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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2834272
04/02/19 11:50 AM
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Ah I see yes, I figured for sheet music that adding the accidental on each note isn't advised, I know they do it in the book initially the same way they used to put the finger numberings as it's introduced but I get it could be a crutch yeah. For writing the scales out you might be right also thinking about it, maybe best is to only write out the key signature but sort of take mental visual note as I write and read it, it'll probably help with general sheet music reading in future.

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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2834277
04/02/19 11:58 AM
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Given that this is an "Albert's" thread, I find another book in the "Albert's" series to be very useful: "The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios & Cadences". It has everything laid out very nicely.


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: PeegZoo] #2834283
04/02/19 12:09 PM
04/02/19 12:09 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by PeegZoo
Ah I see yes, I figured for sheet music that adding the accidental on each note isn't advised, I know they do it in the book initially the same way they used to put the finger numberings as it's introduced but I get it could be a crutch yeah. For writing the scales out you might be right also thinking about it, maybe best is to only write out the key signature but sort of take mental visual note as I write and read it, it'll probably help with general sheet music reading in future.

Yeah, I amended my advice because it's probably just a "during learning process" vs "after learning" issue. I saw some example on Reddit of a person who writes in all the accidentals on a new score they were learning. That is just wrong if you are still doing it long after you should have already learned where the flats & sharps go for a given key.

BTW, that's why when one learns keys, they aren't all taught at one time. It's so that you have time to gradually assimilate each one and remember that, yes, key of G Major has one sharp and it is F#, and then you get to look at and work with a few pieces in G Major, to assist in the memorization of that sharp, before moving on to another key.

Also, along the same lines, my teacher has me working on minor key scales, only one key per week and then all 3 modes: natural, harmonic, melodic. That's because it is straightforward to memorize all the minor scales (at least for me) and play them in only 2-3 weeks in chromatic order, but she says that this doesn't allow for one to assimilate and internalize the sound and feel of the key - it becomes just a memorization exercise, and then later when you encounter C# melodic minor, for example, it still feels new and foreign, even though you can play it automatically as "muscle memory" as part of a scale exercise.

So instead of blasting through all of the minor keys at once, she wants me to do one minor key at a time, one per week. Repeat until I totally have internalized the sound, feel, where the flats & sharps live, etc. Rinse & repeat.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: PeegZoo] #2834375
04/02/19 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PeegZoo
Ah I see yes, I figured for sheet music that adding the accidental on each note isn't advised, I know they do it in the book initially the same way they used to put the finger numberings as it's introduced but I get it could be a crutch yeah. For writing the scales out you might be right also thinking about it, maybe best is to only write out the key signature but sort of take mental visual note as I write and read it, it'll probably help with general sheet music reading in future.


When I learn a new scale, instead of adding the accidental on each note, I make those notes red. I find that it helps me very much getting the scale into my fingers, and then it is easy enough to change to a sheet in which all notes are black - which I do as soon as I can.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: PeegZoo] #2834499
04/02/19 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by PeegZoo


Another question, is it normal for your fourth/ring finger to sit on top of your pinky sometimes? For instance I'm at the pages 68-70 where it's going from G-C by moving fingers 3 and 5 right - in C position my finger is a little off but by the time I move across it's basically on the E as well.



It is kind of normal for a beginner to have some fingers do weird things - but something you have now identified and can fix it. This to me is tension in your hands causing fingers to be where they are not supposed to be, I expect a common thing - I had something like this. To fix this you play very slowly and have all fingers in the right position. So when the point is where your 4th finger goes on top of the pinky - you go slow enough so the forth finger goes where it is supposed to go, 1 key over from the pinky. This will become more important as you go along because there will be increased difficulty fingerings. Don't worry, you can always slow down enough to make your fingers work right - over time they will be more obedient and you will go faster.


Progman
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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Progman] #2834601
04/03/19 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Given that this is an "Albert's" thread, I find another book in the "Albert's" series to be very useful: "The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios & Cadences". It has everything laid out very nicely.


Cool, I'll check this out, quite enjoying the Alfred's Book All-In-One atm, seems well paced and fairly simple to understand so if the scales book is similar it'd be great.

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

BTW, that's why when one learns keys, they aren't all taught at one time. It's so that you have time to gradually assimilate each one and remember that, yes, key of G Major has one sharp and it is F#, and then you get to look at and work with a few pieces in G Major, to assist in the memorization of that sharp, before moving on to another key.


Thanks, good advice, makes sense, maybe a key a week, practicing playing it with scales and chords throughout the scale/key and a piece that uses it, that'd be helpful. I've managed to get triads down fairly well using a pattern method that I read somewhere, it's been super helpful. Basically almost every triad begins and ends on the same colour i.e in Dmaj scale, I/Tonic triad would be Dmaj comprising of D F# and A. D and A are both white keys. III would be F# minor comprising of F# A C# with F# and C# both being black keys. The only time it doesn't work is for B, which is the odd one out, first and last key are different colours, so it's easy to remember like that. Maybe sounds complicated or a weird way of learning but it's helped me tremendously visually and I can usually run up and down scales (at least the first few I have tried) in triads fairly quickly, its just remembering the accidentals. It's also super useful for just instantly banging out a triad, for example if I think G#major triad I can just quickly place my thumb on G# knowing the last key is a black one and kinda just visually knowing which one due to distance/intervals, then the middle finger settles in the right place naturally for major triad. For minor just move the middle finger one left. Hard to explain but it might help people learning to try this method also, it's really helped me at least, quite exciting as it's almost a second nature thing. I'm sure there must be a similar thing for inversions and whatnot but haven't got that far yet, don't wanna rush too far ahead, but in general the whole seeing patterns things is really cool, gives me hope that it's all possible.

Originally Posted by Animisha


When I learn a new scale, instead of adding the accidental on each note, I make those notes red. I find that it helps me very much getting the scale into my fingers, and then it is easy enough to change to a sheet in which all notes are black - which I do as soon as I can.


Thanks, great idea, I might do this to start actually when writing the notes on the staff yeah.
Originally Posted by Progman
Originally Posted by PeegZoo


Another question, is it normal for your fourth/ring finger to sit on top of your pinky sometimes? For instance I'm at the pages 68-70 where it's going from G-C by moving fingers 3 and 5 right - in C position my finger is a little off but by the time I move across it's basically on the E as well.



It is kind of normal for a beginner to have some fingers do weird things - but something you have now identified and can fix it. This to me is tension in your hands causing fingers to be where they are not supposed to be, I expect a common thing - I had something like this. To fix this you play very slowly and have all fingers in the right position. So when the point is where your 4th finger goes on top of the pinky - you go slow enough so the forth finger goes where it is supposed to go, 1 key over from the pinky. This will become more important as you go along because there will be increased difficulty fingerings. Don't worry, you can always slow down enough to make your fingers work right - over time they will be more obedient and you will go faster.


Thanks, I'll do this, could definitely be tension yeah, I'm always way too tense I think! Find it hard to relax. I'll slow everything down a lot more and focus on position and fingering first and foremost.

Last edited by PeegZoo; 04/03/19 01:12 AM.
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2834603
04/03/19 01:34 AM
04/03/19 01:34 AM
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Speaking of scales, this is what I had initially planned for myself for major scales, after reading through some online discussions. Starting at C and then going through the Cycle of Fifths in both right and left directions. So the order acc. to this would be C, G, F, D, Bb, A, and so on. It made sense to me as it seemed balanced towards both sharps and flats. Somewhere down the line, I forgot about it and only followed the cycle of fifths. I’m going to go back to this order now. Two octaves, hands separate at this point. I’ve tried hands together, but it makes the scales practice go too long (and I don’t really see how HT helps in scales. Let me know, if you know smile). So hands separate till all the major scales have been internalised, and will think about the minors next. I also practice I, IV, V (or V7) chord progressions in whatever scale I choose to play. First with all in root positions. Then with I in root position, and IV and V in their 2nd and 1st inversions respectively. Want to start with arpeggios too. I’ve been mostly ignoring those.


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2834609
04/03/19 01:52 AM
04/03/19 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
(and I don’t really see how HT helps in scales. Let me know, if you know smile)

Just for reference, and to get a general sense of what the various certification programs say about HS vs. HT scales, starting from ABRSM Grade 2, RCM Grade 3, and Trinity Grade 1, all scales need to be able to be performed HT also.

My teacher only has me doing HT scales and never HS. I figure if I can perform HT scales, I can perform HS scales too.

This is an older thread about HS and HT scales.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2834626
04/03/19 03:05 AM
04/03/19 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Tech-key
(and I don’t really see how HT helps in scales. Let me know, if you know smile)

Just for reference, and to get a general sense of what the various certification programs say about HS vs. HT scales, starting from ABRSM Grade 2, RCM Grade 3, and Trinity Grade 1, all scales need to be able to be performed HT also.

My teacher only has me doing HT scales and never HS. I figure if I can perform HT scales, I can perform HS scales too.

This is an older thread about HS and HT scales.

Yes, looking at syllabus of the grade exams had gotten me to start hands together as well. I have the basic coordination down for HT in the scales I play at this point. But it still sounds kinda clunky. Clunky in the sense that sometimes both hands won’t land on the keys at the exact same time. I guess it will improve, if I keep at it. Will still park it for the time being, as it’s not aligned with my current goals. I’m mostly interested in scales at this point to familiarise myself with the various keys and their chords. And also to practice a relaxed, light touch, as right now, I can only do this HS. Playing hands together keeps me from paying full attention to the things I want to focus on, like thinking about notes, scale degrees, intervals, etc. Will probably pick it up later on.

Interesting thread that. Thanks for linking it! From what I understand, HT scales are recommended for hand independence of various sorts. Funny thing is, while HT scales are difficult for me to play smoothly at a high tempo, I don’t face a lot of problems anymore with hand independence in the pieces I learn. Maybe because of slow practice over many days. I don’t devote much time to scales. Hardly 10 minutes, and that too not everyday.


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2834632
04/03/19 03:40 AM
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HT scales are essentially exercises in hand independence - an essential skill that any pianist needs to acquire (and one that I struggle with myself).


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Cheshire Chris] #2834644
04/03/19 04:14 AM
04/03/19 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
HT scales are essentially exercises in hand independence - an essential skill that any pianist needs to acquire (and one that I struggle with myself).

I don't struggle with hand independence in the pieces I practice. Even the ones that are difficult for me for other reasons. Still I don't get HT scales somehow. I don't know what's broken about that, but that's how it has been for me. I wonder how much time should be devoted to HT scales per day. Not planning to start it, but still a good-to-know information. BTW, how much time do you all spend on scales each day?


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2834645
04/03/19 04:16 AM
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I spend 5 minutes at the start of each practice session playing scales. I find them a good warm-up exercise to get all the fingers moving.


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2834646
04/03/19 04:22 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
HT scales are essentially exercises in hand independence - an essential skill that any pianist needs to acquire (and one that I struggle with myself).

I don't struggle with hand independence in the pieces I practice. Even the ones that are difficult for me for other reasons. Still I don't get HT scales somehow. I don't know what's broken about that, but that's how it has been for me. I wonder how much time should be devoted to HT scales per day. Not planning to start it, but still a good-to-know information. BTW, how much time do you all spend on scales each day?

When I first learned HT scales (because as I said, I didn't practice HS at all), the multi-octave scales in some of the keys were really weird, such as Ab Major, for example. I overcame it by play the HT scales super slowly staring down each finger and moving them after I'd plan the next move for each hand. Eventually, my fingers "got it" and they went faster and faster. I found all the arpeggios easy in comparison with the scales in certain keys.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2834838
04/03/19 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
I’m mostly interested in scales at this point to familiarise myself with the various keys and their chords. And also to practice a relaxed, light touch, as right now, I can only do this HS. Playing hands together keeps me from paying full attention to the things I want to focus on, like thinking about notes, scale degrees, intervals, etc. Will probably pick it up later on.

Very wise Tech-key!

Originally Posted by Tech-key
BTW, how much time do you all spend on scales each day?

Maybe twenty minutes? But I enjoy scale practice so much, so I have to limit myself, otherwise I would only practise scales. I love playing scales hands together with my eyes closed, and I am sure that this would give me a lot of trouble if I had not practised the scales hand separately for such a long time first.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Animisha] #2834875
04/03/19 02:37 PM
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Thank you all for answering!

Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Tech-key
BTW, how much time do you all spend on scales each day?

Maybe twenty minutes? But I enjoy scale practice so much, so I have to limit myself, otherwise I would only practise scales. I love playing scales hands together with my eyes closed, and I am sure that this would give me a lot of trouble if I had not practised the scales hand separately for such a long time first.

Actually, you know, I should probably increase the time to 20 mins like you. I like playing these as well. I have not allotted any dedicated time slot to scale practice, and play them when I want a break from whatever else I’m practicing. This leaves me with no time to learn a new scale, and I mostly just pick one from whatever I’ve already learnt. With 20 mins everyday, I can add arpeggios too.

It’s cool that you can play the scales hands together with your eyes closed! I’ve got totally used to looking at the keyboard, while playing scales. Maybe I should bring out the scales book to avoid that.



Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2835082
04/04/19 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
It’s cool that you can play the scales hands together with your eyes closed! I’ve got totally used to looking at the keyboard, while playing scales. Maybe I should bring out the scales book to avoid that.

When playing hands separately, I looked a lot at my hands as well. This didn't work when I started playing hands together in contrary motion. I closed my eyes and found it very relaxing and enjoyable. It went surprisingly well, but that must be because I had played hands separately for such a long time, so the distances between notes, for example between E and F# and between F# and G were in my fingers. Then I closed my eyes when playing parallel motion as well. I find it much easier to fully concentrate on which finger gets to play an accidental.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2837503
04/10/19 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
Starting at C and then going through the Cycle of Fifths in both right and left directions. So the order acc. to this would be C, G, F, D, Bb, A, and so on. It made sense to me as it seemed balanced towards both sharps and flats.

I did something like this as well when I still played with Alfred's, and only played scales hands separately. I knew of course how the scales were built, but for instance the fingering seemed totally random to me, and I could not understand how people could remember them.
However, now that I play scales hands together, I started with just one direction in the circle of five: C - G - D - A. (This is how far I have come.) And suddenly I see patterns that I did not see before. The fingering for all four of them is the same, with LH mirroring RH. And the black keys build up in a regular way. Once you can play G, D is not that hard. Once you can play D, A is not that hard.
So I would recommend to reconsider alternating directions.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2837517
04/10/19 04:15 AM
04/10/19 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Tech-key
Starting at C and then going through the Cycle of Fifths in both right and left directions. So the order acc. to this would be C, G, F, D, Bb, A, and so on. It made sense to me as it seemed balanced towards both sharps and flats.

I did something like this as well when I still played with Alfred's, and only played scales hands separately. I knew of course how the scales were built, but for instance the fingering seemed totally random to me, and I could not understand how people could remember them.
However, now that I play scales hands together, I started with just one direction in the circle of five: C - G - D - A. (This is how far I have come.) And suddenly I see patterns that I did not see before. The fingering for all four of them is the same, with LH mirroring RH. And the black keys build up in a regular way. Once you can play G, D is not that hard. Once you can play D, A is not that hard.
So I would recommend to reconsider alternating directions.

Thanks, Animisha! I was following the circle of fifths earlier. But now I’ve got totally bored of the clockwise direction :P I had reached upto E, after which I kind of stopped. Had added F in between, when I was learning a piece in that key.

After I last wrote here, I made a rough plan. What I’m doing now is a little weird, but is keeping me interested. lol. I’ve added arpeggios and hands together practice, in the clockwise direction. Hands separate, chords, etc. in anti-clockwise direction. HT is still a major problem though. I don’t find the fingering difficult. However, I struggle to make it sound passable at even a moderate tempo. My scale practice was very haphazard.. in a way, non-existent. Trying to add some structure now.

How much time would you suggest spending on just HT? I’m spending hardly 1-2 minutes on this even after all the re-structuring. Maybe that’s why it’s not improving.. At least, this time round, I’m trying to keep the tempo real slow grin


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2837538
04/10/19 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
HT is still a major problem though. I don’t find the fingering difficult. However, I struggle to make it sound passable at even a moderate tempo.


Hi Tech-key!

Is this a problem with all scales, or just with some of them? My answer below is assuming it is with all scales.

Can you play C major HS portato so that every note sounds equal (more or less of course), like equal pearls on a string? If not, I would practise this, and only this (that is, no other scale practice) until I could.
Something that helped me in creating more equal notes is to have all my fingers on the keys - play 1 2 3 - shift hand, all fingers on the keys, play 1 2 3 4 - shift hand etc.

If you can play C major HS portato sounding good, can you play C major HS legato, with smooth thumb crossings? If not, same story. Practise only this.

Then practise C major HT. If you can't get it to sound well, you need to tell us more exactly what is the problem, so maybe we can help.

Originally Posted by Tech-key
How much time would you suggest spending on just HT? I’m spending hardly 1-2 minutes on this even after all the re-structuring. Maybe that’s why it’s not improving.. At least, this time round, I’m trying to keep the tempo real slow grin

For me, there is a difference between getting to know a scale and daily practice. Starting with a new scale is quite the same as starting with a new piece. I just take my time, HS, HT, portato, legato, back and forth. Only after I know a scale, I shorten the time. For instance, right now, I play three scales (C G D) both parallel and contrary as a short warm-up in the morning. A major is not quite there yet, so it still gets extra time.

So yes, if I felt I could not play a scale HS sounding passable, I would give it more time than 1-2 minutes. And I would not add any other scale before this problem is fixed.

I hope this is some help to you! smile


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Animisha] #2837546
04/10/19 07:11 AM
04/10/19 07:11 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 401
India
Tech-key Offline
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Tech-key  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 401
India
Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Tech-key
HT is still a major problem though. I don’t find the fingering difficult. However, I struggle to make it sound passable at even a moderate tempo.


Hi Tech-key!

Is this a problem with all scales, or just with some of them? My answer below is assuming it is with all scales.

Can you play C major HS portato so that every note sounds equal (more or less of course), like equal pearls on a string? If not, I would practise this, and only this (that is, no other scale practice) until I could.
Something that helped me in creating more equal notes is to have all my fingers on the keys - play 1 2 3 - shift hand, all fingers on the keys, play 1 2 3 4 - shift hand etc.

If you can play C major HS portato sounding good, can you play C major HS legato, with smooth thumb crossings? If not, same story. Practise only this.

When I had started, I would play the scales slow enough. Didn’t practice regularly. One day I found, I could play HS much faster than when I’d started. Since then, I almost always play as fast as I can, without fumbling. Sounds ok to me. I haven’t played them in front of my teacher though, so not totally sure if it’s indeed ok. I don’t really know, if it is portato or legato either. I didn’t practice specifically. Will start doing that now, and maybe record, so I can figure out what exactly I’m doing, and whether the notes are equal.

Originally Posted by Animisha
Then practise C major HT. If you can't get it to sound well, you need to tell us more exactly what is the problem, so maybe we can help.

I’ll practice C major HT for some days, and ask you all, if the choppiness doesn’t go!

Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Tech-key
How much time would you suggest spending on just HT? I’m spending hardly 1-2 minutes on this even after all the re-structuring. Maybe that’s why it’s not improving.. At least, this time round, I’m trying to keep the tempo real slow grin

For me, there is a difference between getting to know a scale and daily practice. Starting with a new scale is quite the same as starting with a new piece. I just take my time, HS, HT, portato, legato, back and forth. Only after I know a scale, I shorten the time. For instance, right now, I play three scales (C G D) both parallel and contrary as a short warm-up in the morning. A major is not quite there yet, so it still gets extra time.

So yes, if I felt I could not play a scale HS sounding passable, I would give it more time than 1-2 minutes. And I would not add any other scale before this problem is fixed.

I hope this is some help to you! smile

Yes, all this was very helpful. smile Thanks a ton, Animisha!


Think Twice, Play Once
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