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Case Study

Music Education for Homeschool Students

JackTrip Makes Online Music a Possibility for Homeschoolers

Background

The Centre for Learning at Home offers a variety of program options for the high school student looking to take online education at a pace that works for them. Every student should have the opportunity to have a great education, even if attending a physical school is not their ideal choice. The Centre for Learning has supported families in Alberta, Canada for nearly thirty years.

The Centre for Learning at Home is one of many homeschools that has faced challenges with music education throughout the years.  With a focus on online learning, programs across the world face numerous challenges when it comes to teaching music to students.  After COVID, programs like The Centre for Learning at Home saw an uptick in enrollment.  As COVID restrictions dwindle, many programs are thinking about how they can retain students in coming years. 

Catherine Scott, who teaches online music for Grades 4 to 12 at the Centre, says “We were constantly trying to give our students the same opportunities that students normally have.  There was always this barrier for band and choir and that was always something our students missed whenever they came to an online environment.”

After reviewing a survey given to students, teachers like Catherine Scott at The Centre for Learning at Home found that band and choir were two things that students felt they could only learn about through in-person schooling. “There was always this barrier for band and choir and that was always something our students missed whenever they came to an online environment.”

Problem

In trying to start band and choir programs, The Centre for Learning at Home was faced with challenging barriers.

  • Due to the complexity of remote learning, band and choir programs are not able to exist in online settings.
  • The music teacher responsibility covers a large geographic area given students are not in a central location.  In the case of The Centre for Learning at Home, some students were hundreds of miles away from the teacher.  
  • Students surveyed felt that teaching music online was generally difficult over conferencing services like zoom or Google Hangouts.  
  • Music collaboration was difficult due to latency and poor audio quality.
Home school Zoom meeting
Catherine Scott alongside her students using JackTrip spanning across a 1,000 km distance (approx 600 miles).

Solution

Homeschooling programs with an online focus have been limited to teaching music theory and music history until now. In a pursuit to maintain a creative and innovative curriculum that offered the same benefits as in-person schooling, The Centre for Learning at Home discovered the online music collaboration technology initially created from Stanford University and further developed by JackTrip Labs

“JackTrip Virtual Studio allows the kids and myself to log into a shared server, and gives us each the ability to play and sing live as if we were in a concert hall,” Scott explains.

  • JackTrip’s cloud-based technology offers a way to teach music online without the strenuous barriers of latency and poor quality audio.
  • Despite being miles apart, the Alberta, Canada based program brought music students together online from over 1,000 kilometers.
  • JackTrip provided an experience like being in the same room enabling an online  music collaboration experience with ultra low latency.

Results

While teaching music theory and history is valuable, being able to play and learn music is something that is very special. Alternative schools are able to provide a higher, more efficient level of service by using JackTrip Virtual Studio.

  • JackTrip opens up possibilities for music education for the homeschool programs to grow.
  • The low-latency solution that JackTrip provides helped to initiate a band and choir program for the school.The Centre for Learning at Home launched Alberta’s First Online Synchronous Band and Choral Program.
  • The capabilities of JackTrip technology enabled the Centre for Learning at Home, to extended its curriculum and develop a partnership program with the University of Lethbridge Conservatory of Music. 
Music @home flyer