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Beginner practice and remembering scales #2855355
06/04/19 02:53 AM
06/04/19 02:53 AM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 16
Pune, India
K
Karkoon Offline OP
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Karkoon  Offline OP
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K

Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 16
Pune, India
Hi

I have started learning piano as an adult for the last 6 weeks. I have a teacher.

I am enjoying it a lot and so far learned -

  • Major Scales: C, G, E, A, B
  • Minor Scales: A, B, E, F#
  • Minor Harmonic and Melodic: B and F#


C Major Arpeggio exercises

Songs: Twinkle Twinkle, Ode to Joy, Happy Birthday, Simple version of Fur Elise (Only right hand)

I love to practice. I spend some 30+ minutes almost 4-5 days a week for sure. I try to practice scales, arpeggios, play all the songs.
Although, Once many minor scales were introduced, scale practice takes like 30 minutes for me. To go through fingering etc.

I can play Major scales very evenly and with good tone. Default speed of 120 bpm, I sound good and tones are even. For some scales I can do it till 160bpm as well.

To get that kind of smoothness with Minor scales, it seems it will take a while.

Although, I wonder do you all remember the notes of each scale? Or just know it by muscle memory? Is there a trick to that?

For Major scales, I am able to remember the sound perfectly. Even if I miss a note, I can quickly figure out there is something wrong. Once various minor scales are thrown in mix, I am not able to distinguish them properly.

Right now I made a simple chart for all the scales I practice and put it on the piano while playing them. Any better ideas? Am I worried about nothing?

Thank you.


Music instrument is just a tool, YOU make it sound good.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yamaha P-125.
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Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855364
06/04/19 04:32 AM
06/04/19 04:32 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 489
Sheffield, UK
K
KevinM Offline
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KevinM  Offline
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K

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Posts: 489
Sheffield, UK
I can recognize when I go wrong with the harmonic minor scale as well. But the melodic I can only know from remembering or site reading the finger patterns and it has little to do with how it sounds.

I'm lucky because I am not doing exams my teacher doesn't see a lot of point of me learning the melodic scales.

I would not be surprised if you also quickly recognize when the melodic is correct or not and I think that helps with remembering.

I do seem to just remember the notes to play. But perhaps that is because I'm not going through all scales methodically but the ones that are relevant to the more difficult pieces I'm learning at any one time. So there isn't just a lot of scales to remember at once.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855368
06/04/19 05:14 AM
06/04/19 05:14 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 377
India
Tech-key Offline
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Tech-key  Offline
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Posts: 377
India
Hey Karkoon, you are doing very well! In the first 6 weeks, I only knew how to play C and G major. And that too, hands separate.

For internalising the sound of melodic minors, playing just the melodic versions for a few days, may help. This helped me a little with harmonic minors. I don't play melodic minors yet. You should note that I’m not very qualified to answer, as I haven’t been playing for very long myself.

Originally Posted by Karkoon
Although, I wonder do you all remember the notes of each scale? Or just know it by muscle memory? Is there a trick to that?
I do remember the notes of the scales I play, but that only helps me when I first learn a scale. At higher speeds, I don’t like to think much. When I think, I mess up. I kind of notice the relevant black keys as they approach, but that’s about it.


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855371
06/04/19 05:58 AM
06/04/19 05:58 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 377
India
Tech-key Offline
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Tech-key  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 377
India
Also, if you haven't already, you can check YouTube or other tutorials for the Cirlcle of Fifths. Quite helpful for remembering the sharps and flats in any key.


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855392
06/04/19 08:45 AM
06/04/19 08:45 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,112
Southwest
j&j Offline
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Southwest
I learned two octave scales played with both hands for all the major and harmonic minor scales. I also learned the two different chord cadences for all the major and harmonic scales. When learning them, I would dedicate the first 15 minutes of practice playing scales and chords. Now I play the scales and chord cadences for each key for every piece I’m practicing. It gets the old finger memory set for each piece. Chord cadences were easier for me than two handed two octave scales. For many of the scales the left hand fingering is different than the right hand so I just had to burn it in memory. Learning and playing piano is fun but can be a bit of a challenge to learn things. I used “The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios & Cadences” by Alfred’s. I give that workbook 5 stars. It was almost a cheat sheet for music theory homework.
Best of Luck on your musical journey.


J & J
Yamaha C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855394
06/04/19 08:54 AM
06/04/19 08:54 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,673
Florida
cmb13 Online content

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cmb13  Online Content

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Posts: 2,673
Florida
I too would recommend learning them from the circle of fifths. That may make it easier to remember. If you need help understanding what I mean, let me know. Basically, the order is C-G-D-A-E-B-Gb-Db-Ab-Eb-Bb-F. Each of the first 6 adds a sharp, then each of the next several removes a flat. (F# C# G# D# A#, then Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb for for the next group (in reverse order for the flats - I learned them starting with the key of F, moving backwards, but now practice them as written above).

There are plenty of resources on this available all over the internet. Once you learn this, you'll know what notes are in each automatically. It took me months to learn all the major scales; I learned them one at a time, about 2 weeks each, practicing all the ones I learned briefly then adding on the new one until ready for the next new one. I didn't tackle the minor scales until much later.

Now I practice all keys, major and minor, 4 octaves on Sat and Sun, and select 2 at random on weekdays to work through in more detail with cadences, dim 7 and dom 7 variations.

At this point, I just know them. I don't have to figure out what notes or how many sharps or flats are in each. It did take a while to get to this point, and there are so many other things to learn, that I wouldn't get too obsessive or try to rush it too much. Finally, are you playing them at 120-160 bpm with quarter notes; ie 4 notes per beat at that rate? That would be very fast. Please practice for fluidity, musicality, rather than speed. When you get them down cold, the speed will come.

Last edited by cmb13; 06/04/19 08:56 AM.

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"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855395
06/04/19 08:55 AM
06/04/19 08:55 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 68
Ontario, Canada
SilentQ Offline
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SilentQ  Offline
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Posts: 68
Ontario, Canada
Scales are just four different patterns starting from different keys. Learn the patterns and you get all of your scales.

Major: tone - tone - semi tone - tone - tone - tone - semi tone


Q
Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: SilentQ] #2855399
06/04/19 09:05 AM
06/04/19 09:05 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,115
Florida
dogperson Offline

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Florida
Originally Posted by SilentQ
Scales are just four different patterns starting from different keys. Learn the patterns and you get all of your scales.

Major: tone - tone - semi tone - tone - tone - tone - semi tone


This is the way I was first taught , but with the words ‘whole, whole, half’ and then came a discussion about the circle of fifths.

It will EVENTUALLY become automatic. Don’t sweat it😊. CMB is right IMHO: listen as you play the scales and strive for musicality. Listen to evenness of tone and dynamics. Learn to play them with a crescendo and decrescendo.

See scales as a tool to playing music rather than an end result.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855429
06/04/19 11:04 AM
06/04/19 11:04 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 219
S
Sidokar Offline
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Posts: 219
Once you know the minor harmonic scales, the melodic is fairly simple to remember. One little trick that can help is the melodic descending scale has exactly the same pattern of black keys as its relative major one.

What I find important is once you know the scales, is to rehearse them in various order, either random or chromatic for example so that you really know the scale itself and how it is built rather than know that A major has 3 sharps because it follows D major which has 2.

The other point is to rehearse the scales by taking different angles. Because you learn the scale by playing it always starting with the tonic, you tend to remember the sequence of keys rather than the keys themselves. if you try to play the scale starting with another key than the tonic you will see that you are lost. So you need to supplement it for example starting the scale on the third, fourth, fifth or sixth degree, one hand going up and the other going down and vice versa; you can use either the same fingering or a standard C major fingering. The purpose here is not to exercice your fingers but to make sure you do know the notes themselves independently of the order in which you play them. Many beginners believe that they know their scales because they can play them sequentially but it is not so. This is obviously for a later stage once you are comfortable with the basic sequential order.

Of course when I play my scales at 400 or 500 notes/m I use automatic behavior, but I also know the black and white keys individually.

Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855472
06/04/19 01:32 PM
06/04/19 01:32 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,054
M
Moo :) Offline
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I learnt all the scales gradually as a child. No tricks. I haven’t played for years and I still know them. It just takes time. You appear to be doing very well already. I have no idea how circle of fifths is useful. I never was taught this by a teacher and I find it confusing and not useful. If you are struggling a scale book may help. I have used them in the past. This can help when you are first learning the finger pattern and key signature.

Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855503
06/04/19 03:19 PM
06/04/19 03:19 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 286
Southeast USA
P
Progman Offline

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Posts: 286
Southeast USA
On Beginner practice - resist the temptation to play through the whole piece right from the beginning. It is better to work just a phrase at a time or even just a tricky measure or two. Do it hands separate (HS) first until you can do it at a good speed, and then try it hands together (HT). While you're doing this - count out loud so you can learn to be in rhythm. Good Luck!


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Moo :)] #2855507
06/04/19 03:43 PM
06/04/19 03:43 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 373
Cheshire, UK
Cheshire Chris Offline
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Cheshire Chris  Offline
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Posts: 373
Cheshire, UK
Originally Posted by Moo :)
I have no idea how circle of fifths is useful.


It's useful because it provides an easy way of seeing how many sharps and flats are in each key, and what major and minor keys share the same key signature.


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855567
06/04/19 08:45 PM
06/04/19 08:45 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 902
Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline
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Niagara Falls NY
It gets better the longer you play. I learned all the majors over time, bit by bit. Then last summer, I tackled all the natural minors. These I played daily for about a year, and it took me 7 minutes to play through all majors and minors, 4 octave. 2 weeks ago I learned all the harmonic minors, which was challenging because the fingering is different for many of them. But I plowed through and have them now, though I'm not up to my usual speed yet, it takes me 12 min. as of today to get through majors and harmonic minors, lol. But I'm getting faster each day. Melodic are easy once you have the harmonics down. I find scales super helpful in my playing. I always thought remembering the circle of 5ths would be a royal terror, lol, but I have it memorized now just because I learned my scales in that order. It helps tremendously with learning theory. Scales also helped me to play faster, it's a really good exercise.


Lisa

Currently working on Bach 2 part inventions, Chopin mazurkas, and some Keith Snell Level 5 stuffs, lol. smile
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP, Kawai KDP110

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855625
06/05/19 02:59 AM
06/05/19 02:59 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 982
Bulgaria
Teodor Offline
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Teodor  Offline
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Bulgaria
For scale fingerings it helps me to think of it like this...

When going up the left hand will be led up the scale by the right hand. Meaning every time there is a thumb under the 4th finger, left hand 4th over thumb will follow. Going down is the exact opposite. The left hand thumb under 4th finger will always be followed by 4th over thumb in the right hand as soon as you reach said thumb in the right hand.

Not sure if I am explaining it correctly. This is my own trick for remembering the fingerings as they keep repeating up and down and once you get it, it doesn't matter how many octaves you the scales in.

Last edited by Teodor; 06/05/19 02:59 AM.

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Re: Beginner practice and remembering scales [Re: Karkoon] #2855736
06/05/19 11:29 AM
06/05/19 11:29 AM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 16
Pune, India
K
Karkoon Offline OP
Junior Member
Karkoon  Offline OP
Junior Member
K

Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 16
Pune, India
Thank you everyone. This is very helpful


Music instrument is just a tool, YOU make it sound good.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yamaha P-125.

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