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Scale Practice - Intermediate #2813050
02/10/19 11:04 AM
02/10/19 11:04 AM
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I have just completed learning major and minor scales in all 12 keys (4 octaves, HT) - now I have to figure out a way to incorporate them into a useful but not overwhelming practice routine. My plan is to do all 12 sets on the weekends, and try to cycle them on weekdays.

For the weekdays, I was considering maj, followed by its parallel minors (N,H, and M). However, does it make more sense to do the relative minor rather than the parallel minor; ie stick to one key signature?

I then hope to follow this with arpeggios (major scale then major arpeggio, three minor scale variations followed by minor arpeggio). Then either IV-V7-I and / or ii-V-I in Major key.

I was thinking one or two keys per day for a 6-12 day cycle. Do you think this is a good idea or any other suggestion? And is it best to use parallel or relative minor in such a practice? Should I add in 7th chords or 7th arpeggios?

I do not feel ready for scales in 3rds or 6ths, etc, and think I can learn more from the cadences given time constraints. I also have considered working broken chords into this regimen in some way, and diminished chords. I also played with the Russian pattern a little but stopped due to time limitations. The amount of things I can add is limitless.

I am posting this here as I do believe ppl here must have more experience with this than the typical ABF viewer; my goal is to continue to progress through the intermediate level. Oddly, my teachers over the years never seem to have much to say about my scale practice, so I’m losing these questions to the forum.


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Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813057
02/10/19 11:14 AM
02/10/19 11:14 AM
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Another question - does it make sense to follow along with notation when practicing scales? I have them memorized, and never have really use the sheet for this purpose, but wonder if that’s important for familiarity of reading them in passages.


Steinway A3
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Chopin 28:15
Tchaikovsky Seasons: October

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Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813073
02/10/19 12:09 PM
02/10/19 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
I have just completed learning major and minor scales in all 12 keys (4 octaves, HT) - now I have to figure out a way to incorporate them into a useful but not overwhelming practice routine ... The amount of things I can add is limitless.

Congrats that's a nice milestone to reach. I think once you have the plain vanilla scales/chords under your belt, it's good to start figuring out how to practice them musically; preferably by using the musical structures and ideas from your repertoire (like rhythms, articulations, cadences, progressions, phrases etc.). As you pointed out - the things you can practice with scales/chords are limitless, I find it's easier and effective just to incorporate them with the repertoire you're working on. Though I admit to going off on a technique tangent for several days in a row - just because I found something interesting I wanted to explore.

* For me 'plain old vanilla' scales are parallel/contrary in the grand form; plus different fundamental rhythms in each hand (e.g. quarter notes in one hand, eighth notes in the other)

Re: Relative Major/Minor
I did go through a phase where I found this useful to explore for a few weeks. Until it started to become second nature, then I put it away. My default pattern nowadays is to do everything round the Circle of Fifths - occasionally doing things chromatically.

Originally Posted by cmb13
... does it make sense to follow along with notation when practicing scales?

Yes, I found it useful to do this "mindfully" until I reached a point where I knew the notation like the back of my hand. Meaning I could call up the image of the notation as easily as I could play it.


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Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813090
02/10/19 01:14 PM
02/10/19 01:14 PM
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This thread is IMO another example of overthinking. It's of minor importance which scales you practice on which days. Of very significant importance is knowing the correct technique/ideas for playing the scales and practicing them in an appropriate way for your current skill level.

Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813107
02/10/19 02:32 PM
02/10/19 02:32 PM
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You might arrange your scales/arpeggios in parallel with your current pieces.

Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: Groove On] #2813112
02/10/19 02:51 PM
02/10/19 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Groove On
Congrats that's a nice milestone to reach. I think once you have the plain vanilla scales/chords under your belt, it's good to start figuring out how to practice them musically

+1. Don't get caught in a mindless mechanistic practice routine, it's all useless without musicality.

Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: Hakki] #2813129
02/10/19 03:41 PM
02/10/19 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
You might arrange your scales/arpeggios in parallel with your current pieces.

I find this quite helpful - to play a scale and arpeggio sometimes when I have moved to another key - not every time, just to 'refresh' things. A number of times I've started a piece without really noticing the key signature (yes, not good!) and if I've been playing a number of pieces in the same key (or close keys) the results can be catastrophic.
I used to try to incorporate them in a warm-up routine, but there are so many of them it could take all day. Will watch this thread for ideas...


regards
Pete
Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: Groove On] #2813161
02/10/19 05:14 PM
02/10/19 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Groove On

Congrats that's a nice milestone to reach. I think once you have the plain vanilla scales/chords under your belt, it's good to start figuring out how to practice them musically; preferably by using the musical structures and ideas from your repertoire (like rhythms, articulations, cadences, progressions, phrases etc.). As you pointed out - the things you can practice with scales/chords are limitless, I find it's easier and effective just to incorporate them with the repertoire you're working on. Though I admit to going off on a technique tangent for several days in a row - just because I found something interesting I wanted to explore.

* For me 'plain old vanilla' scales are parallel/contrary in the grand form; plus different fundamental rhythms in each hand (e.g. quarter notes in one hand, eighth notes in the other)

Re: Relative Major/Minor
I did go through a phase where I found this useful to explore for a few weeks. Until it started to become second nature, then I put it away. My default pattern nowadays is to do everything round the Circle of Fifths - occasionally doing things chromatically.

Originally Posted by cmb13
... does it make sense to follow along with notation when practicing scales?

Yes, I found it useful to do this "mindfully" until I reached a point where I knew the notation like the back of my hand. Meaning I could call up the image of the notation as easily as I could play it.



Thanks....very helpful. I alternate between circle of fifths and chromatically .... typically one method on Sat, one on Sun. I should work on improving musicality though. I'm not yet ready for the rhythm patterns (eg one hand quarter, one eight notes).

I did work a little on dim7 and dom7 today.

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

+1. Don't get caught in a mindless mechanistic practice routine, it's all useless without musicality.



Good point...now that I have the notes down, I guess it's time to make them sound good!

Last edited by cmb13; 02/10/19 05:20 PM.

Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin 28:15
Tchaikovsky Seasons: October

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: pianoloverus] #2813162
02/10/19 05:16 PM
02/10/19 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
This thread is IMO another example of overthinking. It's of minor importance which scales you practice on which days. Of very significant importance is knowing the correct technique/ideas for playing the scales and practicing them in an appropriate way for your current skill level.


Yes and no - I agree, I'm not looking for specific suggestions about which ones to do on a particular day of the week, but rather how to progress from here!


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin 28:15
Tchaikovsky Seasons: October

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: Hakki] #2813163
02/10/19 05:17 PM
02/10/19 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
You might arrange your scales/arpeggios in parallel with your current pieces.


Great idea and I keep planning on doing that but haven't yet gotten into the habit.
Originally Posted by petebfrance

I find this quite helpful - to play a scale and arpeggio sometimes when I have moved to another key - not every time, just to 'refresh' things. A number of times I've started a piece without really noticing the key signature (yes, not good!) and if I've been playing a number of pieces in the same key (or close keys) the results can be catastrophic.
I used to try to incorporate them in a warm-up routine, but there are so many of them it could take all day. Will watch this thread for ideas...

I've done that......frustrating!

Last edited by cmb13; 02/10/19 05:18 PM.

Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin 28:15
Tchaikovsky Seasons: October

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813217
02/10/19 07:11 PM
02/10/19 07:11 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,419
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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For variety, you could make yourself a chart like this one. If you wanted to, you could only work on one of these columns or lines every other day, or only a couple of times per week. But it's one way of covering all bases when you get through the chart.

[Linked Image]

You could work vertically for ultimate variety or, once in a while, you could work horizontally.

For those who may not know the term, this is "formula pattern" also known as "Russian pattern."

[Linked Image]

Regards,

Last edited by BruceD; 02/10/19 07:16 PM.

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Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813291
02/10/19 10:49 PM
02/10/19 10:49 PM
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Interesting - is that a chart you use, or did you find it on the internet? I wonder what order the scales are in - does not seem either chromatic or by COF. It's very - structured!


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin 28:15
Tchaikovsky Seasons: October

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813293
02/10/19 10:54 PM
02/10/19 10:54 PM
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Just wanted to mention that 3 months into my piano journey, I started a thread about scales and Philip Johnston's scale book, which Philip Johnston joined in to discuss also. It was one of my earliest threads on PW.


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Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813341
02/11/19 01:42 AM
02/11/19 01:42 AM
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Maybe it's worth making a comment on each scale of whether it's weak or strong and you could adjust the amount of time spent on each scale accordingly, in order to try and make them all the same standard. I don't do this at the moment, but it occurred to me to move on to it after covering all of the scales multiple times straight.

So work through the scales, but maybe devote a little more time to whatever the weak ones are at the time.

Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813345
02/11/19 02:04 AM
02/11/19 02:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Interesting - is that a chart you use, or did you find it on the internet? I wonder what order the scales are in - does not seem either chromatic or by COF. It's very - structured!


I made it up myself and, purposely, designed it so it was random from one day to the next. It may have been partly inspired by suggestions from one of my teachers, who as both a teacher and performer, suggested random rather than chromatic or circle of fifths. One could certainly rewrite it in a more logical sequence if one wanted to.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: Zaphod] #2813413
02/11/19 07:35 AM
02/11/19 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod
Maybe it's worth making a comment on each scale of whether it's weak or strong and you could adjust the amount of time spent on each scale accordingly, in order to try and make them all the same standard. I don't do this at the moment, but it occurred to me to move on to it after covering all of the scales multiple times straight.

So work through the scales, but maybe devote a little more time to whatever the weak ones are at the time.



Have you been speaking with Mrs Gesharp Minor-Harmonic again? I can’t believe she’s still going around talking about me!


Steinway A3
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Chopin 28:15
Tchaikovsky Seasons: October

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Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2813428
02/11/19 08:27 AM
02/11/19 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Just wanted to mention that 3 months into my piano journey, I started a thread about scales and Philip Johnston's scale book, which Philip Johnston joined in to discuss also. It was one of my earliest threads on PW.


I originally missed that thread. Very illuminating!


[Linked Image]
Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813443
02/11/19 09:06 AM
02/11/19 09:06 AM
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So I decided to see which scale practice book I was using (since I enjoy using it for a few minutes each day), and was "surprised" to see it was Philip Johnston's Scales Bootcamp.

I highly recommend it!


[Linked Image]
Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: NobleHouse] #2813466
02/11/19 09:55 AM
02/11/19 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Just wanted to mention that 3 months into my piano journey, I started a thread about scales and Philip Johnston's scale book, which Philip Johnston joined in to discuss also. It was one of my earliest threads on PW.


I originally missed that thread. Very illuminating!


Yes it was quite a good discussion! Very informative. And all the personalities of the forum were represented!


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin 28:15
Tchaikovsky Seasons: October

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Scale Practice - Intermediate [Re: cmb13] #2813561
02/11/19 01:39 PM
02/11/19 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13

Have you been speaking with Mrs Gesharp Minor-Harmonic again? I can’t believe she’s still going around talking about me!


You must be having an affair. It was actually Miss SeeMajor OneOctaveRightHandOnly I was talking to.

You sir, are a bounder and a cad!

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