Chong, H. J., & Kim, S. J. (2016). Development of a School Orchestra Model in Korean Public Schools and Students’ Perceptions of the Orchestra Experience. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(35).


This paper outlines an author-developed school orchestra model and describes students’ perceptions of their orchestra experiences after model implementation in terms of program satisfaction, personal and social experiences and learning motivation. The orchestra program was implemented in 77 elementary schools over the course of a full school year. The model includes procedures for setting up and managing a school orchestra, including teaching curriculum, learning repertoire and sharing resources. To collect data regarding students’ perceptions of the orchestra experiences, 593 elementary students from 15 schools were randomly selected from the orchestra model schools and asked to complete a survey at the end of the one-year implementation.

Key Findings:

Students reported satisfaction with the orchestra program, positive personal and social experiences and learning motivation. The results indicate that school orchestra programs can provide meaningful opportunities for students to gain positive experiences in self-confidence, actualization, building relationships, listening skills, motivation for participation and academic achievement.

  • Eighty-five percent of students reported that they had increased opportunities to interact with other students in the orchestra class.
  • Nearly 92% of students indicated that their motivation for academic achievement increased.

Significance of the Findings:

The findings show positive outcomes from participating in the orchestra programs. Considerable previous research substantiates the positive outcomes of music programs on student’s personal and social experiences. This study demonstrates that these positive effects are also found in Korean youth orchestras, where these programs are not as common as in the United States.

A significant strength of this paper lies in sharing the school orchestra model. The model is one that other music educators may find valuable as they research strategies for implementing their own programs.


The study examined students’ perceptions of their orchestra experiences after implementing a school orchestra project for one year. For this purpose, the study was performed in two steps: first, the development of the school orchestra model and second, implementing the model for one year.

The author developed the model based on various types of literature pertaining to school orchestras from schools with successful models. The developed model is composed of three sections: initiation, management and resource networking. Initiation involved setting up the environment for the orchestra program, including physical facilities and instruments, assigning an orchestra conductor and recruiting members. In the management stage, education plans were formulated for the orchestra, and repertoires were developed from repertoires that teachers who had had at least three years of school orchestra experience suggested for different levels. Finally, the resource networking included identifying and connecting physical resources, professional pools and either financial or physical support for managing the orchestra. The resource networking played an essential role in seeking strategies to maintain the orchestra.

A total of 77 schools received funding from the Korean Ministry of Education for setting up the initial program, which included establishing a desirable physical environment for the student orchestra and purchasing instruments. The schools were selected by examining three criteria: 1.) the regional characteristics of each school’s location, including the student population’s socioeconomic level, the degree of cultural disadvantage and the regional remoteness; 2.) the educational environment, specifically each school’s resources and infrastructure related to the arts in education and 3.) the school’s capacity and eagerness to maintain the school orchestra through active resource networking.

To measure the impact of the school orchestra project, a survey was issued that consisted of 16 items, each answered along a four-point Likert scale. Students filled out the survey in the classroom instead of in the practice room, to avoid any influence by their peers. The students were asked to participate in the survey if they were willing to; therefore, completing the survey was considered agreement for participation.

Limitations of the Research:

The authors did not address the limitations of their study. The positive findings could be different in other settings. The findings are obtained from a single 16-item survey, with a four-point scale. Additional data sources and a more rigorous research design would provide more insight on the benefits of the orchestra program.

Questions to Guide New Research:

Additional research could seek to determine whether these positive effects adhere in other settings, cultures and age groups.

  • Are findings similar if the program is less comprehensive?
  • What levels and characteristics of support are necessary to achieve these desirable outcomes?
  • How important is administrative, parent, financial and community support?