Arts Education and Virtual Reality

Free Music Curriculum and 500 VR Headsets Traveling to Under-Resourced K–12 Schools

With a $250,000 grant from the Tides Foundation Unity Charitable Fund, Rotu Entertainment has created the Harmony Program in a year-long initiative to travel to under-resourced K–12 schools across the United States to help implement music education. The company will donate 500 Meta Quest 2 headsets and free licenses to use its Jam Theory software. A research study will also be conducted to measure the impact of music education in schools and using VR as a teaching tool.

The program is expected to serve over 100,000 students. The goal is to use VR technology to foster the benefits of music education in schools, using Jam Theory’s extensive curriculum. The virtual learning platform accommodates students’ level of musical knowledge, from simple to advanced concepts, such as polyrhythms, melodies, and thematic variations. Students can experiment with six different instruments: piano, drums, base, theremin, synth, and a mixing station. Rotu plans to add more instruments in the future.

Jam Theory will be available on the Meta Quest 2 with cross-compatibility on Meta Quest, PCVR, PC, and Mac devices. Teachers can implement the curriculum remotely for distance learning.

The accompanying research study will be conducted by Kerstin Liesenfeld, founder of the Liesenfeld Research Institute. The study will measure students' level of music theory retention inside virtual environments and overall learning experience.

“The Harmony Program was founded on the principle that quality music education should be available for everyone,” said Jason Parks, CEO, Rotu Entertainment. “Understanding music concepts is as essential as any STEM program as it actively shapes millions of lives including future leaders of the world.”

Rotu Entertainment is an immersive entertainment studio based in Boston. Its mission is to inspire, entertain, and empower humanity inside and out of the virtual world, and it has worked with nonprofits for the past 10 years. Visit the company’s home page to learn more. See the Jam Theory page for information about how it works.

The Liesenfeld Institute, an affiliate of Tufts University School of Public Health and Community Medicine, conducts research on topics “surrounding the development of the authentic self.” Visit the institute’s page to learn more.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.