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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: Gary D.] #2822983
03/05/19 04:51 AM
03/05/19 04:51 AM
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The difference is that when you start with rote, the B scale is easiest. But you can't start there with notation. It doesn't matter what order you learn the scales in, since the goal is to have all 12, and then you can play them in any order.

The B scale is so easy because there are "grooves" for the thumbs, and it's easy to learn not to put thumbs on black keys - a rule that is later broken many times.

The way the fingers move for B major and C major is very different, so getting to those two scales and comfortable playing both is great for flexibility and understanding how the fingers work.


Yes, I don't think there's any disagreement between us is there? Or is this now addressed to the OP, which would figure since it's his thread and his question! I think it's really refreshing to hear of a teacher who isn't afraid to have their students use the black keys early on, although I guess it depends on how early you introduce scales. I find most beginner piano methods I've seen really quite depressing for their incessant focus on white keys and C major. I'm not a teacher, as I said, but I've often considered it and if I was ever to go for a teachers' diploma this is something I would want to explore further (or perhaps I'm mistaken?). I've already experimented a bit with my own kids (who have no wish for formal lessons, although my eldest has guitar lessons) and they certainly have no problem learning simple tunes that involve the black keys.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/05/19 04:51 AM.

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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: RyanThePianist] #2823162
03/05/19 03:22 PM
03/05/19 03:22 PM
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RE: Cadences

You obviously have to start with basic triads and their inversions. Then I go to the common-tone version of the I-IV-I-V7-I progression in the key that the student is working on.

However, throughout the years, I've found that kids loathe this stuff. They just want to play their favorite songs and "songs." All this technical stuff bore them to death. I'm tired of fighting their antipathy.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: AZNpiano] #2823249
03/06/19 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
RE: Cadences

You obviously have to start with basic triads and their inversions. Then I go to the common-tone version of the I-IV-I-V7-I progression in the key that the student is working on.

However, throughout the years, I've found that kids loathe this stuff. They just want to play their favorite songs and "songs." All this technical stuff bore them to death. I'm tired of fighting their antipathy.


Very true for my 12 year old. He can’t find the “time” to play ONE group each night -3 times each- so he does it quickly in the morning before school. It takes him like 5 minutes or less. He wouldn’t do it at all though unless I reminded him. every .single .day.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: AZNpiano] #2823252
03/06/19 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
However, throughout the years, I've found that kids loathe this stuff. They just want to play their favorite songs and "songs." All this technical stuff bore them to death. I'm tired of fighting their antipathy.


Originally Posted by pianoMom2006
Very true for my 12 year old. He can’t find the “time” to play ONE group each night -3 times each- so he does it quickly in the morning before school. It takes him like 5 minutes or less. He wouldn’t do it at all though unless I reminded him. every .single .day.


As I said, I am not a teacher. But I would first try to motivate them to play scales, by explaining how this practice would help them, and also by showing them how nice it sounds when they get it right, like equal pearls on a string. But if I failed at that, I would just drop it. Unless they seem to be on a path of becoming a musician, what is the harm in not having them play scales? It is a serious question. Let them practise songs and more songs, to their hearts' delight. If they get older and still love tp play the piano, they can start practising scales when there is a willingness to do so.

Last edited by Animisha; 03/06/19 07:14 AM.

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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: Animisha] #2823293
03/06/19 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
However, throughout the years, I've found that kids loathe this stuff. They just want to play their favorite songs and "songs." All this technical stuff bore them to death. I'm tired of fighting their antipathy.


Originally Posted by pianoMom2006
Very true for my 12 year old. He can’t find the “time” to play ONE group each night -3 times each- so he does it quickly in the morning before school. It takes him like 5 minutes or less. He wouldn’t do it at all though unless I reminded him. every .single .day.


As I said, I am not a teacher. But I would first try to motivate them to play scales, by explaining how this practice would help them, and also by showing them how nice it sounds when they get it right, like equal pearls on a string. But if I failed at that, I would just drop it. Unless they seem to be on a path of becoming a musician, what is the harm in not having them play scales? It is a serious question. Let them practise songs and more songs, to their hearts' delight. If they get older and still love tp play the piano, they can start practising scales when there is a willingness to do so.


My kids are required to do all their homework (which for piano includes SCA) not pick and choose to do the pieces they want.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: RyanThePianist] #2823318
03/06/19 11:27 AM
03/06/19 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by RyanThePianist
Hi all,

In an effort to keep this forum busy...

How do other teachers introduce these basic techniques? Do you prefer the pages from Hanon? Alfred's Scales, Arps, Chords, and Cadence book? I personally find that many of these compilations sheets are better at scaring students than introducing them, as they often include scales in 3rds, 6ths, contrary, etc., and I can understand why students may find it a bit of a long haul visually on the page to learn them all.

How about scale diagrams with fingerings on them for students who don't read well yet? Do you make your own simplified and step-by-step sheets? Do you teach soley by memory and repetition after a solid foundation in theory?

When do you introduce the first scales and arpeggios? After a couple of pentascales? Do you go along with the method books? Do you have your own method?

When I learned these, I already understood the order of sharps, flats and key signatures from my teachers giving me various pieces in different keys. I eventually noticed the patterns. I'd go out of my way to use Hanon book to look at suggested fingerings for the beginning of each scale and arpeggio, wrote them down and memorized them, and most fingerings came intuitively and naturally to me from there. For contrary motion, 3rds, etc, I would just learn them without sheets since I knew regular scales well. Chords, to be honest, I don't remember how I learned them as I feel like there was a point in time where I played so many chords in my music that I knew what major and minor 3rds felt like to build major and minor chords. After this, I would practice a chord a day in every inversion, including 7th chords. I know students don't learn like I do having come from different backgrounds.

Thank you.

I made a sheet that has key signatures, fingering for 1 octave scales and 1 octave arpeggios, and then I IV V I chord progression all in root position for each key (written out on staff). It has only the C major scale & arpeggio written out, the rest just finger numbers used.

I usually teach only scales 1 octave going around the circle of 5ths, then the 2nd time around I usually add chords and possibly arpeggios too. If not the 2nd time around, I'll do arpeggios the 3rd time, depending on the student's development. After that, we will explore minor scales, but I refer to other books that have the fingering on there, same for doing 2 8va scales & arpeggios.

Regarding chords, I find if they can easily build major triads, then other kinds of chords - minor, augmented, diminished triads as well as 7th chords - are all derivatives of the major triad. So having a solid foundation in building major triads in any key is important, and then being able to do inversions once that is solid is necessary as well. Many method books covers doing inversions fairly well, so I don't often assign separate exercises for that, but will do if a student needs the extra attention there.

As for speed, all things, IMO must be done at a tempo that keeps it easy. Once it's difficult, it is too fast too soon. I'd much rather hear a very slow, deliberate, and accurate scale, chords, and arpeggio than something rushed through with inaccuracies and the tension that most likely contributes to the inaccuracies. Speed in scales is worked on later around when the student is doing intermediate rep, but again, not before they have built the foundation of being able to do it slowly, accurately, and without tension.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: Animisha] #2823320
03/06/19 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Unless they seem to be on a path of becoming a musician, what is the harm in not having them play scales? It is a serious question.

No, that's an awful position to adopt. To be anywhere near competent as a pianist, one should at least KNOW how to play all the major and minor scales. You don't have to play it at an amazing speed, but the correct fingering needs to be internalized and legato needs to be achieved.

I'm not ready to give up the fight, so I will continue to smash antipathy as brutally as possible. In fact, the more I dislike a student, the more technical exercises and etudes I will assign. Those teachers who assign 100 Czerny exercises per year must really hate their students.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: AZNpiano] #2823323
03/06/19 11:33 AM
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In fact, the more I dislike a student, the more technical exercises and etudes I will assign. Those teachers who assign 100 Czerny exercises per year must really hate their students.


I’m starting to really like you AZNPiano! 😂


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: AZNpiano] #2823347
03/06/19 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Animisha
Unless they seem to be on a path of becoming a musician, what is the harm in not having them play scales? It is a serious question.

No, that's an awful position to adopt. To be anywhere near competent as a pianist, one should at least KNOW how to play all the major and minor scales. You don't have to play it at an amazing speed, but the correct fingering needs to be internalized and legato needs to be achieved.


I agree here. They're just too important to ignore.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: RyanThePianist] #2823360
03/06/19 12:56 PM
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All this talk of scales and arpeggios made me look up mine, only to discover that they seem to have vanished! So am off to buy some of Friday. As a teenager at one time I used to practice them all at the start partly to loosen up and get my head in gear. A very long time ago but perhaps worth going back to basics every now and again.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: RyanThePianist] #2837279
04/09/19 12:20 PM
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Well, to add to this thread which I discovered on a link from Tyrone, I have finally learned all major and minor scales, N, H, and M, in 12 (or more accurately 24) keys, 4 octaves, HT. I finish each with an arpeggio, 3 notes and 4 octaves, HT. It has been quite an undertaking. I now do all keys on weekends, and 2-3 per day on the weekdays with the corresponding dom7 and diminished arpeggios (popsicle stick rotation).

Where I am lacking is cadences. Is it generally agreed to start with I IV I V7 I, or rather I IV V7 I or ii V I, which I have toyed with? And should I begin with 3 notes, vs 4 notes which I find to be more complicated for cadences. Is this just overkill or should I be working towards 4 note cadences. Finally, does it matter which inversion to play with cadences? I tend to vary them but think to gain consistency I should simplify for now.

Thanks, teachers!


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: Animisha] #2838123
04/11/19 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Un0less they seem to be on a path of becoming a musician, what is the harm in not having them play scales?


Nothing. Everything is in the rep anyway and you can still become good. The notes are in the score, or the chords are in the lead sheet.

You can force feed kids and it's done all the time. But still, many protest and simply quit. So, where is the value now?

Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: Greener] #2838156
04/11/19 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Greener
Nothing. Everything is in the rep anyway and you can still become good. The notes are in the score, or the chords are in the lead sheet.

You can force feed kids and it's done all the time. But still, many protest and simply quit. So, where is the value now?

I went to school with a kid who refuses to eat any fruit or vegetable. Basically, the only "plants" he would agree to eat are fries and rice.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: RyanThePianist] #2838167
04/11/19 06:17 PM
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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: RyanThePianist] #2838170
04/11/19 06:30 PM
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Not making the connection with scales, sorry.

Look i am not anti-scale, but if the student just wants to play and not aiming to be a star, are there no Teacher's to take them? Thankfully i found one and have a lifetime of piano enjoyment.

I got an earful of everything that was wrong with consevatory teaching when i was young and this was one area.

Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: Greener] #2838186
04/11/19 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Greener
Not making the connection with scales, sorry.

I suspect there was none.

Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: AZNpiano] #2838204
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I went to school with a kid who refuses to eat any fruit or vegetable. Basically, the only "plants" he would agree to eat are fries and rice.

My takeaway from AZNpianos post is that if you let children do only what “they like” they end up doing many things that are exceedingly mediocre or even harmful to themselves in the long run.

Personally I’m in the camp that kids have to eat their vegetables (yes, all of them ;)) and should learn a basic amount of scales and chords if they are piano students, even if it’s only one octave worth.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: keystring] #2838211
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Greener
Not making the connection with scales, sorry.

I suspect there was none.


Seriously?

I don't presume to speak for anyone, but try this interpretation:

Eating only your favorite foods all the time is not an optimal diet, although it is possible to survive on such a diet.
Playing only what you like all the time is not an effective way to learn to play the piano, although it is possible to carry on doing so forever.


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Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: RyanThePianist] #2838217
04/11/19 09:32 PM
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I'd rather not try interpretations because communication is hard enough in an international forum with people with extremely differing backgrounds. That is the first thing.Greener stated that scales are in repertoire, which they are. Whether chords are in lead sheets depends on whether you are using lead sheets, but one can excerpt scales - both block type and arpeggiated, from piano music much of the time. One might have pros and cons about the practicality and effectiveness of such an approach. One could also look at ways of teaching and drilling scales that are a turn-off, and ways that might not be. The kid not eating veggies: maybe he was forced to eat them when young and got turned off them, who knows.

I don't think Greener was talking about doing only what one likes. Greener?

Re: Introducing all Scales, Arpeggios, Chords, and Cadences [Re: AZNpiano] #2838227
04/11/19 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Greener
Nothing. Everything is in the rep anyway and you can still become good. The notes are in the score, or the chords are in the lead sheet.

You can force feed kids and it's done all the time. But still, many protest and simply quit. So, where is the value now?

I went to school with a kid who refuses to eat any fruit or vegetable. Basically, the only "plants" he would agree to eat are fries and rice.

Two is so limited. Besides potatoes and rice, I myself do include corn in the vegetable group. So three. thumb


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