Four Tips on Playing Scales

Piano Scale Fingering


I wrote an article on Four Tips To Playing Scales.

Maybe you feel this way. You see, one of my piano students was practicing a difficult scale. She was missing a certain key or playing the wrong one every single time.

To fix this, she decided to put a piece of sticky note on the key that she was missing. This helped her hand learn the pattern of the scale.

When you're playing a musical phrase, you should end with a soft note for a gentle, rounded ending. Sometimes a note is played with the first finger (the thumb). The problem is that the thumb strikes the key sideways and may come down with a heavy touch. You have to be careful to set it down gently  and still play a soft note. You don't have to do anything special to avoid a clunky thumb - just think about it and have your ears tuned to the delicate sound you want to hear at the end of a line.

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Here's My Article:

Playing scales is a good thing for developing technique. I am not saying that one should sit down at the piano and practice scales and exercises for hours to obtain results. That would be so boring but if you look at these points, you will acquire a great technique in just a few weeks.

1. Scales train the fingers so that they do their work evenly and smoothly.

Playing scales is a good thing for developing technique. I am not saying that one should sit down at the piano and practice scales and exercises for hours to obtain results. If you look at these points, you will acquire a great technique in just a few weeks. Scales train the fingers so that they do their work evenly and smoothly.
Every tone of a scale must be played with effort, energy and enthusiasm. The ear that is listening carefully is trained to hear the exact volume of sound. Having an accurate knowledge of the notes in the scale and using the correct fingering, that is, the use of the thumbs and the third and fourth fingers, will help you play it from memory.

2. When playing scales, each hand will practice alone.

What happens is that if you don't take the time to practice the hands separately then the right hand will drown out the left hand (or vice versa). Pay attention to the rhythm of playing a scale. Start with the C major scale. Later on with time and much practice, learn the variations of sixths, thirds, and contrary motions.

3. The tones of the scale must be played with equality of strength.

When using the thumb, there must be extra pressure and with the second and third fingers there will be a certain amount of restraint but then you will continue with your fourth and fifth fingers with added strength as you press down the keys.
It seems that most folks have trouble with their thumb in playing scales. Often the thumb strikes the keys too faintly, so you'll want to strike the key from above in a downward move. Practice five tones ascending and descending very slowly at first. Most importantly, pay careful attention to the rhythm and touch of every tone while bending the thumb and going under the third finger.

4. Be attentive to the movement of your muscles.

A great difficulty when playing scales is the passing over and under of the fingers. You will want to roll the lower arm by a side movement of your hand over the keyboard. It's easy to do but it will be difficult to do when your hand is bent sideways.

You should feel very relaxed when playing scales. Your piano playing will become smooth and rippling. When both hands are combined, you'll be hearing the tones of the two hands more equally.
If you review these points, keeping watch over both your hands and practice scales a short time every day, in a few weeks you will acquire a great technique to help you play scales in a much better way.



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Also, Hear and Play offers a course on finger exercises, called Hanon Exercises

All the best,






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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