Integration of laptop orchestras in secondary public schools: A feasibility study
Hamilton, Sarah E.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of integrating a laptop orchestra into the curriculum of a secondary public school. Participants (N=33), directors (n=11) and members (n=22) of laptop orchestras at US colleges and universities, completed surveys addressing curricular and physical resources required to support the ensemble. Responses indicated that the student learning outcomes of university laptop orchestras were in alignment with current national and state standards for music education. Survey results also revealed that directors of laptop orchestras would need specialized training in music technology and computer science, along with an abundance of time to dedicate to rehearsal preparation. Reported physical resource needs varied, depending upon ensemble goals, with estimated equipment costs ranging from $100,00 to $750,000, but far less if students owned their own laptops. Many participants predicted that, with the continued growth of music technology, technology-based ensembles would become standard in secondary schools.