The Laptop Orchestra as Classroom

TitleThe Laptop Orchestra as Classroom
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWang, G., D. Trueman, S. Smallwood, and P. Cook
JournalComputer Music Journal
KeywordsChucK, classroom, laptop orchestra, plork, princeton, slork

This article chronicles our pedagogical adventures in the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk).  We examine and evaluate the PLOrk classroom as well as new approaches and tools for teaching.  In doing so, we present an integrated, naturally interdisciplinary teaching/learning environment for computer science, music, and performance.  In such an environment, the learning and internalization of technical knowledge happens symbiotically with the acquisition of aesthetic and artistic awareness; there is only one explicit goal: learn to make compelling computer-mediated music together in an academic setting — all other learning happens ‘along-the-way’.  The presence of experienced guest composers, who compose and teach the ensemble their new works, allows students to learn about and experiment with varying aesthetic and technical approaches while working with the composers on their new pieces. We believe this is an exciting new environment where the learning of interdisciplinary knowledge is not only natural, but also inevitable (and fun).