### What is 'positional' vs 'interval' vs 'landmark' approaches

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I'm a beginner, beginner so pls pardon my ignorance:

What are the differences (pros and cons) between these different teaching methods: 'positional', 'interval', 'landmark'?

Right now my 6 yr old, who JUST started lessons, places her fingers (right hand) on middle C position before she starts playing her little simple song by reading the notes. Is this bad? Is this considered 'positional'? Is this considered 'learning via middle C'?

What is 'interval'? What is 'landmark'?

If this is how her current teacher teaches, should we find another teacher?

-- b pat (ec111@hotmail.com), October 28, 2003

Regarding positional playing, most piano books use this to some extent, and is quite common in the beginning. I do think it's important for the hands to play in *different* positions, so the student doesn't pick up the false notion that middle C always equals RH1, E equals RH3, etc. The only time positional playing produces this problem, in my opinion, is if the student plays ONLY in one position for week after week after week, and then has a hard time starting on other notes. Interval playing is generally tied in with landmark approach; ie the landmark lines of treble G, middle C, and bass F are thoroughly mastered, then other notes are played in relation to these. For example, the student sees a note on the space above Treble G; even if she doesn't instantly recall the *name* of that note, she knows that it is simply one note higher than G, which has been thoroughly drilled. Interval playing includes a lot of noticing when notes "step" or "skip" (also called 2nd and 3rd intervals), and the student plays thinking more of the pattern of ups and downs by these intervals (larger intervals usually come later) rather than thinking of every single note letter. Of course, all the note letters do eventually need to be learned well, but pianists do not think them in their head as they play (because with later music, there may be 8 or even more notes being played at one time, and the pianist couldn't possibly think all those letters, but we do see the intervals, that is the distance, from one note to the others).

Regarding "should we find another teacher?", I don't think what you've described warrants that. You do seem to have various concerns about him/her, so I'm curious how you chose this teacher? Are you also learning piano, as you describe yourself as a beginner? Annie

-- annie (no_name_poster@yahoo.com), October 28, 2003.

First, let me thank you for the explanation to my question regarding ‘positional’, landmark and interval.

Second, my motivation for asking this particular question was NOT to question "does my daughter's teacher know what she's doing?" I read these terms somewhere in this forum and truly did not know what the difference was and am trying to understand as much as I can about what should go into a good learning foundation.

Now...as an aside... as a parent who does not play piano and who is trying to get a piano teacher for a beginner child, I do not think it inappropriate at all to ask questions regarding what to look for. How else would one be able to access whether one teacher is ‘the best’ teacher for the child. In my opinion, it is best to access this as early as possible so that no bad habits are formed. One can only do this by asking questions to educate yourself. Asking questions of ‘strangers’ in a public chat forum is NOT at all ‘ talking behind her back and showing disrespect’ – quite the contrary. If I wanted to show disrespect, I would ask such questions to people she knew. I chose not to do this.

This forum (and any forum) is full of messages regarding individual’s personal situation. I would hope that anyone could feel free to ask whatever question they desire. With all due respect, I think we should not be so quick to judge the ‘motive’ behind a question and also perhaps not try so hard to ‘read into’ who it may be who’s posing the question. Just take it at face value and choose to answer or not.

-- b pat (ec111@hotmail.com), October 28, 2003.