Musical competency development in a laptop ensemble


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The laptop ensemble is a platform that has recently been made possible by computer technology that enables individuals to perform music collaboratively. Research in this area has largely focused on the performance aspects, with very few studies focusing on the development of musical competency through participation in a laptop ensemble. This article reports the findings of a study that assessed the development of participants' (n = 80) perceived musical and non-musical competencies in a laptop ensemble affiliated to a tertiary institution in Hong Kong. A mixed methods approach consisting of a questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews was used to investigate their learning experiences. For comparison, the questionnaire was also administered to participants in a conventional acoustic orchestra (n = 80). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the laptop ensemble group to examine the participants' perceptions of the development of their musical and non-musical competencies. A three-way dependency model was developed based on the findings, which revealed the technologically-oriented aspects of musical and non-musical competency development in the laptop ensemble. Participating in the laptop ensemble fostered students' ability to develop both musical and technological skills, which fits with the framework of digital musicianship of essential skills for musicians and music educators in the digital era. Copyright © 2018 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-131
JournalResearch Studies in Music Education
Issue number1
Early online dateJul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


Cheng, L. (2019). Musical competency development in a laptop ensemble. Research Studies in Music Education, 41(1), 117-131. doi: 10.1177/1321103X18773804


  • Digital musicianship
  • Ensemble skills
  • Laptop orchestra
  • Musical competency


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