Let's Jazz: a Case Study on Teaching Music with Educational Escape Rooms
Keywords:Educational escape rooms, Music education, Game-based learning
Escape rooms have been proven to be a functional game-based approach to teach a variety of subjects. Teachers as well as students are eager to play escape rooms in the classroom; field studies have demonstrated how escape games are a memorable activity with a high retention rate, especially if followed by a proper debriefing session, in which learnings emerged and are made consistent. In recent years literature on educational escape rooms has grown, yet there is little body of research on educational escape rooms on music education. In this paper we present an educational escape room about Afro-American music at the beginning of the past century. The players are asked to solve a murder case happened in the backstage of a jazz club in New Orleans. Such scenario gives the players/students the opportunity to "experience", within the escape room context, cultural and historical details and characteristics related to this musical genre. The puzzles within the escape room are formally related to jazz and Afro-American music, giving players/students the possibility to learn and have a "first-hand" experience with concepts that would otherwise remain purely theoretical within a normal classroom environment. Learning has been measured by the means of a 3-step test design: the pre-test was administered before playing the escape room, the first post-test was administered right after playing the escape room and before the debriefing, while the second post-test was administered two weeks after the debriefing phase. From a qualitative point of view the teacher has noticed high motivation while playing the game, with respect to a normal classroom activity. The quantitative results of the second post-test have shown students have retained many of the concepts presented within the escape room and this highlights the importance of a debriefing phase to consolidate learning after playing an educational escape room.