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scales are a struggle
#2363597 12/19/14 06:33 PM
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OK this is weird. I can play a tune by ear, even work out the left hand myself which I did with Silent Night. But when it comes to scales my fingers are all over the place! CMajor should be a breeze, the fingering I know, but my fingers get the crossing point wrong. Especially when coming down. I know that fingering goes 1,2,3,5,1,2,3 but putting that into practice isn't so straight forward! And then I go to D, oiy! I can muddle through all the scales, but it's only right hand for now. If I try both hands its a car crash.
And yet give me a tune and I'll play it! Weird.
I think the problem is twofold.
Lack of discipline over all these years with no formal training.
And lack of practice time now.

But I must get through it, or I'll never be able to play properly.
Oh hum...


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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363599 12/19/14 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryShone
I know that fingering goes 1,2,3,5,1,2,3 but putting that into practice isn't so straight forward!


Was that a typo? Fingering C major: 1,2,3,1,2,3,4,5 (back) 4,3,2,1,3,2,1

major scales w fingering (these are longer runs)

Last edited by Jytte; 12/19/14 06:40 PM.

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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363610 12/19/14 07:04 PM
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"Lack of practice time" -- that would do it!

To get the scales "under your fingers" -- so that you can play them without thinking about "what's the next note?" -- takes hours of repetition. You can learn the patterns in your head, easily. Getting them learned by your _muscles_ is a lot slower.

Because there are no black keys to locate the pattern, and no "easy" turnovers, C major is one of the most difficult scales. And (because the turnovers are easy), C# major (= D-flat major) is probably the easiest.

. Charles


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Re: scales are a struggle
Charles Cohen #2363621 12/19/14 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
"Lack of practice time" -- that would do it!

To get the scales "under your fingers" -- so that you can play them without thinking about "what's the next note?" -- takes hours of repetition. You can learn the patterns in your head, easily. Getting them learned by your _muscles_ is a lot slower.

Because there are no black keys to locate the pattern, and no "easy" turnovers, C major is one of the most difficult scales. And (because the turnovers are easy), C# major (= D-flat major) is probably the easiest.

. Charles

CM is the easiest one. I can get that down easy compared to D or B!


If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

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Re: scales are a struggle
Jytte #2363626 12/19/14 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jytte
Originally Posted by LarryShone
I know that fingering goes 1,2,3,5,1,2,3 but putting that into practice isn't so straight forward!


Was that a typo? Fingering C major: 1,2,3,1,2,3,4,5 (back) 4,3,2,1,3,2,1

major scales w fingering (these are longer runs)


Indeed a typo, my bad

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If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363628 12/19/14 07:30 PM
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F is particularly tricky, the tuck from finger 3 to 1 on F# is a stretch!


If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Currently on Barratt Classic Piano Course book 1

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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363638 12/19/14 07:43 PM
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I think this problem will be more common than you think, hence why many people say c major is the hardest scale. My goal for 2014 was to learn all major and harmonic scales in four octaves. While some scales were straight forward I had to play others at an incredibly slow pace, constantly pausing to check fingering and always thinking, "how hard can scales be - everyone does them". Six months ago I was spending an hour and a half on twelve scales while today I have that down to twenty or so minutes, the key was simply daily perseverance.

I also take a really long term view of scales, after all if this is my lifetime hobby I should be practicing scales for the rest of my piano playing days. So small improvement is all that is needed and of course that is just dedicating practice time, even if it is just ten minutes a day. I also found I needed to be in the right head space for scales and at the right point in my piano journey. I learned some scales in my first year but I did not make a serious effort at them until eighteen months in. At this point I think I had improved my skills just enough with keyboard topography, sight reading, though processing, finger maturity, etc, to attempt what is a difficult task.

Stick with it though because the results are fantastic. I love being able to play scales without fear (all those sharps and flats) and to hear a continuing improvement.


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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363655 12/19/14 08:21 PM
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But CM isnt a hard scale, its the simplest because you just play all white keys! When i was a kid i always played tunes in C. Lazy habit.


If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Currently on Barratt Classic Piano Course book 1

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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363658 12/19/14 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryShone

CM is the easiest one. I can get that down easy compared to D or B!


Chopin taught his students scales starting from B and saved C as one of the last scales.

B fits under the right hand REALLY well. Your long fingers always play the black notes and your short fingers always play the white notes.

For a 2 octave under the right hand, you'll put your thumb on B and E, finishing with your pinky on the top B. 2, 3, and 4 always play black notes.


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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363663 12/19/14 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryShone
F is particularly tricky, the tuck from finger 3 to 1 on F# is a stretch!


Well, if you are doing that ... No wonder it is difficult.

For the F scale the fingering is 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4


Don

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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363691 12/19/14 10:57 PM
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And no F# in the F major scale either.

Sounds like you need to slow way down until you find a speed where you can play it 100% accurately every time.
Even if at the beginning you have to stop in between notes long enough to say out loud "D, finger 2," then play the note.
Things like this seem irritatingly, unproductively slow... but result in much faster progress than many mistaken attempts.

And double check the source material you're using for scale notes and fingerings -- you need something trustworthy.


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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363768 12/20/14 05:53 AM
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I think Ill get a scales book


If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Currently on Barratt Classic Piano Course book 1

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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363771 12/20/14 06:07 AM
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I second the "play the scales very slowly until learned" advice, and using a reliable source for fingering. If you play them too fast with errors, they take a very long time to get right. (speaking from personal experience) wink. Slow and accurate wins the race. Accuracy means the right notes, the right fingering, and the right articulation and shaping. As someone said above, it takes hours and hours, but I think it does pay off.

Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363802 12/20/14 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryShone
I think Ill get a scales book


Good idea!

Give "scale practice" a place in your practice regime -- don't let it take over your life. You'll improve.

. Charles


. Charles
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Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363810 12/20/14 09:15 AM
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Larry,

Here's a book possibility for scales: Penelope Roskell's "The Art of Fingering."

http://www.peneloperoskell.co.uk/apf/default.html

Another is Rami Bar-Niv's "The Art of Piano Fingering" (yes, .. w/same title)–http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1479285277

Here's an excellent "how-to-play-scales" video Hugh Sung posted in another PW discussion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKtnqreM3bg

Hope these are helpful ...

Re: scales are a struggle
LarryShone #2363817 12/20/14 10:03 AM
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At that level I'd suggest to go through preparatory exercises to get the passage of the thumb smooth and not with a heavy accent any time the thumb hit the keyboard.
I use a little more expanded version of what Hung Sung suggest.. maybe is good to fit in the middle.

Something like this.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/26411862/Scales_Prep%20Exercises.pdf

keep going starting from any note of the scale (in this case C major)... it's written only starting from C and D... you need to keep going all the way up to B. and It's only for the right hand... follow the example and keep going with the left hand too.

Slow and accurate is the key. Strong accents where marked, no accents in the crescendo/diminuendo part.


Get a good book of scales to get the right fingering for each scale.
change key daily. This exercise shouldn't take more than 10 minutes every day to do the whole sequence both hands.

Re: scales are a struggle
Ataru074 #2363818 12/20/14 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Ataru074



Get a good book of scales to get the right fingering for each scale.
change key daily. This exercise shouldn't take more than 10 minutes every day to do the whole sequence both hands.

You mean do one key one day (C), another the next day? I just did scales in all keys one after another trying to use the same fingering for each one (12312345)
Problem is I can't practice every day. In fact weeks could go by without me being able to play. Luckily I have a natural musical ear.

Last edited by LarryShone; 12/20/14 10:20 AM.

If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Currently on Barratt Classic Piano Course book 1

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Re: scales are a struggle
Mark Polishook #2363821 12/20/14 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Polishook
Larry,

Here's a book possibility for scales: Penelope Roskell's "The Art of Fingering."

http://www.peneloperoskell.co.uk/apf/default.html

Another is Rami Bar-Niv's "The Art of Piano Fingering" (yes, .. w/same title)–http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1479285277

Here's an excellent "how-to-play-scales" video Hugh Sung posted in another PW discussion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKtnqreM3bg

Hope these are helpful ...

Thanks Polishook. Db major eh!


If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Currently on Barratt Classic Piano Course book 1

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Re: scales are a struggle
Whizbang #2363830 12/20/14 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Whizbang
[quote=LarryShone]
Chopin taught his students scales starting from B and saved C as one of the last scales.

B fits under the right hand REALLY well. Your long fingers always play the black notes and your short fingers always play the white notes.


While that(B) is certainly true for RH, not so much for LH laugh


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Re: scales are a struggle
Jytte #2363832 12/20/14 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Jytte
Originally Posted by Whizbang
[quote=LarryShone]
Chopin taught his students scales starting from B and saved C as one of the last scales.

B fits under the right hand REALLY well. Your long fingers always play the black notes and your short fingers always play the white notes.


While that(B) is certainly true for RH, not so much for LH laugh

It does apply also to LH.

The B major scale is played on LH starting with the fourth finger (4-3-2-1-4-3-2-1 and then 3-2-1-4-3-2-1, and so on).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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