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 USIA 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 (Customers, 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) instincts,(b) logical-mathematical, (c) spatial, (d) music, (e) bodily-kinesthesia, (f) interpersonal and (g) interpersonal. 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. Firebrand (1995) stated that “An 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. ). He continued, “And as Godly said, ‘There is no complete man without music” (as cited in Firebrand, 1995, Para. 3). Firebrand 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 kindergärtners participated in a study on the effects of classroom music (Earaches & Japan, 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 students participating in individual music instruction scored significantly higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal abilities than children provided with computer instruction. Because spatial abilities are important to decision making, it is critical for children to acquire this to successfully grow into thriving adults (Earaches& Japan, 2000).
Research shows that “musical instruments and musical activities are very compelling; when children are provided appropriately challenging environments and are allowed to initiate activity on their own, they are attentive and creative, often persisting for longer periods of time than may be expected” (Customers, 2000, p. 137). When a music educator understands this concept, he or she can fully appreciate the rower of music. Moreover, there are not a lot of activities that will keep a child focused for long periods of time.
Luckily we are in a great profession where we can activate this learning development early on and cultivate it in the music classroom. By implementing a keyboard lab in the general music classroom, with the use of headphones, students are only hearing themselves when playing. This gives them a chance to be completely attentive on their individual playing, and provides the opportunity for students to focus and allow for those creative moments to happen. Learning an instrument at a young age is the perfect time to build all concepts of music-melody, harmony, tempo, pitch, steady beat, and rhythm.
Children are born with a natural connection to rhythm and music. Contrary to the old simplistic notion that art and music are processed in the right hemisphere of our brains, with language and mathematics in the left, recent findings from my laboratory and those of my colleagues are showing us that music is distributed throughout the brain. Through studies of people with brain damage we’ve seen patients who have lost the ability to read a newspaper but can still read music, or individuals who can play the piano but lack the motor coordination to button their own sweater. Levities, as cited in Clark, 2010, p. 21) Nearly every part of the brain is engaged when children are surrounded with music through exploration and interaction (Clark, 2010, p. 21). In order for my students to gain complete hands on musical experiences, I realized I needed to incorporate a keyboard lab. The lab I chose for my classroom includes the growth of fine motor skills, listening skills, problem solving skills, and self-esteem. They will be introduced to a new instrument and given opportunities to be creative.
Not only will the keyboard lab provide a chance for individual instruction, it will allow students to work in pairs and small groups. According to the research considered for this study, it is obvious that appropriate music instruction can only enhance students academically as well as socially. That is why I feel strongly that music educators should consider implementing a keyboard lab into their general music classrooms. Budget cuts caused by operation make appropriate funds unavailable for this investment in the music program.
There are other ways to acquire the money in the form of grants available for classroom teachers. My school population is approximately forty percent economically deprived, qualifying us for school-wide Title I status. Not many of the children in my district can afford to take private instrument lessons; therefore, I knew I wanted to provide this opportunity for my students to experience the keyboards. I studied many options and finally decided to submit a grant application to the Kinder Morgan Foundation.
Fortunately, I was awarded a rant in the amount of $5,000. 00 to purchase a keyboard lab. When I received the keyboards, the students were ecstatic. It was amazing to see their faces light up with joy when given an opportunity to play something so tangible. Most of my students had probably never even played a keyboard much less a piano. Some of my most behaviorally- challenging students have taken a new interest in my classroom. The keyboard lab provides a more structured environment, which is better fitted for students with behavioral disorders (Price, 2012).