Just as in the other Musikgarten curriculum classes, the ear, the voice, instruments, and movement are still a part of the keyboard class.
There is so much noise in our environment and there is so much visual stimulation that the art of really listening needs lots of cultivating because it is central and so foundational to the art of music. In the keyboard classes, students are listening not only to themselves as they make music, but they are also listening to the teacher, other students, and the recordings. Through listening, student’s minds are being filled with lots of musical ideas and making connections that they can then take to the keyboard.
We are still chanting rhythms and patterns in the keyboard classes, but the rhythms gradually become more complex and connect to rhythms in treasured songs they’ve listened to on their recordings and danced to in class. The singing voice also becomes a magical and critical tool that helps children take the music they can hear in their heads and express it through their fingers. There have been countless times when children have tried playing a new song they are learning, but just can’t get the fingers to play the right keys. Yet, as soon as they start singing, like magic the fingers obey and they play the song perfectly.
The drum is still used in keyboard class because it reinforces the idea that the sound produced is directly related to the quality of the touch as well as reinforcing the feel of beat and rhythm in the student’s body.
Children LOVE to move, yet in our world movement is so undervalued and underestimated. Movement is the body’s expression of rhythm. To develop rhythm, children need to move. It is also through movement that children learn how to control their bodies and learn how to express themselves as they play their instrument. In the keyboard classes, we move through dance. The dances require the children to control their bodies and connect the listening ear to control the
Learning to the play the piano through Musikgarten still takes plenty of dedication, work, and weekly goal setting, but with the group environment, singing, dancing, drumming AND piano…we have a Lot of Fun!