Playing piano scales is made easier with some clever strategies! Did you think C major was the easiest scale? Then you're in for a surprise! Learn how to practice piano scales in this tutorial directed to adult beginners.
The technique of playing scales is simpler than you may think. Basically, we play patterns of three plus four notes up and down the piano. But connecting these two patterns is where one of the difficulties lay.
Your thumb needs to move under the palm of your hand (thumb under movement) as smoothly as possible, and your wrist and arm should stay in a relaxed and balanced position moving along horizontally (not up and down).
Another challenge is that all fingers are not alike. If you look at your hand stretched out in front of you, you’ll notice how all fingers are of different length and thickness. You also know that some fingers are easier to use than others.
Part of this problem is solved if you learn how to keep your
hand in a rounded or «cupped» position, like holding a ball. The first thing
you’ll notice is when the hand is in a rounded position, all fingers line up to
an equal length!
Placing your hand in this position on a table, you should also notice that the three middle fingers are standing on the tips, your little fingers a tiny bit to the outer side of the tip, and the thumbs on the sides.
This «perfect hand position» gives you the possibility to use each finger with its ultimate strength and flexibility. It is also the most correct for piano playing and especially important when playing scales for an even sound and smooth playing.
You also need to sit with the correct posture, have a perfect hand posture and keep a fluid, lateral arm movement without any unnecessary movements, so that you can control the sound and evenness of your playing.
The best way to start practicing scales is by playing the black keys. Yes, really!
Scales are played with finger groups of 3 and 4 fingers,
using finger 1 for transition from one group to the next, and finger 5 only for
stopping or turning. So, a very easy way to begin is with the black keys that are already organized i 2 and 3 note groups!
Have fun, but remember to keep your hand «cupped» and in the correct position, and to play on your fingertips.
Now practice the patterns you learned in 3 different major
scales, B, Db (or C#) and Gb (or F#) major. They all use all five black keys. Practice to play the scales all over the piano, both up and down:
Hah! You thought you should start playing piano scales with C major, didn’t you? C major may be easier to read, but the scales you just learned are actually easier to play technically!