e-Orch: EdUHK’s user-friendly way to make music

The conventional composer-performer-audience model requires students to spend a large amount of time learning complex musical notation and instrumental skills before enjoying the process of music-making. This makes music inaccessible for many, who therefore give up at an early age.

Having graduated in education at The Education University of Hong Kong and become a music educator, composer and entrepreneur, Dr Leung Chi-hin has spent many years finding ways to break down these barriers. “We are all born with musical ability. Classical music teaching discourages spontaneity,” he added. His ‘e-Orch’ digital music project enables schoolchildren to create and perform music, as well as record and edit musical videos. There are downloadable apps, which encourage primary and secondary schoolchildren to work in groups. They can learn how to make a variation of a famous melody or an original composition inspired by famous composers, and record and edit videos of their performances, which can be shared live or posted on social media.

The project falls in line with the philosophy that schools shift from teacher-centred to student-centred music learning, through participation in integrated activities of creating, performing e-Orch a user-friendly way to make music Dr Leung teaches his son Skylar in using his award-winning Grid Notation innovation with the e-Orch app Dr Leung Chi-hin Assistant Professor Department of Cultural and Creative Arts 22 Innovating for All Accessible learning and listening. The award-winning* Grid Notation system makes music score-reading easier than ever, and e-Orch gives users the ability to make, record and share music with just a tap on a tablet. The result is that children of all musical abilities and backgrounds can be involved immediately in making music. “It’s about adapting music to the modern world,” said Dr Leung.

Educators have found e-Orch highly useful. Tse Yan-wah, head of music in a primary school, said, “In the training process, students become passionate and devoted learners. Even though some of them have little musical literacy, students are empowered with the use of simple apps in ensemble training, bringing immense satisfaction to them.” More than 20 schools in Hong Kong – both primary and secondary are already participating in the project. “e-Orch greatly stimulates students’ interest in music and motivates learners to actively participate in practising,” said e-Orch conductor Helen Lau Hiu-lam. “My students enjoy playing on e-Orch as they have more opportunities to play various virtual instruments. I believe this greatly helps them to choose their favourite acoustic instrument to play in the future,” explained primary school head of music Esther Lui Ching.

*2018 Gold Medal winner iCAN, Toronto (Canada), and 2019 Bronze Medal winner at the 71st iENA in Nuremberg (Germany)

Published: 05 Oct 2021

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