Piano Scales
for Beginners

Learn how to play piano scales in major and minor as well as in other interesting modes! Here is an extensive piano resource with free piano lessons and printable piano scale charts for beginners.

Learning and practicing scales is an important part of learning how to play the piano.

The study of scales will teach you both technique, proper fingering, as well as one of the most important building blocks of a musical composition; the tonality, or Key.

Good news are that the most common scales used for piano playing are actually not that many, and doesn’t take very long to learn either! 

Top Tips to Learn Scales

Learn Piano Scales

When you learn scales, you should teach yourself to play them from memory.

A book with scales and chords is great to have as a reference, but always aim to learn them by heart.


First of all it’s easier! But it is also the best way to really check what you are doing and to pay full attention to how it sounds, feels and looks to play.

How do you learn them by heart? Easy, simply learn how a scale is built, and the logic and music theory behind it will help you to remember them!

Tip: Get yourself a really good piano scale book like: Piano Essentials: Scales, Chords, Arpeggios, and Cadences for the Contemporary Pianist

How to Practice Scales

Starting at a slow tempo and then gradually building up speed is also important.

You will not learn scales faster if you start playing them fast! You need to gradually build up control and balance.

Patience will pay back many times over!

How to Practice Piano Scales

Learn how to use a metronome and check how your speed improves day by day.

Although playing scales is a good idea to do every day as a warm up and technique routine, don't overdo it.

Obviously, just learning scales will not make you a great pianist!  Try to not spend more than about 20% of your practice time for scale practice.

Piano Lessons and Tools: Scales for Beginners

The First Scales

  • The C-major Scale: This is the one most of us learn first. Learn about it here, and some useful exercises, tips and tricks to play it perfectly!

Major and Minor Scales

  • Major Scale Chart: If you don't want notes, here are picture scales with all the major scales plus fingering for each hand. Great tool for visual learners! See below for all the minor scales as well.
  • The 12 Major Scales: I knew you would ask! Here they are, notes with fingering and study guide. Ready to print for free!
  • All Major and Minor Scales: Learn how to study the scales more effectively in different groups regarding similarity and difficulty. Here you will also find ideas on what scales to study in which order.
  • The Minor Scale: Learn about the Natural, Harmonic and Melodic minor scales, as well as  why and how they are different.

Piano Scales Charts

The free printable piano scale charts show you exactly how the scales look like on the piano keyboard. Great for visual learners, and to learn them quickly by heart:

Major Scale Charts

Minor Scale Charts

Modes and Other Interesting Piano Scales


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Piano Quotes

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

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