seen on a Stony Brook department Web site.

At the bottom right corner, there exists a sort of interactive schedule that automatically scrolls down towards upcoming events each day (the calendar lists all scheduled events for the year) and allows users to click on a particular event in order to get more information about it.

I’d noticed in the past that the department regularly failed to remove events form the list that had already occurred—the recent change, I think, makes the site a bit neater.

In addition to listing all events under the ‘Concert Season’ tab, the department had also added a PDF version of the department’s event newsletter. Nice. The text list, after all, was nearly impossible to copy and paste.

Personally, I think this could prove to be a really useful change. While reporting a story about low attendance at graduate recitals last semester, I noticed that the site was pretty slow to make changes.

For example, instead of watching the viola recital that I had come to see, I ended up walking into an empty Recital Hall. The performer had canceled a couple of hours beforehand, yet the music department Web site, which I had checked just before leaving my house, had not documented the change. Recently, I noticed that recital cancellations have been going up on the site right away on the interactive schedule.

In addition, the interactive schedule can expand when one clicks on an event to give a curious patron more information about different events, including location, time and, in some cases, the performer’s program for the evening.

Although I think it’s great that the department is reacquainting itself with the Web, it could obviously be doing a lot more. I suggest embracing the concept of multimedia. We are, after all, talking about a Web site for musicians here, and music is really both a visual and an auditory art form. I think it would be amazing to really feature the works of Stony Brook music students—videos, pictures and audio clips would definitely do wonders for a site that, right now, is pretty visually barren. Right now, I know that a decent amount of performers tape their performances and post them on Youtube. Here’s an example of a student recital from last year.

I say, why not feature these clips on the department Web site? Not only would it be an excellent way for students to promote their own work, but it could certainly be an interesting way to attract prospective students.

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