The status of class piano instruction in the public secondary schools of Florida

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Music Education

First Committee Member

J. David Boyle - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to investigate the status of class piano instruction in the public secondary schools of Florida. A questionnaire prepared by the investigator was used to solicit information about (a) teacher preparation and training, (b) curricular philosophies, goals, and objectives, (c) student scheduling and enrollment practices, (d) equipment, materials, and (e) instructional techniques and methods.Data for the study were based on a sample of 49 secondary schools, including nine middle or junior highs and 40 senior high schools out of a population of 125 secondary schools which offered class piano during the 1987-1988 academic year.Results revealed that few teachers had either pre-service or in-service preparation specifically for teaching class piano. Furthermore, most senior high class piano teachers had little class piano teaching experience.The data revealed philosophical conflicts concerning the primary instructional mode for class piano and whether the purposes of class piano instruction should be the development of keyboard technique or general musicianship. Senior high school enrollment levels were somewhat lower than middle/junior high schools.Teachers reported that no state adopted textbooks were available; however, 48 different textbook sources were used for instruction. The most commonly used textbooks were The Bastien Piano Series (Kjos Publishing), and The Basic Adult Piano Series (Kjos Publishing), The Basic Adult Piano Series (Alfred Publishing) and The Modern Course for the Piano (Willis Publishing). Many teachers adapted individual piano materials for group piano instruction; many also spent the majority of their instructional time working with individual students.Most teachers cited equipment maintenance and replacement, inadequate budgets, unacceptable class sizes, inadequate leveling of student enrollment, and lack of materials as predominant problems.Recommended further research includes (a) an experimental study to examine the effects of various methods of class piano instruction, (b) a longitudinal study to investigate the effect of approaches emphasizing technical exercises or general musicianship development, (c) an in-depth descriptive study to examine the preparation of class piano teachers, (d) a descriptive study every three to five years duplicating the parameters of this study, and (e) an experimental study to compare the achievement of piano students who use the three most popular piano series as revealed by this study.


Music; Education, Music

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