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b scale first #1932721
07/26/12 01:35 PM
07/26/12 01:35 PM
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writebynight Offline OP
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Chopin taught his students B scale first because he felt this scale was easiest as it fit the fingers more evenly. Would any teacher here use this approach?


Working on Lead Me On by Maxine Nightingale.
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Re: b scale first [Re: writebynight] #1932759
07/26/12 02:59 PM
07/26/12 02:59 PM
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I have tried it before. It certainly does help create a nice hand position. The only part that I struggle with is rote/theoretical. I like to strike a good balance in my teaching. Starting with B+ lends itself to learning scales (or at least this one) by rote. So then, when does one fill in that gap?


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Re: b scale first [Re: emilypianist89] #1932778
07/26/12 03:39 PM
07/26/12 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by emilypianist89
So then, when does one fill in that gap?


My teacher starts with the scale in b - and I do not understand why this should hinder a theoretical approach. He explains first the structure of major scales, than he gives some exercises for this "thumb-under-thing" (sorry, I don't know the English term) and then when he feels the student is ready he teaches first the b scale for the right hand and the d flat (c sharp) scale for the left hand.


Re: b scale first [Re: writebynight] #1932786
07/26/12 04:09 PM
07/26/12 04:09 PM
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Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted by writebynight
Chopin taught his students B scale first because he felt this scale was easiest as it fit the fingers more evenly. Would any teacher here use this approach?

Yes.

B first for RH, start going DOWN.
Db first in LH, start going UP.


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Re: b scale first [Re: Gary D.] #1932789
07/26/12 04:29 PM
07/26/12 04:29 PM
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writebynight Offline OP
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Db and b together . Intertesting . Reasons why?


Working on Lead Me On by Maxine Nightingale.
Re: b scale first [Re: writebynight] #1932814
07/26/12 05:47 PM
07/26/12 05:47 PM
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Gary D. Offline
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First, stop typing b. It is B. You MUST capitalize letters. b is flat! wink

Db puts thumbs in both hands on C and F. RH must cross from Eb to F and Bb to C, longer distance.

But LH crosses from F to Gb and C to Db. 3rd and 4th fingers are inside and elevated for cross.

Righties should START with LH FIRST, separate.

And they should start LH ascending, natural direction of movement but RH DESCENDING, also natural direction of movement.

HOWEVER: for beginning students, starting with B or Db is impractical for those learning to read, since those scales will not be used for some time. C scale will be used IMMEDIATELY in most books that are teaching reading. So C scale is practical for playing.

B and Db is practical for teaching how the hand would like to MOVE. smile

Last edited by Gary D.; 07/26/12 05:48 PM.

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Re: b scale first [Re: writebynight] #1933035
07/27/12 07:37 AM
07/27/12 07:37 AM
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Melbourne, Australia
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Theme&Variations Offline
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I tried this out on a student today, it was fun and worked well. smile


Private piano teacher since 2003
Member:
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KMEIA (Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia).
Re: b scale first [Re: writebynight] #1933152
07/27/12 01:07 PM
07/27/12 01:07 PM
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bzpiano Offline
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I like to teach B Major Scales to students as the very first scales that they learn. I would first ask them to stick out finger 2 and 3 of each hand and play those two black keys. Then ask them to stick out finger 2, 3, and 4 to play three black keys. Then I ask them to play "B" with their thumbs, two black keys at the same time, then "E" with thumb, then three black keys at the same time. After couples time of playing in block for the black keys, then I ask them to play one by one, then they are playing B Major Scales!


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Re: b scale first [Re: writebynight] #1933163
07/27/12 01:41 PM
07/27/12 01:41 PM
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boston north
lilylady Offline
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As I have mentioned before -

I first teach the scales with all 5 black keys. Rote

They FIT the hand more naturally and expose students to incorporating the black keys into their thinking/feeling/playing. Music is not written in all white keys!

Didn't realize Chopin did this also.

Guess I am in good company! <G>


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: b scale first [Re: writebynight] #1933168
07/27/12 01:50 PM
07/27/12 01:50 PM
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Minniemay Offline
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I call them the VW scales as fingers 2-3 make the letter V and 2-3-4 make the letter W. I often teach these first because I'm not after them as a part of reading, but of technique. They can master B, Db and F# quite easily and have no fear of scales. For me, starting with C (which, in my opinion, is the most difficult to play well), just seems to take longer for the student to learn and then they have a negative attitude about scales.

But that's just me.


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Re: b scale first [Re: Minniemay] #1933181
07/27/12 02:13 PM
07/27/12 02:13 PM
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boston north
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
I call them the VW scales as fingers 2-3 make the letter V and 2-3-4 make the letter W. I often teach these first because I'm not after them as a part of reading, but of technique. They can master B, Db and F# quite easily and have no fear of scales. For me, starting with C (which, in my opinion, is the most difficult to play well), just seems to take longer for the student to learn and then they have a negative attitude about scales.

But that's just me.


Odd that I call it the C# scale. Wonder where that is coming from?

I think Db would be easier!!! (oh, that is reading, huh?)


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: b scale first [Re: Minniemay] #1933230
07/27/12 03:26 PM
07/27/12 03:26 PM
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writebynight Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
I call them the VW scales as fingers 2-3 make the letter V and 2-3-4 make the letter W. I often teach these first because I'm not after them as a part of reading, but of technique. They can master B, Db and F# quite easily and have no fear of scales. For me, starting with C (which, in my opinion, is the most difficult to play well), just seems to take longer for the student to learn and then they have a negative attitude about scales.

But that's just me.


What I've found is that the C major is obviously easy to recognize but not that easy to play "smoothly". My middle finger and index don't have much room with the black keys above and sometimes bump into my thumb esp when I play C backward from right to left. I eventually get it but I have more fun with B, Db, and even E scale.


Working on Lead Me On by Maxine Nightingale.
Re: b scale first [Re: writebynight] #1933241
07/27/12 03:55 PM
07/27/12 03:55 PM
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Minniemay Offline
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When playing a scale with few black keys, make an extra effort to play more on the corner of the thumb. Very little of the thumb should actually contact the key.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
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Re: b scale first [Re: Minniemay] #1933248
07/27/12 04:07 PM
07/27/12 04:07 PM
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writebynight Offline OP
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Yes! That's what I eventually got. (Cant afford a teacher so had to learn thru trial and error.) But yes, as my grammar school music teacher once said "The piano keys never move so don't blame them".


Working on Lead Me On by Maxine Nightingale.
Re: b scale first [Re: Minniemay] #1933314
07/27/12 06:18 PM
07/27/12 06:18 PM
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Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
When playing a scale with few black keys, make an extra effort to play more on the corner of the thumb. Very little of the thumb should actually contact the key.

For me the trick is to play using the thumb as close to the edge of the key as practical, then angle the hand so that 4th finger plays as close as possible to black keys for B, 3rd as close to black keys as possible for E. Play inward, RH desending, LH ascending, carefully observing angle of hand, wrist, forearm and elbow to keys, don't let elbow move out to the side for thumb turn then back in. That's where students get nasty bumps in their scales. Leaning to both sides is critical (necessary when playing scales several octaves), and great care should be taken with beginners to get the exact right alignment - and transfer students, who almost always are using hands in a very awkward way that defeats their using scales effortlessly in music.


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Re: b scale first [Re: writebynight] #1933904
07/29/12 12:27 AM
07/29/12 12:27 AM
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Canada
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LadyChen Offline
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I also like to teach Db major scale early on, because it shows the pattern of where to use 2-3 and were to use 2-3-4 so clearly. But I can definitely see GaryD's point that the RH has a big thumb cross distance in this scale -- I've never thought about that before. I like the idea of using B major for the RH.

For myself, C major and A minor melodic (descending) are the most difficult scales to play quickly, simply because there are no landmarks for fingering.

Re: b scale first [Re: Gary D.] #1933943
07/29/12 03:07 AM
07/29/12 03:07 AM
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Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
transfer students, who almost always are using hands in a very awkward way that defeats their using scales effortlessly in music.

That's why I don't advocate learning so many scales at an early level. Most kids I get play scales way, way wrong: wrong notes, bad fingering, inconsistent fingering, STUPID fingering, unnecessary accents, accents falling on the wrong beats, hands not playing exactly together, flat fingers (!?), poor hand shape, and blinding speed with no regards to tone or musicality.

And I have actually gotten a transfer student who could play all the major and minor scales, but can't get beyond Clementi Op. 36 No. 1 in repertoire! Hello!? Playing scales does not equal making music.


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Re: b scale first [Re: AZNpiano] #1934207
07/29/12 02:41 PM
07/29/12 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

That's why I don't advocate learning so many scales at an early level. Most kids I get play scales way, way wrong: wrong notes, bad fingering, inconsistent fingering, STUPID fingering, unnecessary accents, accents falling on the wrong beats, hands not playing exactly together, flat fingers (!?), poor hand shape, and blinding speed with no regards to tone or musicality.

I won't allow hands together i scales untl both hands are as close to perfect in my eyes (and ears) as they can be.

I'm not after speed. I'm after all the things you just talked about seeing done wrong. To me the number one thing in scales is to make a whole series of notes sound as though we have 88 fingers. It's our job as teachers to create an illusion, several illusions in fact. Then we show our students how we make something that seems difficul to them seem so easy, smooth, effortless. Drilling scales also takes time, so I want to make sure I am only drilling one at a time and that it gets done exactly right.

I'm still rethinking the best way to go about it, but I know that listening to 12 of them, even just majors, is not the way to get what I want. The practice needs to be systematic, efficient, and it needs to be interesting. Making a science out of HOW to play scales can change them from something that feels like a punishmnet to something that is fascinating.


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Re: b scale first [Re: Gary D.] #1934306
07/29/12 06:14 PM
07/29/12 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano

That's why I don't advocate learning so many scales at an early level. Most kids I get play scales way, way wrong: wrong notes, bad fingering, inconsistent fingering, STUPID fingering, unnecessary accents, accents falling on the wrong beats, hands not playing exactly together, flat fingers (!?), poor hand shape, and blinding speed with no regards to tone or musicality.

I won't allow hands together i scales untl both hands are as close to perfect in my eyes (and ears) as they can be.



You and Gieseking. His book says that scales should be played with absolute precision in both timing and tone, and that in attempting to do so the student learns to listen. He believed learning to listen was one of the most important yet underappreciated skills. He would not allow hands together scales because a beginner could not listen to both.


gotta go practice
Re: b scale first [Re: Gary D.] #1934324
07/29/12 07:03 PM
07/29/12 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
It's our job as teachers to create an illusion, several illusions in fact. Then we show our students how we make something that seems difficul to them seem so easy, smooth, effortless.


This.

But I already know my teacher can play, I want him to teacher to teach me create this effect! (much more difficult, to my way of thinking!)


Learner
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