Planning a Music Technology Lab

MENC member Hal Peterson has some tips for planning a music technology lab:

  • Map out your lab (see floor plan below). Try using some free floor plan software (search on “free floor plan software”).

              o Plan for the size and location of teacher and student workstations.
o Design for classroom flow so it’s easy to move around the lab.
o Consider the location of electrical and networking outlets and cabling.

  • Make sure electronic and computer keyboards are set up ergonomically.
  • Include an integrated audio system so you can use both digital audio and MIDI sounds from lab keyboards, control the flow of sound to your classes, organize students into groups, and present student work to the class.
  • Integrate visual presentation equipment with the sound system for podcast, DVD, and video presentations.
  • Include lab management software and computer cloning software in your list of items to purchase.
  • Review software and hardware requirements and the number of students using each program or piece of equipment for each class. (This will help justify costs for hardware, software, and maintenance.)
  • Don’t be content with the first design.

              o Show it around and get feedback.
o Consult with a company that specializes in music lab installations, if necessary.
(Ask the equipment manufacturer for referrals.)

This article is adapted from “Technology Tips and Tricks for Music Educators” by Hal Peterson in General Music Today (Spring 2006).

Hal Peterson is the digital media lab instructor at Leland High School in San Jose, California.

—Linda C. Brown, September 30, 2009, © National Association for Music Education (