Using Keyboards in the General Elementary Music Classroom
Kent State University
The purpose of this study is to research the use of keyboards in the general music classroom. Studies show that the use of instruments at an early age will enhance students’ musical intelligence as well as spatial-temporal abilities (Rauscher & Zupan, 2000). Introducing keyboards to preschool and kindergarteners will improve fine motor skills, listening skills, problem solving skills, and self-esteem (Clark, 2010). This study also suggests ways for a music educator to discover opportunities to purchase a keyboard lab. Grants are a perfect solution in the ever-declining economy. Introducing the keyboard in general music classroom is definitely going to enhance students’ development by building on these skills; therefore it is important for administrators to find adequate musical instruction time in the public schools.
Keywords: keyboards, general classroom, schools, grants
It is very important for every child to have positive hands on experiences in the general music classroom. Research shows that learning an instrument at a young age is the perfect time to build all concepts of music such as melody, harmony, tempo, pitch, steady beat, and rhythm. By using instruments in the classroom, every student will have the opportunity to build confidence and self esteem as they learn simple musical concepts. Although there are many methods and theories for successful hands on experiences for young students, the keyboard lab is one that will bring joy and excitement into the general music classroom.
Gardner (1983) proposed the theory of multiple intelligences. He revealed that music is the first intelligence to develop, mostly through playing instruments. This is extraordinary because the coordination skills needed to play an instrument are not developed until middle childhood. It is very important for the music educator to understand how to cultivate this development. We need to know and recognize the learning styles of early childhood music learners (Custodero, 2010). Adding this type of music technology into the classroom will open a whole new world of teaching opportunities (Burns, 2006).
Gardner (1983) stated that there are actually seven styles of intelligence: (a) linguistic,(b) logical-mathematical, (c) spatial, (d) music, (e) bodily-kinesthetic, (f) interpersonal and (g) intrapersonal. Gardner classified music as a separate intelligence. This offers support to music educators and school administrators to provide adequate time for music instruction in the public schools. In most cases, music is one of the first programs to be cut. Feierabend (1995) stated that “An educational framework that emphasizes mental and physical development while neglecting the musical development of a culture will promote the development of a two dimensional society rather than the three dimensional model proposed by Plato” (para. 3). He continued, “And as Kodály said, ‘There is no complete man without music’” (as cited in Feieraband, 1995, para. 3). Feieraband claimed that in order for our brains to fully engage the musical intelligence, we must stimulate it early on. Sadly, music in the homes of children occurs less frequently, so it is the music educator’s job to provide effective musical influence as soon as they begin preschool or kindergarten. Spatial cognition enables humans to manage basic and high level rational tasks in everyday life. Spatial abilities enable scientific and artistic thought. A group of sixty-two public school kindergarteners participated in a study on the effects of classroom music (Rauscher & Zupan, 2000). The children were separated into two groups. One classroom had a keyboard for musical experiences and the other had no music participation. This study confirmed that the keyboard group scored higher than the no music group on measuring spatial-temporal tasks. It also says that...
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