Why Is Middle C So Important?
Why is Middle C so important? Because it is the center of a kid’s musical universe. To them, a page of notes is a sea of ants with no rhyme or reason. And the piano keyboard is another mystery to them.
Look at the drawing above. Kids are expected to find some relationship between the two vastly different graphic systems (the notes on the five lines of the staff, above, vs. the keys on the piano, below.)
They barely look at the black keys. You have to get them to look closely at the keys.
Home Base, The On Button
Middle C is important because it is the center of the musical universe for kids. Kids need this center, this reference point to navigate the difficulties of sheet music. Home base.
Above is a five lined “staff” with the note Middle C. Teach the child to be an observer of the staff.
- How many lines are there?
- Point to a space.
- Point to a line.
- Note that Middle C is on its own, little line.
Lines And Spaces
The objective of I CAN READ MUSIC is to get the child to distinguish between Middle C and notes that are on lines or spaces, as in the drawing below:
Now take a page of music and ask if notes are on one of three choices:
- The note is on their own little line (Middle C)
- On a space (in between the lines)
- On a line.
Part of the importance of Middle C is that kids seem to calculate other notes in relation to the “home base” of Middle C.
Numbering The Keys
Going back to numbers, we place the number 1 on the same key as Middle C. This is because, numbers or notes, Middle C is still the center of the universe.
To begin the process of finding Middle C, look through the page below and find all the Middle C’s you can. I run my index finger under the line of notes, and have the child ring a library bell when they see a Middle C.
Find the middle C's above.
In terms of reading music, don’t proceed further until the child unfailingly grasps the idea and look of Middle C. A prepared child is ready to understand new methods.