Beta Testing. The definition, according to WhatIs.com
In software development, a beta test is the second phase of software testing in which a sampling of the intended audience tries the product out. Beta is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. Originally, the term alpha test meant the first phase of testing in a software development process.
Good to know. Why? Because having this definition in my head will help me get through the bumps and missteps of a startup.
The “alpha” part of my startup concept has been in development for about twenty five years. The idea started when I had to teach music theory to undergrad music majors. My teaching partner and I had come up with some pretty crafty pedagogical methods to provide context for an approach to music that was different, required, and therefore made for a somewhat defiant learning environment. As a music student myself, I hated regurgitating material that was easily found for reference when needed. But I loved the back stories.
I’m a fan of origin stories, historical, political, economic conditions of the time the artist was working. Who may have influenced the work, what school or traditions were part of the expression, all information that helps understand the work, but at the same time offers an opportunity for me (or the audience) to bring their perspective to the experience.
I’m also a geek. A nerd for insight. Documentary films. Artist biographies. Behind the scenes moments caught on film. DVD extra’s. And I love bloopers.
For art experiences in community, these insights are hard to come by. There are a few stalwart folks who are writing about the local music scene, reviewing restaurants or plays, and also promoting the cultural things available to our community. Public radio and local television cover what they can. Newspapers do as much as they can, even though they keep cutting feature writers.
I see a need for insight to help audiences connect more deeply to what’s going on in our arts community. While it’s great to promote what’s happening, I want to be more deeply engaged with it. I think we’d have more dedicated audiences if there were more previews, interviews, and conversation. That’s where I’m starting.
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