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#944356 - 07/17/08 08:46 AM How do I get the most out of practicing scales
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
I was never taught the scales and only lately memorized the them because a friend persuaded me of their value. So, what is a good practice regimen for scales? Currently I play them hands together and in octaves. (I practice between 2-3 hours a day, try to do more, and play at about some a grade 8 level but know almost no theory.)
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#944357 - 07/17/08 09:49 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11474
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Which scales are you doing? Generally at this level, I'd say play 4 octaves of every scale (say, all major keys) chromatically. So you'd start doing C major, then C# major, etc. until you get back to C major again. Also, don't forget arpeggios, which you can do in the same fashion. You can also do this with minor scales, though I'd recommend choosing one mode to do all of them in (natural, harmonic, or melodic). You can also practice chromatic scales, whole tone scales (but there are only 2 whole tone scales).
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#944358 - 07/17/08 10:27 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
I read the title of this thread quickly and thought it said "How do I get out of practicing scales?"

What does that say about me?

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#944359 - 07/17/08 11:01 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
What I am about to say will not make sense at first.

Practice all your exercises S-L-O-W-L-Y at 40 on the metronome (2 per click). Velocity will only come when you are completely in control. When playing slow, there will be a tendency to play with tension. Confront the tension immediately...breathe...ensure flexibility in wrist...pre-imagine, produce and evaluate sounds.

Show me an advanced student who is willing to play exercises at or below 40 for two months...and I'll show you a student who will go on to do amazing things at the piano.

Playing this slow gives you time to be thoroughly aware:
1) Start with arm-weight technique (transferring weight from fingertip to fingertip...imagine a line from your elbow joint right over your knuckles to the tip of your finger)
2) when using arm weight, legato is assured, now think more of clarity in tone. Be especially aware with your outside fingers 3-4-5
3) I am assuming that you are practicing chords too? IMHO Broken chords are the best bang for your buck (use finger 4-5 a lot more)
4) Play placing each finger in the EXACT CENTER of each note. Be picky. Brushing up against the side of an adjacent note is considered a fault.
5) play hands separately when you want to concentrate on tone. (most important)
6) Play hands together when you want to concentrate on evenness or work on balance techniques.


Above all...be patient. Focus only on one of the 6 at a time. With every new concept, follow a patient pattern of exaggerating, de-emphasizing, and internalizing. Your concentration will best thrive in the land of the possible. When you have enough time spent on these 6 concepts, write back, and I'll post 6 more.

You will go up and down in ability over the weeks and months. It is like dollar-cost averaging. You put in your $500 each month, and sometimes it goes up an sometimes it goes down. Over the long term, it goes up.

(Although I've stopped looking at my portfolio lately... I can't bear to see how my wealth is evaporating)
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Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944360 - 07/17/08 11:21 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i enjoy practicing them with a metronome in 3/3 time for a change
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love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

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#944361 - 07/17/08 11:28 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
i enjoy practicing them with a metronome in 3/3 time for a change [/b]
Me too...and 2 on 3 is good too. Just remember to start two octaves apart if you are playing 3 in the left hand.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944362 - 07/17/08 11:32 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Pardon - 3/3 time?

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#944363 - 07/17/08 11:35 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I practice my scales in 8th notes, triplets and 16ths ,..four octaves...I apply the same rhythms to the arpeggios and also practice RH/LH scales in octaves and chromatics....I use a metronome but am going to take the advice given and practice more slowly.

There's nothing like playing the piano.

rada

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#944364 - 07/17/08 11:35 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Pardon - 3/3 time? [/b]
She means tripelets I think...
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944365 - 07/17/08 11:44 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Maybe triplets in both hands.

Jeremy, you and John were discussing something about things your respective students do not pay attention to in terms of the sound that is actually produced (listening factor?) Over here you have mentioned goals of tone for separate hands, balance (between left & right?) and evenness (HS and HT) and I guess legato as things to aim for listening-wise. Are there others?

With piano as my second instrument I do not have regular systematic lessons. I've been following the approach of Francis Cooke. He begins with the slow metronome. There are exercises for using the thumb before even starting on scales, and a "radiating" scale where you are crossing over playing the first 2, 3, 4 notes going either direction bringing that movement into the hand. Then each scale goes parallel, contrary, and in thirds and sixths (for opposing hands) both parallel and contrary. The order of scales is roughly circle of fifths since he puts them in the order of the black key groupings that govern fingering. I've gleaned that, but nothing about "quality" such as tone.

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#944366 - 07/17/08 11:50 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by rada:

There's nothing like playing the piano.

rada [/b]
You said it. When you play in complete control, and the sounds that come out of the piano are the sounds that you imagined it is like:

Fresh powder for a skier
Mountain Roads for a sports car
A calm lake for a water skier
A spotless home for a homemaker.

Unlike many other instruments...playing the piano feels very good physically.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944367 - 07/17/08 11:55 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Keystring,

I'd keep using the Cook exercises but

1) Use arm-weight
2) Focus on clarity
3) lead with your elbow (elbows out) on the thumb changes. This allows your thumb to operate on an advantageous plane with a "thumb-beside" movement (difficult to explain over a forum), and evens out the akward up-down-ish movement that is necessary to complete a true "thumb under" movement.
4) Play slow
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944368 - 07/17/08 03:54 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
I'm not convinced of the value of scale
practice. At one time I used to practice
all of them, maj. and the 3 types of min.,
in all keys. But currently I only
do C maj. and only a few repetitions.

I see several problems with extensive
scale practice. First, scales take a lot
of energy to play well, which leaves less
energy for your repertoire and other work,
and repertoire work is the most important
thing for an amateur classical player.
Next, I've come to believe that too much
scale practice might actually be bad
for you, because in real music your
fingers and ears--out of habit from extensive
scale playing--will tend to reach for the
next scale tone, but you don't run across
scales that much in real music, so what your
finger and ear reaches for will be a wrong
note.

Also, I don't see the fundamental benefit
of scales for training the ear for the
different keys. This is best learned on
the job, so to speak. Mindless scale playing
in order to gain understanding and
familiarity with all the keys is only going to
train you to reach for wrong notes, in my
view. I've come to see scales as primarily
a physical exercise in crossing fingers,
which is an important technique in playing.
And since the finger crossing motion is
similar in all scales, the argument could
be made that you could get by with playing
only one, and since C maj. is the most
difficult, it would make sense to practice
it only.

And I've come to believe that the playing
of scales in diatonic (not chromatic)
intervals of thirds, fourths, fifths,
sixths, and sevenths is much more beneficial
technically and should be done at the
expense of regular scales.

Also, I've found that the sight-reading of
material much above your level--for
example, say, 1-3 pages of a big Romantic
Era concerto movement--is very
beneficial, but this needs to be done
at the start of the practice session when
you're still fresh in order to benefit from
it, and so scale work at the start of
practice needs to be minimized in order that
you don't exhaust yourself early.

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#944369 - 07/17/08 07:38 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
I'm not convinced of the value of scale
practice. At one time I used to practice
all of them, maj. and the 3 types of min.,
in all keys. But currently I only
do C maj. and only a few repetitions.

I see several problems with extensive
scale practice. First, scales take a lot
of energy to play well, which leaves less
energy for your repertoire and other work,
and repertoire work is the most important
thing for an amateur classical player.
Next, I've come to believe that too much
scale practice might actually be bad
for you, because in real music your
fingers and ears--out of habit from extensive
scale playing--will tend to reach for the
next scale tone, but you don't run across
scales that much in real music, so what your
finger and ear reaches for will be a wrong
note.

Also, I don't see the fundamental benefit
of scales for training the ear for the
different keys. This is best learned on
the job, so to speak. Mindless scale playing
in order to gain understanding and
familiarity with all the keys is only going to
train you to reach for wrong notes, in my
view. I've come to see scales as primarily
a physical exercise in crossing fingers,
which is an important technique in playing.
And since the finger crossing motion is
similar in all scales, the argument could
be made that you could get by with playing
only one, and since C maj. is the most
difficult, it would make sense to practice
it only.

And I've come to believe that the playing
of scales in diatonic (not chromatic)
intervals of thirds, fourths, fifths,
sixths, and sevenths is much more beneficial
technically and should be done at the
expense of regular scales.

Also, I've found that the sight-reading of
material much above your level--for
example, say, 1-3 pages of a big Romantic
Era concerto movement--is very
beneficial, but this needs to be done
at the start of the practice session when
you're still fresh in order to benefit from
it, and so scale work at the start of
practice needs to be minimized in order that
you don't exhaust yourself early. [/b]
1) If scales are taking a lot of physical energy, then there is a good chance that you have tension in your playing. Many students tense their extensor muscles unknowingly while playing scales. Anyone who finds it physically exhausting needs to break down the movement, confront their tension, and rebuild their scale playing free of tension. You, Gyro have made a very good argument FOR PRACTICING SCALES.

2) Is repertoire the most important thing for an amateur pianist? Maybe for a recreational pianist. The original poster is clearly trying to take their playing to the next level.

3) I do not share your experience that scale playing causes one to reach for the wrong note. If anything, Scales Chords, and arpeggios provide a visual framework for each key. When in the confines of a key, Scales, especially formula patterns help the pianist develop a sixth sense for the shapes that are felt in keys. For students that have trouble in fugues, the first step is mastering the formula pattern.

4) Mindless scale playing will do much worse things than merely lead you to the wrong notes

5) I come closest to agreeing with your "C major is the only necessary scale" comment. That is something worth considering from a technique standpoint, but not from a keyboard harmony standpoint.

6) Sight reading very difficult music is great for when you don't care about rhythm in sight reading. Not caring about rhythm in sight reading is like not caring when your paycheck envelope comes to you empty. It misses the whole point.

7) Please explain what you mean by "scales in diatonic intervals" I'm curious...it sounds neat.


Gyro...I enjoy your contrarian views on this forum, they make me think.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944370 - 07/18/08 01:24 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5423
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoexcellence:
7) Please explain what you mean by "scales in diatonic intervals" I'm curious...it sounds neat. [/b]
I think he's trying to describe hands playing different scales simultaneously. For example, R.H. plays C major scale while L.H. plays phrygian mode starting on E. Hands stay a 6th apart the entire time.

There may be some value to this type of scale practice (there is an example of this at the end of Chopin's Ballade No. 1), but the problem is there are so many different permutations of keys and intervals.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#944371 - 07/18/08 01:44 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Pianoexcellence, my current practice routine
consists of a brief warmup with scales,
arpeggios, intervalic scales, and a short
jazz arrangement that I keep ready in
case I'd ever be called on to play something.
The emphasis is on brevity, because the
next thing is sight-reading of a few
pages of a big Romantic Era concerto movement,
which takes a huge amount of energy and requires
that I still be fresh when playing it.

It's then right into repertoire. The first
piece of which is the Chopin A min. mazurka,
the difficult one with the r.h. triplets.
I play it one time through only. This is
a concert pianist-level piece--one of the
most difficult pieces in the repertoire
to play well, in my opinion--but I'm not
a concert pianist-level player, and one time
through is all I can manage without frying
my nerves and burning myself out. And
it's not simply a case of me being "too
tense" when I play; you can't simply relax
and expect to play something difficult like
this if you're an amateur of below average
ability.

It's then into the major piece in my
repertoire work, a big-time Romantic
Era concerto movement, one of the most
difficult in the repertoire, in my opinion.
I play it through one time only, as fast
as I can; I've now got it up to about 3/4
speed or better--unbelievable for an inept,
run-of-the-mill amateur like myself. One
time through is all I can manage without
burning myself out. After that one time
through I'm nearly spent and have precious
little left for the rest of practice. Thus,
I can't even do extra work on the most
difficult sections of it; one time through
at maximum speed is all that I can do with
it--I'm relying on one repetition per day
like this over time to work it up to speed.

The next piece is the first of the Trois
Nouvelles Etudes. At this point I'm
tired and I'll do one page of it, one time
through only. I've been working on this
for more than ten years, and I now have
it more or less up to speed and memorized,
but it's still a work in progress. Then
the next piece is the Butterfly Etude,
one page, time through only.

At this point I may play the first of the
Trois Nouvelle Etudes all the way through
from memory, one time only; I have no
energy for anything more than that.

Now I'm ready to call it quits,
and anything further is of a supplementary
nature, because I can only just barely
plod through anything now. Currently I
do one page of the Chopin No. 3 Ballade,
a piece that I've worked on in the past
and have familiarity with, and the op. 30
no. 2 mazurka, all the way through one time
only. Then I might do some brief jazz
work.

That's the end of practice, and I can
barely move now. I'm working on concert
pianist-level repertoire, without concert
pianist-level talent or training (I have below
average talent and I had low-quality instruction
as a child), and so I've taken myself to the
limits of my physical capabilities without
actually frying my nerves and completely burning
myself out. Sometimes I have to skip the
next day's practice because I'm too beaten
up by the previous day's work.

Thus, for an amateur like myself energy
expenditure is critical, and scales have
low priority in my practice routine; I
keep them to a bare minimum in order to
save the energy for repertoire work. This
is not a case of me being "too tense" when
playing so that I use up too much energy
in "the tension." You can't work on difficult
pieces like this, with below average ability,
by simply relaxing your hands on the keys.
You've got to work long and hard on them.
When you've got them all polished up and
memorized, then you can "relax" when
playing them, because you've done the
hard work necessary to build mammoth
amount of (piano-type) strength to play
them "relaxed."

Diatonic (not chromatic) intervallic scales
I consider to be the single most beneficial
technical exercise at the keyboard. The
journals and biographies of Beethoven
and Chopin seem to suggest that they played
them regularly--this apparently was the
fundamental technical exercise at the
keyboard in the old days. When playing
diatonic interval scales, you use only
the notes contained in the scale. So
C maj. in diatonic thirds is: CE DF
EG FA GB AC BD CE. A chromatic-type
scale in thirds starting with CE would
use non-scale tones: CE C#E# DF# D#G, etc.
I consider chromatic interval scales
as a trendy modern device of little technical
merit.

When playing diatonic interval scales,
you play CE with the r.h., like a two-note
chord, at the same time that you play CE
with the l.h. an octave lower. Then
DF with the r.h. and DF with the l.h.,
etc. So you're playing a series of two-
note chords with both hands in a scale-like
fashion.

C maj. in diatonic fourths is: CF DG, etc.
Diatonic fifths: CG DA, etc. Sixths:
CA DB, etc. Sevenths: CB DC, etc.
Sixths and sevenths are especially beneficial
because the large stretch forces you to
employ fingers 4 and 5 to a large extent,
fingers that, together with the thumb,
are the weakest in the hand and need
more work, but are rarely given a meaningful
workout in the usual technical studies.

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#944372 - 07/18/08 01:54 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
For example, R.H. plays C major scale while L.H. plays phrygian mode starting on E. Hands stay a 6th apart the entire time.
AZN, I'm always trying to learn. I know what you mean by Phrygian mode, that when you play from E to E on the white keys the resulting intervals gives you a Phrygian mode scale. Is this also an alternate way of describing this kind of interval between two same scales, which I've known as being a sixth apart? Is "sixth apart" incorrect when there are separate hands, or just another way of saying it?

Were it to be the alternate, right hand starting on C and left hand starting on A, in your system would you call that Aeolean in the left, Ionian in the right, instead of a third apart in separate hands?

Sorry for being OT. You've piqued my interest.

KS

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#944373 - 07/19/08 03:52 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
Matt H Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/07
Posts: 170
Loc: Indiana
pianoexcellence,

I've been trying out your suggestions. It's a lot harder than it sounds. Playing evenly in tempo at 40 bpm is difficult. Hard for me to really internalize a beat that slow. I'm playing quarter notes. Is that what you are recommending? You said 2 per click. Does that mean eighth notes at 40?

Can you explain what you mean by "clarity"? My interpretation is that you mean to be sure to bring both hands down at the same time.

Thanks.

Matt

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#944374 - 07/21/08 09:17 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Thank you all and particularly Pianoexcellence. I started your program this morning.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#944375 - 07/22/08 06:12 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
I'm not convinced of the value of scale
practice. [/b]
All of my students who practice scales and play them well are able to make a much better job of their repertoire. In all my years of teaching I have never known this not to be the case.

If I were to sum up how to get the best out of scale practice it would be to listen carefully as you practice them.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#944376 - 07/22/08 06:25 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
I'm not convinced of the value of scale
practice. [/b]
All of my students who practice scales and play them well are able to make a much better job of their repertoire. In all my years of teaching I have never known this not to be the case.

If I were to sum up how to get the best out of scale practice it would be to listen carefully as you practice them. [/b]
Great advice. I might also add that it would be helpful to play all the scales, not just C Major ;\) and to learn the arpeggios and chord cadences in their various inversions at the same time.

Something that helped me too beyond careful listening was going from one to four octaves while accenting each, the second, the third or the fourth note. Also, playing the chord cadences while emphasizing certain notes (voicing the chords)

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#944377 - 07/22/08 09:15 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11474
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Scales are extremely important for several reasons:

1) They help with being able to play in any key

2) They assist with dexterity and evenness when encountering scales within a piece

3) They help with learning proper fingering, or figuring out fingering alternatives that are efficient

4) They help with understanding the harmonic structure upon which our tonal system is based by understanding the sale degrees and their function (if even on a subconscious level)

5) They assist with harmonic analysis, especially in regards to determining minor keys by having played harmonic and melodic minor scales and knowing the rules of creating them

I'm sure there are more benefits than I've listed here, but these should be more than enough reason to do them. Also, I do recommend chord cadences and arpeggios with scales as part of a routine.
_________________________
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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#944378 - 07/22/08 09:22 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoexcellence:

3) lead with your elbow (elbows out) on the thumb changes.
Never stick your elbows out! You lead with your fingertips ALWAYS.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944379 - 07/22/08 09:27 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
For example, R.H. plays C major scale while L.H. plays phrygian mode starting on E. Hands stay a 6th apart the entire time.
AZN, Is "sixth apart" incorrect when there are separate hands, or just another way of saying it?
[/b]
They are called scales in thirds and scales in sixths and are a requirement for the higher grade exams.
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#944380 - 07/22/08 09:27 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
John v.d.Brook Online   content
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Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Two different schools of technique - one school teaches the arm leads the hand, in effect, pulling the hand across the keyboard. Elbows would be slightly out in this case.

KBK, my first teacher taught me the fingers leading, elbows remaining at side, technique. As a teacher, I've had to learn both.
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#944381 - 07/22/08 09:32 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Aha John, but what do you teach?
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#944382 - 07/22/08 09:41 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
For example, R.H. plays C major scale while L.H. plays phrygian mode starting on E. Hands stay a 6th apart the entire time.
AZN, Is "sixth apart" incorrect when there are separate hands, or just another way of saying it?
[/b]
They are called scales in thirds and scales in sixths and are a requirement for the higher grade exams. [/b]
I, too, know them as scales in thirds and scales and sixths. There must have been a reason, or different perspective, in calling one hand Phrygian (with the other being Ionian, of course). They are, in fact, that as well. If there is a shifted perspective (modal thinking? jazz thinking? other?) it would be interesting to have that insight.

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#944383 - 07/22/08 09:53 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Loc: Canada
Elbows: the part that confused me was that the elbows were supposed to fix an up-down motion of the hand. I don't have such a motion, and I don't know how one would end up with such a motion that would require fixing.

What I have extrapolated is that if one were to have a relatively immobile thumb, the hand would have to tip the thumb into position - instead the elbow could twist the thumb into position by giving the hand a small pivot.

John: I'm extrapolating again - Assuming the thumb is doing what it should, one could feel the motion of the hand moving over as beginning in the hand with the forearm and elbow moving with it. Or one could feel that the arm transports the hand into the new position, carrying along the hand. Would this be the gist of these two schools?

Pianoexcellence, I have not thanked you for your advice. I had asked what sound one might be after and similar things - the metaphor about skiing and water skiing etc. which you posted to Rada was of that ilk. Generally speaking I avoid physical advice on playing, especially if a teacher cannot see me, and feel most comfortable dealing with such things in the live presence of a teacher. Even if it is good advice there is no guarantee that I will interpret it correctly, nor is there anyone to see and then correct me.

While exploring your idea I did discover things in my hand I found disturbing, having recorded it via webcam and could even make a significant correction. At least I became aware of a few things - so thank you.

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#944384 - 07/22/08 09:53 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
A major scale in sixths is just that, regardless of what you may be thinking at the time.
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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944385 - 07/22/08 09:59 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
What I learned about playing a scale is this:

C major: Hand spans 5 notes. Fingers resting on keys. RH: As soon as 2 is played, thumb shoots over to F under the 4th finger, moving from deepest joint by the hand. Thumb plays F, and a millisecond *afterward* the hand moves in position so that the 5 fingers are spanning F to C. In a sense, the thumb has opened from its "under" position, or the hand is moving from across that same joint. The fingers settle into position and 2 plays a millisecond later, then the other fingers. The moment that 2 has played, the thumb scoots the greater distance of a 4th, over the C. Flexibility in the thumb is needed.

When I was taught this, I was told that there is a feeling to the hand as though the thumb were almost perpetually underneath. Unfortunately it was not in person.

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