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#2139790 - 08/27/13 06:30 PM Importance of LH two-octave scale practice?
Brian K. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/07
Posts: 102
I want to incorporate a solid scale practice routine into my daily playing. Up until now, my scale practice was sporadic, and I only stuck to C, G, D, A, and E major in one-octave with both hands. I'm now just starting to expand those scales into 2 - 3 octave runs. However, I've noticed that the LH is significantly different then the RH, especially when you start getting into other scales such as B, F# and the flat key scales. It becomes increasingly more confusing with the LH once you begin to do multi-octave scale runs. Single octave is not such a big deal...

Anyway, my question is two-fold:

1.) How important is it to practice multi-octave scales with the LH, and

2.) What would be a good 10-minute-per-day practice routine for scale practice in general? Is there any good resources that you could point me to, whether it's a free site or a book...doesn't matter.

I just want to get into the habit of running scales in both single and multi octaves, and I want to make sure I'm doing in the best way that will have the best crossover to my playing.

Thanks!
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#2139803 - 08/27/13 06:47 PM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Brian K.]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Canada
Brian,
I've been working my way through the Brown Scale Book for a while now (3 or 4 months?), doing 2 octaves with a 3-chord cadence at the end, hands together, & then triads block & broken. I've done all the majors & am about to start the minors. For the first 6, I've also done HT 2 octaves in contrary motion, & HT a 3rd apart. & I've started to notice how much facility I've gained, especially when block chords occur in pieces I'm learning, & with general understanding of theory. I'm doing this with a teacher; he recommended the book & has been charting my progress through it. The book is arranged more-or-less in the order of the circle of 5ths. For each key, there are 2 pages of exercises, & I've barely scratched the surface. It wasn't an expensive book, & it seems like there's a lot to learn from it.
_________________________
Carol
(Started playing July 2008)


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#2139811 - 08/27/13 06:58 PM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Brian K.]
Brian K. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/07
Posts: 102
So you recommend going that sort of route (a book) as opposed to just simply running scales. I know there is the Alfred book of scales, arpeggios and cadences as well. Maybe it would be the best idea to run one of these books.
_________________________
My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race" and make a living from your passions. I now play guitar for a living at night and learn piano during the day!

http://www.musicianlifestyle.com

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#2139920 - 08/27/13 11:24 PM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Brian K.]
IreneAdler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 120
Loc: Washington
I would say that becoming familiar and then very comfortable with the LH scales is of vital importance as you eventually want your left hand to be as capable as the right hand, and vice a versa if you are left-handed. What my teacher assigned me as soon as I started taking lessons, last year, was to learn four octave scales in all the majors and relative minors as he said this way the only way to know the notes, i.e. to develop a feel for each key. Before I started with my current teacher I could do maybe three scales but now I can play all the majors and minors; now we do scales in contrary motion, what he calls "splitting scales". He was totally right, now I have such a better feel for the notes and my hands are much stronger and far more dexterous. By learning all 48 scales you learn a great deal about each key

I didn't use a method book, all we did was each lesson we would go over the about six scales, major then minor, he would give me the fingering for each hand, then I would try each hand seperately, two octaves, and then very very slowly put the hands together. I love his approach, going as slow as you need to always know where your fingers are going next. What I did on my own was to keep a little book of all the fingering notations, in case I ever forget something I have it all written down. As far as triads we did them at the end of the scale, going from root position, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion and back to root, using the pedal to sustain the chords as you found the next set of notes.

If any particular scale gives you trouble I would just practice it until it becomes second nature, I thought I would never be able to split C minor, with the each hand playing a different fingering, but very slow practice with each hand and then voilà. First step learn to play every scale at steady pace, then you could think about spliting scales, though it is a little bit challenging at first but my teacher was right again you just have to learn to think in two different directions. After you have the normal scales mastered the spliting comes easier, as we have only been working on this type of scales for three months and I have almost got all the scales to spilt, so all the work does pay dividends later on.

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#2139924 - 08/27/13 11:42 PM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Brian K.]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5376
Loc: Philadelphia
My answer to your questions depends on the answer to my first question: why do you want to practice scales?
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2140004 - 08/28/13 02:39 AM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Brian K.]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Brian K.
1.) How important is it to practice multi-octave scales with the LH


It could be very or not at all. Like Derulux asked, it depends entirely on what your purpose for practicing them is.


Originally Posted By: Briak K.
2.) What would be a good 10-minute-per-day practice routine for scale practice in general? Is there any good resources that you could point me to, whether it's a free site or a book...doesn't matter.


For all of the major, minor, arpeggio, and arpeggio inversion fingerings, free pdfs can be found here (just sign-up with a free account first): http://www.pianostreet.com/search/freesheetmusic.php

As for a routine for learning them:

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#2140042 - 08/28/13 04:52 AM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Derulux]
Brian K. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/07
Posts: 102
Hey, thanks a lot for all the resources and suggestions! I am going to start checking those out right now.

Originally Posted By: Derulux
My answer to your questions depends on the answer to my first question: why do you want to practice scales?


To answer this question...well, I really just like playing scales! I play scales ll the time on my guitar, frontwards, backwards, and all mixed up. I guess I just inherently know the importance of playing scales. That's not to mention all that I've read regarding the importance of practicing scales (ear development, finger strength, dexterity, coordination, etc...).

I pretty much just find playing scales themselves rewarding, especially when I do hands together. It's really awesome just watching my fingers move as if they had a mind of their own! However, I've only really "mastered" (and I use the term very loosely) 10 scales, hands together, in just one octave (just C, G, D, A, and, E...both major and minor) I decided that I want to go through and learn all 12 keys, and at least be able to do multi-octaves with my RH, but after reading these replies, I'm just gonna go the full distance and learn both hands, multi-octave...then one day I will dive into contrary motion, thirds, and sixths...

I just love scales! I also love music theory...many times I'd rather just learn and practice theoretical exercises rather then play songs, although I love that too!

Thanks again!
_________________________
My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race" and make a living from your passions. I now play guitar for a living at night and learn piano during the day!

http://www.musicianlifestyle.com

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#2140113 - 08/28/13 08:52 AM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Brian K.]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1828
Loc: south florida
Brian, you've gotten some good advice already. I just wanted to add that you want to eventually get to where you are practicing scales over four octaves, hands together, so you get experience all over the keyboard. Also stressing that the goals should be accuracy and evenness without tension. Speed will come with time.
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#2140249 - 08/28/13 01:10 PM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Brian K.]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5376
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Brian K.
To answer this question...well, I really just like playing scales! ... I pretty much just find playing scales themselves rewarding.... I just love scales!

Then, by all means, play them often! wink

But as far as importance, in this context, there isn't any. You enjoy it; do it.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2140278 - 08/28/13 02:08 PM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Brian K.]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
Thats funny brian. Personally most people hate scales, I enjoy doing them. Not only does it help me with getting my key based geography ingrained. They are the PERFECT way to kill multiple birds with 1 stone... you can work on your touch, you can work on relaxing, all these various things you can incorporate along WITH scale practice. You can do stacaco 1 hand legato another... so many different things you can practice. I almost want to tell my teacher to stop doing hanon and trade it out for scales haha.

Really I think it just comes down to... I really like playing the piano laugh
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"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2140347 - 08/28/13 05:17 PM Re: Importance of LH two-octave scale practice? [Re: Brian K.]
Rik51 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/26/13
Posts: 10
Loc: Dorset, UK
I procrastinated with scales for about three years, but now I have a regime that works for me. I keep an envelope full of small cards, one for each of the major keys. I take out four at random every day I practice, and play both the major and relative minor scales. I'm currently adding in contrary motions to some of them as well. I also play the arpegios for the scales.
This regime means I don't keep playing the same scales everyday, introduces an element of the unknown, (some days are easy CGDA days, some are hard AbEbDbB days.) and over time you do them all!

Rik

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