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Home Curriculum Recorders or Keyboards – the Keys have it!

Recorders or Keyboards – the Keys have it!

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picture-3Over the past two days I have had detailed emails asking me about recorders, guitars, or keyboards. Here is my response.

When I first started teaching, recorders were the “stable” of every music curriculum. There were inexpensive instruments that every student could own. It didn’t matter that recorders were high-pitched headache inducing weapons. They were instruments, shouldn’t be all learn how to play an instrument?

I did my master’s thesis on the recorder:  “The Videocassette Recorder as an Effective use in Teaching the Recorder,” even in 1986, I was interested in technology. But, when MIDI keyboards with various sounds and headsets made their appearance to the classroom, the guitars and recorders I feel had to go.


The main reason is the headsets; students can practice without other listening in. They can work on their own pace and they don’t have to listen to others, no one has to know how well they play. Experimentation at its finest. Students love to doodle on the piano.

Digital Notation

Using digital notation, students can input compositions and create a variety of songs.

No problems with making a sound

You don’t have to push yourself through how to blow or how to put your fingers on the fret. You just press down on the note and it works. No fine motor problems like you have with a guitar or recorder.

Piano is cool

I know that some people really like guitars, but once you know how to play the piano, guitar is even easier. I had a student teach himself the piano via youtube, using both hands with harmony. Playing the piano is cool and students love watching a piano student play. They love to play the simple “Heart and Soul” or Jaws.

Cost and tuning

The cost is the same as guitars, and you can do so much more with the keyboard than play, you can compose digitally.

So, I am a traditionalist. Piano is the key to all success in music and music composition.

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3 Comments  comments 

3 Responses

  1. I can’t believe it! Carol calls herself a traditionalist!
    I’ll certainly agree to recorders being headache inducing instruments of torture for families and teachers alike! But they also enable the student to understand what self-guided practice looks like. The recorder is an instrument the kids can take home and practice. I can’t do that with a piano because the kids don’t all have one at home. Now if someone ever finds a way to make a small electric piano that costs $10, I’m buying headphones and canning my recorder unit!

    P.S. I still really hate the math question I have to answer to comment 🙂

  2. I knew I was going to be controversial. I understand that the beginning cost is high and students cannot practice, but I had to say it. Math problem is gone, thanks for reminding me that I had two spam plug-ins on my site. Thanks for taking the other side of the question. That’s why we get along so well.

  3. I agree with Brenda. The piano is great, but the kids cannot practice at home. The recorder teaches tonguing, breath control & phrasing–something that cannot be emphasized on the piano as easily as the recorder. I expose my 5th graders to both the recorder & piano. There are benefits to both, but I feel that the recorder gives a better introduction to wind instruments than the piano.

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