Reviewing 4 Scales

Reviewing 4 Scales l LadyDpiano

Reviewing Scales

You have probably played, sung, and heard music based on many different scales.

Play the scales below. Listen to their sounds.

I have highlighted the keys visually in green.

Reviewing the Meaning of Half Steps and Whole steps

Play these example on the piano and hear their sounds:

Half Step Examples:

C-C#, E-F, A-Ab, B-C.

Whole Step Examples:

C-D, E-F#, A-G, Bb-C

Major Scales l LadyDpiano

Major Scale
LadyDpiano l Major Scale

Whole step = D-E
Whole step = E-F#
Half step = F#-G
Whole step = G-A
Whole step = A-B
Whole step = B-C#
Half step = C#-D

A fun song in a major key is 'Marching To Pretoria.' Here it is on YouTube.

Minor Scale
LadyDpiano l Minor Scale

W = D-E
1/2 = E-F
W = F-G
W = G-A
1/2 = A-Bb
W = Bb-C
W = C-D

Here's an article on How to play minor piano scales. An example of the minor sound can be heard by Pete Seeger and Ruth Rubin.

Dorian Mode

LadyDpiano l Dorian Mode
W = D-E
1/2 = E-F
W = F-G
W = G-A
W = A-B
1/2 = B-C
W = C-D

A favorite song that captures the Dorian sound is Simon & Garfunkle's Scarborough Fair.

Mixolydian Mode

LadyDpiano l Mixolydian Mode

W = D-E
W = E-F#
1/2 = F#-G
W = G-A
W = A-B
1/2 = B-C
W = C-D

More on out-with-blues-scale-in-with-mixolydian.

A great Irish jig with the Mixolydian sound is The Old Gray Goose.

Scale Assignment l LadyDpiano


  • Build each of the four scales, starting on a pitch other than D, by following the intervallic pattern. 
  • Improvise melodies on each of the four kinds of scales. Compose melodic settings for original poems, using scales.
  • Work with other kinds of pitch organizations.
  • Show increasing ability to identify major, minor, and modal scales (both aurally and visually) and should be able to use them creatively with increasing skill.

I have shared four tips on playing scales in an earlier post that may be helpful to you. This resource can help you understand music theory, 300pg Course Book.

Wishing you all the best!

-- LadyD

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

Back To School Piano Lessons

Make A Wish Jars: LadyDpiano l 88 Keys

Music Goals

Leila came up with a great idea, Make A Wish Jar. Read all about it, Do Simple Better. I created my own approach using her templates and absolutely love the idea. At the beginning of the school year, I usually ask my students make "Time Tunnels." They would write their goals on an index card and place it inside home-made toilet paper tunnels. I really like the new approach of the jars and can't wait to use them! There is a jar for the parents and the students. A win-win situation!

Importance of Praise: LadyDpiano

The Importance of Praise

Sincere praise from the teacher is one of the most motivating factors in teaching piano. Praise often accomplishes more than admonition. Since students learn something new on practically every page of their lesson books, the teacher has the opportunity to remind them that they are constantly making progress. Over at, you will see a plethora of affirmations in this fantastic word cloud!

High and Low Tones l LadyDpiano

High or Low? 

Older students enjoy a sound approach to reading taught by intervals. Second, third, fourth and fifth intervals are discussed within the first few weeks of lessons. Beginner students will figure out the sound of the note you are playing on the piano. As they listen, they will begin to discover if they hear a low note on the low end of the piano or a high note. There are all kinds of animals to use here. I like frogs and bees for listening to the rhythm in this approach.

LadyDpiano: Mr. Frog


For the little ones, I love to trace their hands and ask them to number their piano hands. I am a WunderKeys teacher and with my preschoolers, we use finger puppets and each finger is assigned an animal.

It's fun to play two notes and ask young students to listen carefully. Are the notes same or different?

Also, this would be the time to discuss the music alphabet... starting from A to G. I like to introduce C Position right away but I know many teachers who dive right into Middle C Position. That's good, too. Learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jingle Bells and for sure, Heart and Soul! I like Frogs Wearing Flip Flops by Susan Paradis using the 4th finger on the F note. It helps to strengthen this weak finger.

Books Recommended

A Lesson Book, Theory Book and Recital Book would be a good start. Some enjoy exercise and scale books, too. There are numerous supplemental resources to order online. Here's just a few:

  1. Faber & Faber "PreTime" Series
  2. WunderKeys Piano for Pre-Schoolers
  3. Dozen a Day Preparatory Book

Four Part Curriculum

There's a wonderful website that I recommend for music teachers,

Janice Tuck shares that "We're not teaching music, we're teaching children." She breaks the curriculum down into 4 parts:

Key Concept 1


  • Create, perform and record composition.
  • Demonstrate selected and organized musical ideas for an improvisation, arrangement, or composition to express intent, and explain the connection to purpose and context.


  • Create, perform and record compositions by selecting and organizing sounds, silence, tempo, and volume.

  • Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music.

Key Concept 2


  • Be actively involved in making music. 
  • Perform music, alone or with others, with expression and technical accuracy, and appropriate interpretation.

  • Practice singing, playing instruments and improvising music, using elements of music including rhythm, pitch, dynamics and form in a range of pieces, including in music from the local community.

  • Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control, and expression.

Key Concept 3


  • Listen to detail. 
  • Rehearse to refine technical accuracy and expressive qualities, and address performance challenges.

  • Develop aural skills by exploring, imitating, and recognizing elements of music including dynamics, pitch and rhythm patterns.


  • Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory.

Key Concept 4


  • Listen with intent.
  • Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

  • Identify intended purposes and meanings as they listen to music using the elements of music to make comparisons, starting with Australian music, including music of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

  • Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians.
Meet My Students!

LadyDpiano: Students Collage

LadyDpiano: Student Collage

LadyDpiano: Brothers Taking Piano Lessons

First Week Lesson Plan

Before students get a chance to dive into 'method books'... Well, I like to assign them some simple songs to work on with memory. Kids learn to play Chopsticks, Happy Birthday, Heart and Soul... and of course, the C Major Scale.

Next time, we will discuss the importance of reviewing scales!

This school year I will be working with 12 children, several adults and a few students with special needs. I sincerely wish you a wonderful, successful year ahead with piano learning/teaching!

Be sure and check out these free video lessons and sequence, 4videos.


-- LadyD

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