The electronic keyboard has risen in popularity since its birth in the early 1980s and is currently one of the most popular classroom instruments in the United Kingdom. However, the use and application of this instrument has been largely ignored as a focus for research. This study examined factors associated with using keyboards to teach classroom music. Data were collected through questionnaires (n=26) and follow-up interviews (n=6) with music teachers in Berkshire (UK). The results reaffirm the ubiquitous position that keyboards hold in the classroom and show that they are being employed in creative and diverse ways. Whilst teachers feel that keyboards motivate pupils, foster inclusion, and facilitate musical progression, their use is not without problems. A need for a greater balance is perceived between different methods of keyboard use to include: group work, whole-class work, and other instruments. Many problems associated with keyboard use relate to financial constraints on teachers. In particular, features such as touch response and accompaniment styles appear only to be employed at a significant level by departments with a homogenous set of keyboards. This suggests that manufacturers need to design a keyboard specifically for educational use with the needs of teachers and their budgets in mind.
|Published - 2005