Why Middle C Position is Superior for Beginners

Middle C is my position of choice for beginners. (Exception: adults who already read treble clef a little bit, perhaps as a result of playing another instrument, such as clarinet or trumpet.)

It fosters physical stability. The student's arms are kept close to the body.

It reinforces that the treble and bass staves are extensions of each other. This eventually facilitates reading of ledger line notes above the bass and below the treble staves.

It emphasizes the "place specific" layout of notation and the piano keyboard, as it allows only one note of a specific letter name at a time: "If it's a b, it's gotta be right here and no place else." When the student reaches LH f and RH g, he is well capable of accepting that there are more than one of each letter name on the keyboard. For the rank beginner, however, having just one location for each letter makes matters much easier and promote confidence.

Most important, it promotes true note-reading. The student doesn't think, "This is G position. Which finger do I start with?" He thinks, "This is a D in bass clef. The music goes up immediately, so I shouldn't use finger one."

copyright 1966, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
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