What to do with keyboards
Tagged: Keyboards in general music
June 16, 2016 at 11:10 am #91517
Over time, I have had several electronic keyboards donated to our middle school. Not enough for a classroom full, of course, but eight or so.
Would it be ridiculous to try using these for class activities? Don’t tell the fire marshal how many power strips I’d be using.July 2, 2016 at 1:54 am #92604
Not at all ridiculous, depending on what you are working on. I highly recommend doing the players-waiters-lookers set-up. If you have 8 workable keyboards, you can have a class of 24 and easily use them. One person is the player who has to use proper technique, correct melody, correct rhythm, etc. The waiters sit behind the person and wait–but they have to be watching what the player is doing, thinking and processing the performance and technique and preparing mentally for his or her turn. The looker is sitting on the other side of the keyboard looking at the keyboard inverted so to speak. The looker watches technique and provides constructive, friendly feedback on the performance. Then the students rotate. The first time is a little confusing–but once they get the hang of it you can use the PWL format for orff instruments, perc instruments, etc. This technique is fantastic for using a small set of instruments, promotes social and emotional learning, and you may find your students learn faster because they are both teachers and learners. Good luck!
A final thought, may want to consider having one to take apart and show the students what the inside of a keyboard looks like. My students LOVED that–it was one of their favorite lessons! 🙂
NAfME Council for General Music Education (NCGME)July 11, 2016 at 1:18 pm #93305
Keyboards are great for engaging middle school students. Assign them to a keyboard in rotating CENTERS so that each kid gets a good 20 minutes or so to work. Assign a composing project with specific guidelines / requirements. Ex. Piece must be 8 measures long, must use at least 5 notes, include chromatic notes, two dynamics. Make this into a rubric (admins love that and it’s really best for middle school – clear expectations). This could also be group work.
Main idea is use the keyboards to reinforce or teach skills you’re already doing in class or would like to do.
If there’s extra time — or if you make extra time in the schedule and they earn it — let them turn the volume down or put on earbuds and play around with the sounds / effects / patterns.
Good luck!!July 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm #93336
Thanks for this question! I think using keyboards in any way in your classroom only expands students’ potential creativity. They could be used for composition projects, group song-writing, ear training, etc. They don’t always need to go the traditional on-to-one route for keyboarding skills.
Council for General Music
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