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#441766 - 10/28/07 11:06 AM Scales.
Mr. Virtuoso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 20
Loc: meh humps
Hello! I'm mainly studying techinque and theory. Recently, my teacher recommends that I practice the scales in wide-keys (C maj, C min, D maj, D min, E maj, E min, F maj, F min, G maj, G min, A maj, A min, B maj, B min, C maj, and so on).

I was wondering, how should I learn/practice scales? I know I shouldn't play them with my fingers at HIGH position nor TOO low position. How should I master those scales cleanly with moderate/fast speed? Thanks!

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#441767 - 10/28/07 11:20 AM Re: Scales.
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
When I first learn a scale, I play HS one octave. When I get more comforatble I'll use HT for just one octave. After that feel's comfortable I'll move to 2 octaves with sixteenth notes and triplets. You can also to thirds, sixths, octaves, and contrary motion which helps alot!

Matt

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#441768 - 10/28/07 11:27 AM Re: Scales.
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17844
Loc: Victoria, BC
I recommend practicing scales with a metronome - because that's what I do - and starting as slowly as you are comfortable with. Fingers should not be held high above the keys, but rather close to - if not touching - the keys.

One of the most important aspects of practicing scales is to listen to what you are playing; scales should be clean, even and legato, for a start. You can change touch (detached, staccato) after you master the scale initially. Once you are comfortable with a certain tempo, increase the tempo by increasing the speed on the metronome, one "notch" at a time. Don't be in too much of a hurry to increase your speed as accuracy and evenness may suffer.

What do you mean by "wide keys"?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#441769 - 10/28/07 11:37 AM Re: Scales.
Mr. Virtuoso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 20
Loc: meh humps
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
I recommend practicing scales with a metronome - because that's what I do - and starting as slowly as you are comfortable with. Fingers should not be held high above the keys, but rather close to - if not touching - the keys.

One of the most important aspects of practicing scales is to listen to what you are playing; scales should be clean, even and legato, for a start. You can change touch (detached, staccato) after you master the scale initially. Once you are comfortable with a certain tempo, increase the tempo by increasing the speed on the metronome, one "notch" at a time. Don't be in too much of a hurry to increase your speed as accuracy and evenness may suffer.

What do you mean by "wide keys"?

Regards, [/b]
Well, my teacher gave the term practicing 'wide-key' scales, which means to practice the scales in the keys of C, D, E, F, G, A, and B (major and minor are additional).

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#441770 - 10/28/07 11:43 AM Re: Scales.
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
Do what BruceD said.

Start as slow as it takes to get them *perfect*, and ramp up the speed slowly. Don't increase until you can play at whatever tempo you're doing a few times in a row.
_________________________
Practice makes permanent - Perfect practice makes perfect.

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#441771 - 10/28/07 11:44 AM Re: Scales.
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
I'm still not sure what you mean by "wide-key". Scales starting on a white key?

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#441772 - 10/28/07 11:54 AM Re: Scales.
Mr. Virtuoso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 20
Loc: meh humps
 Quote:
Originally posted by Debussy20:
I'm still not sure what you mean by "wide-key". Scales starting on a white key? [/b]
Hmmm, I didn't know if my teacher meant 'wide-keys' or 'white-keys'. Sorry, I think I could've went with term 'white-key'.

But, anyway, you're right. They're scales meant to be played only starting on a white key (no accidentals).

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#441773 - 10/28/07 12:02 PM Re: Scales.
Mr. Virtuoso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 20
Loc: meh humps
BTW, this may seem a little obvious but does your 4th and 5th finger (pinky) affect how you learn/practice scales?

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#441774 - 10/29/07 02:16 PM Re: Scales.
Kevin88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 77
I was always taught to practice scales with a metronome - 1 octave in quarter notes, two octaves in eighth notes, three octaves in thirds and four octaves in sixteenths, always paying strict attention to evenness. I recently started playing all scales every day (rotating through the circle of fifths starting on C Major and ending with e minor). This has helped a lot, since scales are grouped into similar forms when you play them through in order (C-a-F-d-Bb-g-Eb-c etc.)

It's also important to focus on evenness of tone between the left and right hand.

Once you master the basics of a scale, it then becomes important to practice it in different ways - crescendos, decrescendos, accels, decels, etc. Most often, when a scale appears im a piece of music, it is accompanied by certain dynamics and so it's important to practice them this way.

Just my 2 cents.

Kevin

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#441775 - 11/01/07 09:10 AM Re: Scales.
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11445
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Virtuoso:
BTW, this may seem a little obvious but does your 4th and 5th finger (pinky) affect how you learn/practice scales? [/b]
No, it doesn't affect *how* you practice your scales. They are 'weaker' fingers, however, and by tha tI mean they are not able to move independently as the other fingers and thumb can. The most important part of practicing scales is to make sure you are playing evenly (playing with the metronome can help this, but it's not necessary, imo) and consistently with the correct fingering. Starting hands separately doing one octave is the best, and then do one octave hands together when that is comfortable. I usually assign one scale a week for my beginning students so they can really focus on getting everything correct before moving on to another scale.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#441776 - 11/01/07 12:48 PM Re: Scales.
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Mr. Virtuoso,

I think your teacher is asking you to play the major scales with "WHITE key starts" of which there are 7 letter names A-G. Then there are 5 BLACK key starts, all together 12 scales within an octave.

Do you know the tetrachord + tetrachord formula for creating a major scale. That is quite important to know "what" you are doing and how to create your own major scales from any given note.

Then there is being able to follow the Circle of 5ths progression as it is a relationship of adding one new # or one new b in order. # keys are on the right (clockwise) from C at the top, and b keys are on the left (counterclockwise) from C at the top. There are certain scales at the bottom which has 2 spellings in #'s and in b's. They sound the same, play the same notes, same fingering, but they are named differently. (Enharmonics)

I would first recommend that you have learned the 12 5-Finger Positions (the first 5 degrees of the major scale)BEFORE starting the major scale. Many people bypass this very important step.

(You had said "wide" keys in your posting above, and I wondered it that was a misunderstanding on your part, or a typo.)

(I also don't understand your question about 4th and 5th fingering.) I have some documents about fingering too, that would help you. You see there are certain "rules" we can depend on - knowing them can make your journey on the piano much easier.

Please feel free to PM me. I have a lot of "tricks" up my sleeves as I've been teaching piano for 37 years.

Betty

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#441777 - 11/01/07 05:27 PM Re: Scales.
Aviator1010110 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 134
Loc: United States
I would recommend what BruceD said PLUS this:

Practice in rhythms as well. Play the scales at a moderate tempo as sixteenth notes in groups of four. Pause on the first sixteenth of each group. Then the second, third, and fourth. This will clean them up in no time.

Ex. Pause on the first C Maj.
Ta.....TaTaTaTa.....TaTaTaTa
C......D.E.F.G......A.B.C.D

Second
TaTa.....TaTaTaTa.....TaTaTaTa
C.D......E.F.G.A......B.C.D.E

Third
TaTaTa.....TaTaTaTa.....TaTaTaTa etc...
C.D.E......F.G.A.B......C.D.E.F
_________________________
Technical skills should never come before artistry. I think of technical ability as a necessary tool for extracting a truly moving performance from a sensitive interpretation. -Aviator1010110

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#441778 - 11/01/07 06:03 PM Re: Scales.
crazypianolover Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 10
I recently started college which means I changed piano teachers. My new teacher has me practice two scales a week. She has me practice a major scale and its relative minor scale, like C major and A minor. This helps me learn the scales easier because I can relate the key of the major scale to its relative minor scale. I also practice my scales with a metronome starting slowly and then gently increasing the speed. I rarely spend more than 15 minutes on my scales a day because then I become frustrated with them. I don't know how much time you spend on your scales but 15 minutes seems to work for me.

Hope this helps.

crazypianolover

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#441779 - 11/02/07 03:04 PM Re: Scales.
Mr. Virtuoso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 20
Loc: meh humps
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Virtuoso:
BTW, this may seem a little obvious but does your 4th and 5th finger (pinky) affect how you learn/practice scales? [/b]
No, it doesn't affect *how* you practice your scales. They are 'weaker' fingers, however, and by tha tI mean they are not able to move independently as the other fingers and thumb can. The most important part of practicing scales is to make sure you are playing evenly (playing with the metronome can help this, but it's not necessary, imo) and consistently with the correct fingering. Starting hands separately doing one octave is the best, and then do one octave hands together when that is comfortable. I usually assign one scale a week for my beginning students so they can really focus on getting everything correct before moving on to another scale. [/b]
That's a good start.

And as far as the metronome, I have a Casio digital keyboard with an 'optional' metronome. But for my acoustic piano, I don't have one yet. However, I'm planning to get one though.

Would it be a disadvantage if you DON'T have a metronome with your acoustic piano?

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#441780 - 11/02/07 05:12 PM Re: Scales.
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
FINGERING “RULES - Betty Patnude
"Piano Power"

I hope this explanation stay formated here! If not, it can be e-mailed to your home as an attachment if you will provide your e-mail address to me by private message at PWF.

GROUPS OF KEYS
1) 2 BLACK KEYS and 3 WHITE KEYS
C-D-E
RH 1-2-3

2) 3 BLACK KEYS and 4 WHITE KEYS
F-G-A-B
RH 1-2-3-4

RH 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5 (5 is the "Brake”)
C-D-E-E-F-A-B-C
LH 5-4-3-2-1-3-2-1 (1 is the "Brake")


5 FINGER POSITIONS (Comes prior to Major Scale)
RH Fingering 1 2 3 4 5
C D E F G
LH Fingering 5 4 3 2 1


C MAJOR SCALE ONE OCTAVE
RH Fingering 1 2 3 x1 2 3 4 5
LH Fingering 5 4 3 2 1 x3 2 1
1) Contrary Motion from Middle C
2) Parallel Motion in Parallel C
Play ascending and descending One Octave
Ascending, continue playing for two or more octaves by not using the RH 5 until completed. Then descend.

BLACK KEY FINGERING
2 BLACK KEYS 3 BLACK KEYS
RH 2 3 RH 2 3 4
U U U U U
LH 3 2 4 3 2


CHROMATIC SCALE FINGERING
Black notes are finger 3
White notes are finger 1
Adjacent white notes need finger 2 (“Bridging”)

There are only two possible starts for the MIRRORED CHROMATIC SCALE.
1) Play in Contrary Motion from Middle D
2) Play in Contrary Motion from Ab

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#441781 - 11/02/07 06:32 PM Re: Scales.
Mr. Virtuoso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 20
Loc: meh humps
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
FINGERING “RULES - Betty Patnude
"Piano Power"

I hope this explanation stay formated here! If not, it can be e-mailed to your home as an attachment if you will provide your e-mail address to me by private message at PWF.

GROUPS OF KEYS
1) 2 BLACK KEYS and 3 WHITE KEYS
C-D-E
RH 1-2-3

2) 3 BLACK KEYS and 4 WHITE KEYS
F-G-A-B
RH 1-2-3-4

RH 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5 (5 is the "Brake”)
C-D-E-E-F-A-B-C
LH 5-4-3-2-1-3-2-1 (1 is the "Brake")


5 FINGER POSITIONS (Comes prior to Major Scale)
RH Fingering 1 2 3 4 5
C D E F G
LH Fingering 5 4 3 2 1


C MAJOR SCALE ONE OCTAVE
RH Fingering 1 2 3 x1 2 3 4 5
LH Fingering 5 4 3 2 1 x3 2 1
1) Contrary Motion from Middle C
2) Parallel Motion in Parallel C
Play ascending and descending One Octave
Ascending, continue playing for two or more octaves by not using the RH 5 until completed. Then descend.

BLACK KEY FINGERING
2 BLACK KEYS 3 BLACK KEYS
RH 2 3 RH 2 3 4
U U U U U
LH 3 2 4 3 2


CHROMATIC SCALE FINGERING
Black notes are finger 3
White notes are finger 1
Adjacent white notes need finger 2 (“Bridging”)

There are only two possible starts for the MIRRORED CHROMATIC SCALE.
1) Play in Contrary Motion from Middle D
2) Play in Contrary Motion from Ab [/b]
That's a pretty good start!

However, I just wanted to know how I move my fingers (not too high nor too low I presume) when I play scales.

Should I keep a flat wrist for the most part or should I keep a curved wrist for the most part as well when learning scales?

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#441782 - 11/11/07 11:46 AM Re: Scales.
Mr. Virtuoso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 20
Loc: meh humps
Thanks everyone, BTW! \:\)

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#441783 - 11/11/07 06:57 PM Re: Scales.
Aviator1010110 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 134
Loc: United States
Keep your wrist straight but loose. It should not arch up/down or side to side for scales.

As far as finger height: Do what feels natural. I wouldn't worry too much about this unless you find yourself exaggerating finger movements. Just make sure you don't have "flying pinky syndrome" (When not in use your pinky shouldn't rise high off the keys).
_________________________
Technical skills should never come before artistry. I think of technical ability as a necessary tool for extracting a truly moving performance from a sensitive interpretation. -Aviator1010110

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