Scales Finger Numbers

Posted by: ezpiano.org

Scales Finger Numbers - 11/15/12 08:27 PM

Do you have your favorite way to teach scales in correct finger numbers?

I am talking about the most common finger numbers for C Major (2 octaves)

Right Hand: 123-1234-123-12345
Left Hand : 54321-321-4321-321

This finger numbers fit for "a lot of" scales and is the most basic one.

Why is this so hard to teach? I figure that most common mistakes is as above in "bold" numbers.

Do you have any secret that help you to teach only one time then the student get it for the rest of his life?

I even use chart just like the one from Scale BootCamp and some of my students still play wrong every time.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/15/12 09:17 PM

Actually, the sequence is used in all scales, just that you start at different places in the sequence!
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/15/12 09:24 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Actually, the sequence is used in all scales, just that you start at different places in the sequence!

You beat me to the punch!

Some scales also have hands starting at different places in the sequence (e.g., B-flat major scale).

For students who truly struggle at playing scales, I just don't teach them scales with hands playing together. You very rarely find parallel scale passages in music, anyway. R.H. alone scales will suffice.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/16/12 09:24 AM

When trying to coordinate hands together, I will first have students do hands separately for a week, as AZN suggests. But then we will put them together when they can do one hand at a time well.

The trick to it is to say out loud when they do the 3 crossing over/under and the 4 crossing over/under. Ascending, the RH will do the 3 first, then when the LH has to cross over, it will copy the RH and do a 3. Then the RH comes to a 4, followed by LH 4, then RH 3, LH3. On the way down, LH leads with a 3, RH 3, LH 4, RH 4, LH 3, RH 3.

So if they remember the 3-4-3 pattern of the crossing under/over and which hands leads, they will be able to do this much easier and more consistently. They will have to go very slowly at first, and there are places where it's easy to forget to "switch" attention back to the other hand. If this happens they need to go slower to give their mind time to process the switch.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/16/12 11:23 AM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
The trick to it is to say out loud when they do the 3 crossing over/under and the 4 crossing over/under. Ascending, the RH will do the 3 first, then when the LH has to cross over, it will copy the RH and do a 3. Then the RH comes to a 4, followed by LH 4, then RH 3, LH3. On the way down, LH leads with a 3, RH 3, LH 4, RH 4, LH 3, RH 3.



I'm curious as to what value this adds. (skeptical might be a synonym here <g>)

All HS scales can be fingered 1231234 with variation in start point. And occasionally you will find a scale in repertoire, and while it's rare, you might someday use the prescribed fingering for one.

But all HT scales don't have the crossover the same, unless you base fingering choices on it, which means not using basic fingering principles, and HT scales in repertoire with that crossover are nonexistent.

To me it seems to teach a skill you don't want. It is a hand dependency method, rather than a hand coordination method. (not describing that well, I know, but then the whole area is outside my lane anyway)

By the way, is there any reason 1231234 is better than 1234123 for C major? Hee, hee.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/16/12 12:55 PM

Originally Posted By: TimR
By the way, is there any reason 1231234 is better than 1234123 for C major? Hee, hee.

It depends on the context of the music!!

I don't make my students practice scales unless they want to take the CM test, and I teach only those scales on the test. HT scales very rarely occur in actual repertoire (Chopin's Winter Wind Etude and Heroic Polonaise come immediately to mind--but those are just ascending scales).

If I want a kid to work on her runs, I'd pick a sonatina (Kuhlau Op. 55 No. 3 or Op. 20 No. 1).

It is quite possible for kids to learn all the major and minor scales, and then be absolutely clueless as to how to play actual repertoire. I've seen that happen.
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/16/12 01:30 PM

Thank you Morodiene, I will be trying your method and give you some feedback after one month. This is what I got in my cheat sheet:

Ascending
RH 3
LH 3
RH 4
LH 4
RH 3
LH 3

Descending
LH 3
RH 3
LH 4
RH 4
LH 3
RH 3

To other people...To be serious, I do not like scales either. Same as AZN, I don't make my students practice scales unless they want to take the CM test, and I teach only those scales on the test. Why is CM syllabus require students to play things that is not really related to repertoire? I think something should be change so that our kids can apply what they learn right away back into repertoire!
Posted by: kayvee

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/16/12 05:41 PM

I'm not sure how legitimate this is, but my teacher taught us (as a class) the stop-wait method.

You play the scale and when you get to a cross-over/under, you "stop, wait, cross, play" saying those out loud so they are individual beats. Then you try to cut the timing down on each until it is seamless. I think it helped a lot of people because their fingers would adapt to the switch since they are actively thinking about it.

I found doing -- dang, my brain is drawing a blank right now -- scales in mirror pattern (starts with a "c," I'm sure but - why can't I remember the word?!) helped me when transitioning to 2-octave scales.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/16/12 05:44 PM

I do have my students learn scales. One reason is that most of my students come with finger of different lengths and different strengths, so playing adjacent notes evenly, both rhythmically and dynamically, is actually very difficult unless practiced methodically. Once they master the really easy fingering of scales, they can totally focus on sound production. Just my opinion, of course.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/16/12 06:07 PM

Originally Posted By: kayvee
I found doing -- dang, my brain is drawing a blank right now -- scales in mirror pattern (starts with a "c," I'm sure but - why can't I remember the word?!) helped me when transitioning to 2-octave scales.

Contrary motion.
Posted by: kayvee

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/16/12 07:08 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: kayvee
I found doing -- dang, my brain is drawing a blank right now -- scales in mirror pattern (starts with a "c," I'm sure but - why can't I remember the word?!) helped me when transitioning to 2-octave scales.

Contrary motion.
BAM! Thank you smile
Posted by: TimR

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/16/12 10:25 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Once they master the really easy fingering of scales, they can totally focus on sound production. Just my opinion, of course.


Yours and Gieseking's, I think. And mine.

And.....maybe Abby Whiteside......but I've been accused of being a fan.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/17/12 12:57 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Once they master the really easy fingering of scales, they can totally focus on sound production. Just my opinion, of course.


Yours and Gieseking's, I think. And mine.

And.....maybe Abby Whiteside......but I've been accused of being a fan.

Thanks, Tim. I think there are one or two others who share this opinion as well.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/17/12 08:42 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
The trick to it is to say out loud when they do the 3 crossing over/under and the 4 crossing over/under. Ascending, the RH will do the 3 first, then when the LH has to cross over, it will copy the RH and do a 3. Then the RH comes to a 4, followed by LH 4, then RH 3, LH3. On the way down, LH leads with a 3, RH 3, LH 4, RH 4, LH 3, RH 3.



I'm curious as to what value this adds. (skeptical might be a synonym here <g>)

All HS scales can be fingered 1231234 with variation in start point. And occasionally you will find a scale in repertoire, and while it's rare, you might someday use the prescribed fingering for one.

But all HT scales don't have the crossover the same, unless you base fingering choices on it, which means not using basic fingering principles, and HT scales in repertoire with that crossover are nonexistent.

To me it seems to teach a skill you don't want. It is a hand dependency method, rather than a hand coordination method. (not describing that well, I know, but then the whole area is outside my lane anyway)

By the way, is there any reason 1231234 is better than 1234123 for C major? Hee, hee.


I'm not sure I understand what problem you have with this. I find it works well and I do it myself. Since I introduce it going around the circle of 5ths on the sharp side first, I find that it gets reinforced since the exact same fingering and order appears in the first 4 scales. So with the repetition the student gets more skilled at it.

Or do you mean you're not sure of the value of learning scales at all? Here is what I think on that subject:
1) Scales are the building blocks of music. Most things we play as some semblance of some kind of scale in it.
2) Scales make up the key signature, so this helps students learn and remember key signatures
3) Scales help with learning to be consistent with fingering with good, ergonomic fingering principles that can be applied to not only actual scales found in a piece, but any fingering issue
4) Once one has gotten beyond the basics of the fingering principles (or while one is learning them), scales can be used to work on technique, agility, and speed
Posted by: DanS

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/18/12 01:22 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: kayvee
I found doing -- dang, my brain is drawing a blank right now -- scales in mirror pattern (starts with a "c," I'm sure but - why can't I remember the word?!) helped me when transitioning to 2-octave scales.

Contrary motion.


E works nicely in contrary motion too.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/19/12 10:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
The trick to it is to say out loud when they do the 3 crossing over/under and the 4 crossing over/under. Ascending, the RH will do the 3 first, then when the LH has to cross over, it will copy the RH and do a 3. Then the RH comes to a 4, followed by LH 4, then RH 3, LH3. On the way down, LH leads with a 3, RH 3, LH 4, RH 4, LH 3, RH 3.



I'm curious as to what value this adds. (skeptical might be a synonym here <g>)

All HS scales can be fingered 1231234 with variation in start point. And occasionally you will find a scale in repertoire, and while it's rare, you might someday use the prescribed fingering for one.

But all HT scales don't have the crossover the same, unless you base fingering choices on it, which means not using basic fingering principles, and HT scales in repertoire with that crossover are nonexistent.

To me it seems to teach a skill you don't want. It is a hand dependency method, rather than a hand coordination method. (not describing that well, I know, but then the whole area is outside my lane anyway)

By the way, is there any reason 1231234 is better than 1234123 for C major? Hee, hee.


I'm not sure I understand what problem you have with this.


I'm not surprised. I didn't explain well. I'm not sure I can.

Quote:
Or do you mean you're not sure of the value of learning scales at all?


No, I'm not arguing that. I'm arguing that the focus on the crossover fingering is counterproductive. While it's true that somehow the two hands must be coordinated, that coordination takes place with every note combination. Not just on scales, but on every piece with two hands (which for beginners may be two monophonic lines, or melody against chord). The crossover with the HT scale is such a rare event as to be an aberration.

One of our former members here was adamant that scale fingering had to be designed solely for that crossover point rather than for the normal fingering efficiency reasons.

If there is any value to HT scales, and I'm not sure there is, it would be towards coordinating every note combination rather than the crossover. There is a technique for that that helped me when I started.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/19/12 11:15 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
The trick to it is to say out loud when they do the 3 crossing over/under and the 4 crossing over/under. Ascending, the RH will do the 3 first, then when the LH has to cross over, it will copy the RH and do a 3. Then the RH comes to a 4, followed by LH 4, then RH 3, LH3. On the way down, LH leads with a 3, RH 3, LH 4, RH 4, LH 3, RH 3.



I'm curious as to what value this adds. (skeptical might be a synonym here <g>)

All HS scales can be fingered 1231234 with variation in start point. And occasionally you will find a scale in repertoire, and while it's rare, you might someday use the prescribed fingering for one.

But all HT scales don't have the crossover the same, unless you base fingering choices on it, which means not using basic fingering principles, and HT scales in repertoire with that crossover are nonexistent.

To me it seems to teach a skill you don't want. It is a hand dependency method, rather than a hand coordination method. (not describing that well, I know, but then the whole area is outside my lane anyway)

By the way, is there any reason 1231234 is better than 1234123 for C major? Hee, hee.


I'm not sure I understand what problem you have with this.


I'm not surprised. I didn't explain well. I'm not sure I can.

Quote:
Or do you mean you're not sure of the value of learning scales at all?


No, I'm not arguing that. I'm arguing that the focus on the crossover fingering is counterproductive. While it's true that somehow the two hands must be coordinated, that coordination takes place with every note combination. Not just on scales, but on every piece with two hands (which for beginners may be two monophonic lines, or melody against chord). The crossover with the HT scale is such a rare event as to be an aberration.

One of our former members here was adamant that scale fingering had to be designed solely for that crossover point rather than for the normal fingering efficiency reasons.

If there is any value to HT scales, and I'm not sure there is, it would be towards coordinating every note combination rather than the crossover. There is a technique for that that helped me when I started.


I find the value of HT scales in precisely the crossover points: being able to quickly switch between the hands in focus while allowing the other to be on the "backburner" is essential to playing contrapuntal music, IMO. Not just in fingering matters, but also in bringing out inner melodies.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/19/12 01:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
The trick to it is to say out loud when they do the 3 crossing over/under and the 4 crossing over/under. Ascending, the RH will do the 3 first, then when the LH has to cross over, it will copy the RH and do a 3. Then the RH comes to a 4, followed by LH 4, then RH 3, LH3. On the way down, LH leads with a 3, RH 3, LH 4, RH 4, LH 3, RH 3.



I'm curious as to what value this adds. (skeptical might be a synonym here <g>)

All HS scales can be fingered 1231234 with variation in start point. And occasionally you will find a scale in repertoire, and while it's rare, you might someday use the prescribed fingering for one.

But all HT scales don't have the crossover the same, unless you base fingering choices on it, which means not using basic fingering principles, and HT scales in repertoire with that crossover are nonexistent.

To me it seems to teach a skill you don't want. It is a hand dependency method, rather than a hand coordination method. (not describing that well, I know, but then the whole area is outside my lane anyway)

By the way, is there any reason 1231234 is better than 1234123 for C major? Hee, hee.


I'm not sure I understand what problem you have with this.


I'm not surprised. I didn't explain well. I'm not sure I can.

Quote:
Or do you mean you're not sure of the value of learning scales at all?


No, I'm not arguing that. I'm arguing that the focus on the crossover fingering is counterproductive. While it's true that somehow the two hands must be coordinated, that coordination takes place with every note combination. Not just on scales, but on every piece with two hands (which for beginners may be two monophonic lines, or melody against chord). The crossover with the HT scale is such a rare event as to be an aberration.

One of our former members here was adamant that scale fingering had to be designed solely for that crossover point rather than for the normal fingering efficiency reasons.

If there is any value to HT scales, and I'm not sure there is, it would be towards coordinating every note combination rather than the crossover. There is a technique for that that helped me when I started.


I find the value of HT scales in precisely the crossover points:


But..............every note is a crossover point.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Scales Finger Numbers - 11/19/12 07:54 PM

Originally Posted By: TimR


But..............every note is a crossover point.


It's not about the individual fingers so much as it is teaching the brain to separate itself further... or switch gears faster I suppose is a better way to describe it. It's a conceptual learning rather than necessarily exactly mimicking what might happen in a piece of music.

There's also something to be said for doing so over a stretch 2, 3, and 4 octaves. It is not the same to play one octave as it is to play 4, for example. Being able to sustain that kind of focus over 4 octaves is also a skill I insist is necessary to play advance repertoire, even if it doesn't precisely have 4 octaves of parallel scales in it. The skill used for doing the 4 8va scale is the same for any long passage you find in repertoire - hands together or alone.