Piano World Home Page
Posted By: Manne janne question on teachers - 09/20/20 03:55 PM
Some months ago I analyzed the patterns of the different scales when playing them two octaves. What i found was that all use two different patterns: 1-2-3 and 1-2-3-4(-5).
I have never had a teacher telling me that scales use the same finger patterns but start the pattern on different notes. The analysis I did has helped me a lot. Most teachers probably just say that different scales might have different fingerings which is true but they never teach students about the simple patterns.
Do teacher forget to tell their students all the basics of playing scales or is it that I am the only one who need this analysis?
I want to find a good piano teacher who can help me go deep into the basics of playing the piano. This is why I asked this question.
Posted By: Stubbie Re: question on teachers - 09/20/20 06:36 PM
Originally Posted by Manne janne
Some months ago I analyzed the patterns of the different scales when playing them two octaves. What i found was that all use two different patterns: 1-2-3 and 1-2-3-4(-5).
I have never had a teacher telling me that scales use the same finger patterns but start the pattern on different notes. ....
My apologies if I have misunderstood you to say they all start 123 1234 etc. but just on different notes. They use 123 and 1234(5), but they don't all start on finger 1, e.g. Bb major (and many others).
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/20/20 07:16 PM
Originally Posted by Manne janne
Some months ago I analyzed the patterns of the different scales when playing them two octaves. What i found was that all use two different patterns: 1-2-3 and 1-2-3-4(-5).
I have never had a teacher telling me that scales use the same finger patterns but start the pattern on different notes. The analysis I did has helped me a lot. Most teachers probably just say that different scales might have different fingerings which is true but they never teach students about the simple patterns.
Do teacher forget to tell their students all the basics of playing scales or is it that I am the only one who need this analysis?
I want to find a good piano teacher who can help me go deep into the basics of playing the piano. This is why I asked this question.

There are so many things wrong with this post, I don't know where to start.

You might need to pay more $$ and find yourself a more qualified teacher who can suit your special needs.
Posted By: joplinlover Re: question on teachers - 09/20/20 08:54 PM
Originally Posted by Manne janne
Some months ago I analyzed the patterns of the different scales when playing them two octaves. What i found was that all use two different patterns: 1-2-3 and 1-2-3-4(-5).
I have never had a teacher telling me that scales use the same finger patterns but start the pattern on different notes. The analysis I did has helped me a lot. Most teachers probably just say that different scales might have different fingerings which is true but they never teach students about the simple patterns.
Do teacher forget to tell their students all the basics of playing scales or is it that I am the only one who need this analysis?
I want to find a good piano teacher who can help me go deep into the basics of playing the piano. This is why I asked this question.

This is not correct for all keys. You definitely need a different teacher. All competent, trained teachers will indeed teach the proper fingering patterns for scales - that is a basic thing any half-decent teacher should know.
Posted By: Stubbie Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 12:27 AM
Originally Posted by joplinlover
Originally Posted by Manne janne
Some months ago I analyzed the patterns of the different scales when playing them two octaves. What i found was that all use two different patterns: 1-2-3 and 1-2-3-4(-5).
I have never had a teacher telling me that scales use the same finger patterns but start the pattern on different notes. The analysis I did has helped me a lot. Most teachers probably just say that different scales might have different fingerings which is true but they never teach students about the simple patterns.
Do teacher forget to tell their students all the basics of playing scales or is it that I am the only one who need this analysis?
I want to find a good piano teacher who can help me go deep into the basics of playing the piano. This is why I asked this question.

This is not correct for all keys. You definitely need a different teacher. All competent, trained teachers will indeed teach the proper fingering patterns for scales - that is a basic thing any half-decent teacher should know.
It was not the teacher telling the OP that, it was the OP's conclusion.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 01:13 AM
Thanks Stubbie. I didn't catch that.
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 01:19 AM
Originally Posted by Stubbie
It was not the teacher telling the OP that, it was the OP's conclusion.

In my experience, these are telltale signs of a Transfer Wreck. It's actually harder to teach these students than those with absolutely no prior experience or prejudice. And sometimes it's impossible to undo the misinformation.
Posted By: dogperson Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 01:38 AM
Manne
I’m not sure how you came to your fingering conclusion, but it seems you might not have looked at scales designated as xsharp or xflat. Look at the attached link and see if you see a pattern

https://wsmta.org/bmta/styled/files/piano-fingering-chart.pdf
Posted By: Manne janne Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 08:23 AM
So Eb does not have the 123-1234 pattern?
To me it seems like the fingerings for the right hand should be 3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3.
Here the patterns are 1-2-3-4 and 1-2-3. But you say that these two patterns do not exist the Eb major scale. Thus my fingerings must be wrong.
Did you simply missunderstood me as you could not see the patterns yourself? Not all teacher can see the fundamental patterns. Even teacher miss the fundamental patterns, I guess. Teachers are not perfect.
Posted By: dogperson Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 09:08 AM
Manne
I can see the patterns myself, but I wanted you to find it. I know how scales are constructed

Yes, your fingerings are wrong and I provided the fingerings from a teachers’ reference. I wanted you to look at why these fingerings were used. I suggest you look at a theory reference for the pattern in all scales and the theory behind different scale fingering.
Posted By: Manne janne Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 09:13 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Manne
I can see the patterns myself, but I wanted you to find it. I know how scales are constructed

Yes, your fingerings are wrong and I provided the fingerings from a teachers’ reference. I wanted you to look at why these fingerings were used. I suggest you look at a theory reference for the pattern in all scales and the theory behind different scale fingering.
ok I was wrong. my finger for Eb scales (2 octaves ascending) are 3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3. This is wrong!
the pdf says 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 which is much better! I am sacrastic as the figers are exactly the same. If my fingerings are wrong then then the pdf is a bad pdf with wrong fingerings!
You really were not even trying to understand me at all. many teachers just never try to understand people at all.
Perhaps they have missunderstood the fundamentals themselves! Not even expert always know the fundamentals.
Posted By: dogperson Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 09:21 AM
Originally Posted by Manne janne
Originally Posted by dogperson
Manne
I can see the patterns myself, but I wanted you to find it. I know how scales are constructed

Yes, your fingerings are wrong and I provided the fingerings from a teachers’ reference. I wanted you to look at why these fingerings were used. I suggest you look at a theory reference for the pattern in all scales and the theory behind different scale fingering.
ok I was wrong. my finger for Eb scales (2 octaves ascending) are 3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3. This is wrong!
the pdf says 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 which is much better! I am sacrastic as the figers are exactly the same. If my fingerings are wrong then then the pdf is a bad pdf with wrong fingerings!
You really were not even trying to understand me at all. many teachers just never try to understand people at all.
Perhaps they have missunderstood the fundamentals themselves! Not even expert always know the fundamentals.


Save your sarcasm for someone else. I’m done.
Posted By: TimR Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 12:08 PM
But the OP is not totally wrong.

1231234 does work for major scales if and only if you start on the right finger, not necessarily 1, and avoid thumb on black keys where possible. I think that's what he/she intended.

And working this out for yourself is a good exercise.

It does sound like the teacher could have explained better.
Posted By: Charles Cohen Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 02:13 PM
Originally Posted by TimR
But the OP is not totally wrong.

1231234 does work for major scales if and only if you start on the right finger, not necessarily 1, and avoid thumb on black keys where possible. I think that's what he/she intended.

And working this out for yourself is a good exercise.

It does sound like the teacher could have explained better.

+1, except than you can _always_ avoid using the thumb on a black key.

When I re-started playing, I had forgotten the standard fingerings, and I had to re-learn them. My yellowed, brittle copy of Cooke's "Learning the Scales and Arpeggios" had the pattern rule that the OP worked out for himself.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 04:20 PM
The original post sounds like a rant about teachers and their shortcomings veiled in a question about scale fingerings. OP isn’t asking about proper scale fingering. He’s already figured that out on his own, according to his post. He’s asking for agreement that teachers have shortcomings. Why would anyone post something like that in the Teacher’s Forum but to get a (negative) reaction from members/teachers? Even the title of this thread is “question on teachers”, not “question on scale fingerings”.
Posted By: bennevis Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 04:22 PM
I never owned any book on scales & arpeggios (my teachers lent me theirs when I was doing grade exams) but once I learnt the principles, I never forgot any of them. Their notes, the fingerings.

Principally, no thumbs on black notes in scales. (Thumbs on black notes required of course in all-black-notes arpeggios wink ). All other fingers take that as the premise, and fingerings will sort themselves out.

Fingers usually know when they're required thumb wow yippie
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 05:45 PM
Originally Posted by TimR
But the OP is not totally wrong.

1231234 does work for major scales if and only if you start on the right finger, not necessarily 1, and avoid thumb on black keys where possible. I think that's what he/she intended.

And working this out for yourself is a good exercise.

It does sound like the teacher could have explained better.

Tim, the OP is completely and utterly wrong. There was no mention of starting on a different finger. Thus, it would be natural to assume that whatever 1231234 is given, 1 is the first finger to be used.

Telltale signs of a Transfer Wreck.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 06:15 PM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Tim, the OP is completely and utterly wrong. There was no mention of starting on a different finger. Thus, it would be natural to assume that whatever 1231234 is given, 1 is the first finger to be used.
The OP is not wrong, and definitely not "utterly"or "completely" wrong. What is missing, as usual, is assuming one understands what has been written, instead of asking clarifying questions, and then taking off on those assumptions. it happens often in forums. Part of the original post says:
Quote
I have never had a teacher telling me that scales use the same finger patterns but start the pattern on different notes.

You first have to ASK what is meant by "start on different notes". I don't think that there is an 8-note-in-an-octave (i.e. "standard" scale) that does not have the pattern 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-(5) in it. But the "1" might start on the 3rd, 4th, or whatever degree of the scale. In fact, anything else would be inefficient, or am I wrong?

When you say "start on a different finger" that is going from the point of view of the Tonic, and the first note. If a scale goes up 2, 3 or 4 octaves (which we can assume the OP does, otherwise the (5) would not be in the picture) the pattern is circular or repetitive anyway. What is the starting point of the circle? Thinking in terms of starting the Tonic on a different finger and then getting to that 1 later; or starting the scale on a different degree, or just looking at where the 1 starts, is the same thing, seen from a different angle.

Quote
Telltale signs of a Transfer Wreck.
Let's look at name calling. When people are labeled, the immediate effect is to tell the community that this person is not to be listened to or taken seriously because they are part of whatever group one doesn't listen to. A Wreck must be something terrible. So what "is" a TW really. It is a student who was improperly taught, and now has problems, or misconceptions, or missing information, because of it. A TW who figured out something they were not taught, which is correct ---- that is a thing to be corroborated, rather than name calling. A TW who is confused about a wrong thing that was taught, but senses something else is right, needs to get confirmation, or broughton the right track. What they don't need is a label publicly slapped on them.

If what I surmise is incorrect, please name a regular scale (i.e. not whole tone, octatonic and such) that does not have the 123 1234 pattern regularly within its repetition. I have not looked into this in depth, but did think I had learned this at some point.
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 06:38 PM
Originally Posted by keystring
You first have to ASK what is meant by "start on different notes".

You answered the question yourself. There's no need to defend the indefensible.
Posted By: malkin Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 10:23 PM
Originally Posted by Manne janne
Some months ago I analyzed the patterns of the different scales when playing them two octaves. What i found was that all use two different patterns: 1-2-3 and 1-2-3-4(-5).
I have never had a teacher telling me that scales use the same finger patterns but start the pattern on different notes. The analysis I did has helped me a lot. Most teachers probably just say that different scales might have different fingerings which is true but they never teach students about the simple patterns.
Do teacher forget to tell their students all the basics of playing scales or is it that I am the only one who need this analysis?
I want to find a good piano teacher who can help me go deep into the basics of playing the piano. This is why I asked this question.

1. I'm not sure that scale fingerings are considered "deep into the basics of playing the piano."
2. Fingering 3-2-1-4-3-2-1 is not the same as 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5.
3. I have never heard of and can't imagine anyone ever suggesting scale fingerings that jumped around the fingers, like 4-2-3-2-5-3-1-3. I can't imagine a teacher having to explain why such a fingering would be awkward. 2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2 would be better and would work equally well with either hand in either direction.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/21/20 11:47 PM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
You first have to ASK what is meant by "start on different notes".

You answered the question yourself. There's no need to defend the indefensible.

I did not defend the act of not asking what was meant, nor criticize it. I realize that teachers will not take the same time and care when helping students on-line that they do with their own students. There is no reason why you or any of the teachers here should work for free. So I don't blame anyone for not asking questions that would clarify this.

Any good teacher will know that a student, especially one that was poorly taught in some way, will need to be guided, and will not be able to express themselves in standard ways - and yet that student may be totally on the right track.

There was a time when I was in that position. In fact, I was a "transfer wreck" as you so often inelegantly put it. Because I was not taught properly, I did not have the terminology. I actually sensed the right concepts and approaches instinctively but if I tried to ask about it, often it came out as gibberish. For practice approaches, there were none really. I "invented" chunking and layering, long before they were taught to me by an excellent teacher. And thought I was doing something really bad! I finally found teachers who could pull me past the hole I was in.

What you have to realize that those of us who are poorly taught may actually have the right idea, but we have no way of expressing it, because of the first poor teaching. Therefore a teacher SHOULD check what was really meant. But that's a paid job. You did suggest a change of teachers, in case this one is not doing the right job.

By the way I wrote a bit more than that one line.
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 12:15 AM
Originally Posted by keystring
By the way I wrote a bit more than that one line.

I know that.

The OP is wrong. Period. He/she/it also comes with a severe case of know-it-all-ism and dares to be sarcastic as if he/she/it has found the definitive proof for Fermat's Last Theorem. That, and other problems and assumptions.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 02:47 AM
Then I must be wrong too. Well, in my post I did ask to be corrected if I was wrong but that part seems not to have been seen. If there is any scale that does not have the pattern of 1231234(5) in it when going up several octaves, can this scale be named. I do not mean scales such as octatonic, whole tone, pentatonic but the regular 8 notes to an octave scale.

Is it in fact incorrect that scales have this pattern, which may start on a different note than the tonic?

If it is incorrect, then I am wrong.

In regard to "sarcasm" (which I didn't see), this does not influence whether the idea is right or wrong.
Posted By: Charles Cohen Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 04:28 AM
If the OP had written:

Quote
. . . I have never had a teacher telling me that scales use the same finger patterns but start the pattern on different notes scale degrees. . .

I would have immediately thought:

. . . "Oh -- he figured it out!"

I suspected that's what he meant, but didn't have the right technical vocabulary at hand, to say. It took me a little while to confirm it.

There are holes in our understanding, and sometimes it takes some hunting, and filing, and sanding, to find the conceptual piece that fills the hole. And often -- if you're lucky -- the next thought is:

. . . "Eh? There's a _name_ for that?<g>"
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 04:53 AM
Originally Posted by keystring
Is it in fact incorrect that scales have this pattern, which may start on a different note than the tonic?

Why is this question even being asked?

Not that it's anything pertinent to the OP, but there are actually specific situations in music where the 123-1234 rule will be (or can be) broken. In two of these situations, the "broken" rule is preferable for the sake of simplicity. These are the outliers, in specific situations.

If the OP wants to learn that information, he/she/it will need to pay me $$.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 10:26 AM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Is it in fact incorrect that scales have this pattern, which may start on a different note than the tonic?

Why is this question even being asked?
It is being asked, because I understood you to be saying that the ideas I saw in the opening post --- badly written as it was ---- was utterly and completely wrong. Meaning that nothing at all in there was correct. Including what I myself understood about scales. I suspect a miscommunication all round. it's all good.
Posted By: dogperson Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 10:36 AM
What is the purpose of continuing this thread? Purely a rhetorical question: I am not liking for a reply. Since I attempted to provide the fingering for scales, which I thought the OP needed, and was told I must not understand fundamentals, I have seen no reason to participate.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 10:54 AM
Ok, I looked more carefully at the thread. First - was the opening post originally worded as I see it now? It seems shorter than I remember. Unpacking this.

* The tone in both posts is rude, especially the second one (which I didn't see until now - it's on the 2nd page I think). The thread is entitled "question" but mostly it's a lecture, and put-downs on teachers, with a certain air of superiority (unwarranted). The "question" appears to be how to find a teacher who would teach these kinds of things. The "on" teachers, rather than "to" teachers I suppose hints at it. "Question on how to find a given type of teacher" may have been a clearer title.

* In the post, there is an idea, and that is what I focused on originally. Namely that somewhere in a scale you will find the pattern 123 1234(5). You may not get to the "1" until the Mediant or some other note, but it's there. I found this to be an important concept, and it brings you past blindly memorizing a gazillion finger numbers. If any student who is starting to learn is reading this, it seemed a good thing to be aware of. I didn't want the baby to be thrown out with the bathwater through "completely false" because this idea is not completely false - there is truth to it. The whole thing was poorly stated, however, and especially because it was not stated by a teacher or an expert. -- The idea also of looking more deeply (or intelligently) at scales and fingering, this is also not a false idea. The when and how is another matter. There are also other aspects beyond that pattern that was highlighted. You want a proper teacher for that. And AZNpiano was correct in suggesting a teacher change.

[i]To the question on finding such a teacher[/i ]

Attitude. Attitude. Attitude.

Two scenarios. Supposing you get a teacher who does know these things and is capable of teaching them. Teachers face an ongoing problem where students will not bother to do or follow up on what they're told. Older students will also often "know better" than the teacher, and thus not follow the guidance, or be selective on what they'll try. Having this experience oodles of times over the years, they will be tempted not to bother unless the student shows signs of being worth it, through their attitude. Otherwise the teacher can also give the necessary minimum: say, dictating the standard finger numbers that we seen on the chart that ws provided here. You won't get, what you could.

If you show bad attitude, you might not even get in the door with a good teacher.

That's part of how to find and get such a teacher.

Meanwhile, I get the anger if you have indeed been mistaught, and wasted your time doing inefficient things. Assuming that you went along with what you were told with an open mind, and it was the wrong thing. A lot of us have been there, and in fact if you ask professional musicians and teachers, many of them will probably tell you stories of this and that poor teaching. They got there despite it, by persevering. You do NOT want to be projecting your anger, suspicion, or disdain, toward teachers you are consulting.

Another obstacle, if you have been poorly taught and consult a new teacher, is that because of the poor teaching you received, you will come across as ignorant, because the poor teaching created that ignorance. I myself was in that boat. Even if I did manage to understand something on my own, trying to express it, I sounded like a gibbering idiot, because I did not have the vocab or the "ways". I am much more likely to land a good teacher if I had to find a new one, or started a new instrument, because I know how to express myself, how to listen, how to ask questions, and how to work. BECAUSE I've had good teaching since then, and it gave me that.

I don't know if the OP will even be back, but here's my answer. For the OP or any other fellow student who is asking a similar question now or in the future. Peace out! smile
Posted By: dogperson Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 11:39 AM
Keystring
Is there a necessity of memorizing a gazillion fingerings for scales if you look for the FINGERING pattern: thumb never on s flat/sharp and long fingers on flats/sharps. Doesn’t this always work without memorizing?
Posted By: TimR Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 12:18 PM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by TimR
But the OP is not totally wrong.

1231234 does work for major scales if and only if you start on the right finger, not necessarily 1, and avoid thumb on black keys where possible. I think that's what he/she intended.

And working this out for yourself is a good exercise.

It does sound like the teacher could have explained better.

Tim, the OP is completely and utterly wrong. There was no mention of starting on a different finger. Thus, it would be natural to assume that whatever 1231234 is given, 1 is the first finger to be used.

Telltale signs of a Transfer Wreck.

I made the charitable guess that this is not a native English speaker, based on the name and the grammar, and assumed that he meant the finger rather than the note.

Looking at some other posts I'm not sure that was accurate. I don't think it's a transfer wreck though, I think he's mostly self taught.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 03:53 PM
Originally Posted by keystring
Ok, I looked more carefully at the thread. First - was the opening post originally worded as I see it now? It seems shorter than I remember. Unpacking this.

* The tone in both posts is rude, especially the second one (which I didn't see until now - it's on the 2nd page I think). The thread is entitled "question" but mostly it's a lecture, and put-downs on teachers, with a certain air of superiority (unwarranted). The "question" appears to be how to find a teacher who would teach these kinds of things. The "on" teachers, rather than "to" teachers I suppose hints at it. "Question on how to find a given type of teacher" may have been a clearer title.

keystring, your first point is what I had posted earlier in this thread (which was conveniently ignored) and which I believe was the point of OP’s original post. Unfortunately, this is the internet and people will grab onto whichever point they feel they can contribute to, and here, that seems to have been about the correct scale fingering aspect. (Like I have done many times in the past myself.) Although I still don’t believe that was OP’s point for the post. It was simply a rant about the shortcomings of teachers. He wasn’t genuinely interested in asking about people’s views on scale fingering. He said he had already figured that out for himself. I would suggest people re-read OP’s post. I feel like everyone’s been duped, drawn into an argument or discussion that wasn’t even the point of the original post. But maybe nobody cares, which is also fair, lol. wink

Perhaps this is a situation where people can’t see the forest for the trees.
Posted By: bennevis Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 04:34 PM
In case this has any bearing on the matter, the OP is Norwegian, English is obviously not his native language, and his instrument is the accordion (not piano, which is just a sideline), and he's principally interested in folk music.

Case closed. cool
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 07:20 PM
Originally Posted by TimR
Looking at some other posts I'm not sure that was accurate. I don't think it's a transfer wreck though, I think he's mostly self taught.

Oh, those are even worse!

I once had someone who is completely self-taught, who came to me with a Chopin waltz.

First, I'm amazed that he got this far on his own, especially with all the flats in the key signature.

But the technique is all wrong. His forearms were hard as a rock. There was enough tension to implode a grand piano. And I had to try NOT to laugh at his fingering, which made zero sense. He told me his dream is to play Islamey.

The longer a person is self-taught, the more impossible it is to start over properly.
Posted By: TimR Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 07:30 PM
Originally Posted by bennevis
In case this has any bearing on the matter, the OP is Norwegian, English is obviously not his native language, and his instrument is the accordion (not piano, which is just a sideline), and he's principally interested in folk music.

Case closed. cool

His English is far better than my Norwegian!

And an accordion is easier to carry than a piano.
Posted By: Stubbie Re: question on teachers - 09/22/20 11:44 PM
Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by bennevis
In case this has any bearing on the matter, the OP is Norwegian, English is obviously not his native language, and his instrument is the accordion (not piano, which is just a sideline), and he's principally interested in folk music.

Case closed. cool

His English is far better than my Norwegian!

And an accordion is easier to carry than a piano.

And probably easier to get into the back seat of an automobile than one's elderly mother. smile
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/23/20 01:16 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Keystring
Is there a necessity of memorizing a gazillion fingerings for scales if you look for the FINGERING pattern: thumb never on s flat/sharp and long fingers on flats/sharps. Doesn’t this always work without memorizing?
That was one of the points sort of. We agree.
Posted By: scirocco Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 05:19 AM
Originally Posted by Manne janne
Do teacher forget to tell their students all the basics of playing scales or is it that I am the only one who need this analysis?
I want to find a good piano teacher who can help me go deep into the basics of playing the piano. This is why I asked this question.

Don't worry OP, I understand what you mean even if you maybe didn't explain it very clearly.

I think that what you just coming up against how adults learn vs children. Basic music teaching lays out stuff to children one thing at a time so as not to overwhelm them. They learn by doing and don't really care how much more there is to learn. Whereas as adults we get scared when we can see vast complex patterns (like all the possible scale patterns and fingering) stretching out in front of us. We like to have a ruleset and even if the ruleset is a bit complicated with exceptions we are happier than just learning one thing at a time.

Unfortunately music is not really taught that way (presumably because the teachers all learnt as kids, just teach the way they were taught and see no reason to change.)

You might want to google Michael New on Youtube. He has a series of videos for adults where he goes through a lot of the very basic keyboard patterns and rulesets. The comments are full of people saying "why did no-one ever explain this before?"
Posted By: bennevis Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 08:54 AM
Originally Posted by scirocco
I think that what you just coming up against how adults learn vs children. Basic music teaching lays out stuff to children one thing at a time so as not to overwhelm them. They learn by doing and don't really care how much more there is to learn. Whereas as adults we get scared when we can see vast complex patterns (like all the possible scale patterns and fingering) stretching out in front of us. We like to have a ruleset and even if the ruleset is a bit complicated with exceptions we are happier than just learning one thing at a time.
There's no reason why adults can't learn the way children do (and are generally taught) - little by little, the same sort of stuff gradually increasing in complexity as they progress. Stuff like rhythms, note values, speed, number of notes in chords (starting with single notes in each hand, not melody RH and three note chords LH).........scales and arpeggios.

What is the point of learning all the scales all at once - which is what the OP is apparently trying to so, and what so many adult beginners do (judging from posts in ABF)? When are they actually going to encounter a piece in B major, let alone D# minor?

What is the point of grappling with a complex syncopated dotted rhythm if they can't even get a straightforward rhythm (once involving nothing more than minims/half notes and crotchets/quarter notes) correct, because they don't know how to count beats properly.....because they don't even know where the beat falls?

But many adult beginners are doing precisely that - especially (but not just) the self-learners.

Quote
Unfortunately music is not really taught that way (presumably because the teachers all learnt as kids, just teach the way they were taught and see no reason to change.)
The problem is adults refusing to be taught the way good teachers would like to teach them - starting with mastering the basics, and mastering them properly. No wonder they flounder after romping through (and riding roughshod over) the "easy" beginner's bits. Too easy for them to take time over and master - much better to start with The Entertainer, because they want to entertain friends and family from the off.

If adults have the right mind-set, they are fully capable of learning not just as well, but better than children.
Posted By: TimR Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 02:06 PM
Originally Posted by scirocco
He has a series of videos for adults where he goes through a lot of the very basic keyboard patterns and rulesets. The comments are full of people saying "why did no-one ever explain this before?"

Why indeed?

Or maybe, they did.

Apologies for bringing in an example from the handbell world.

A while back I booked a workshop session with my ringers with one of the respected teachers who does clinics. She took them through fundamentals in great detail and then on to some more advanced topics, and gave hands on corrections and advice. It was sort of an all day master class for the group.

The group enjoyed the day, but the most common comment from members afterword was "wow, I never knew XXX." But the strange thing was she didn't tell them anything I hadn't covered myself with them - nothing was actually new! But to them it was.

At the end of the day I was feeling I must have been doing okay, because she and I were basically in sync with everything, but apparently there was a failure to communicate, or remember, or something.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 05:20 PM
Originally Posted by scirocco
.... I understand what ....
I was glad to see this positive tone. I've been thinking about this thread. These places are visited by folks who are learning, and even by teachers getting new ideas or sharing them, so they go beyond whoever is asking a question and is not just for them.
Quote
We like to have a ruleset and even if the ruleset is a bit complicated ...
My thoughts were from a slightly different angle.

There is sense behind things, or a feel to them. It is not really just a matter of memorizing fingering patterns one by one, or even sharps and flats. What's behind that? I'm thinking that this other side isn't even just for older students. Well, very young children are famous for asking "why" until maybe they are trained not to and just do what you're told. In any case, it's useful and sensible.

For example: In fingering there is indeed this repeated pattern that happens somewhere within a scale played over more than one octave, where you are starting at one point of a repeated series - with a few exceptions here and there. This is useful to know. There is also the fact of our long and short fingers vis-a-vis the configuration of the keyboard: it's a matter of ease and practicality. You don't start Db major with the thumb for obvious reasons. In fact, if you were told to find what is the most convenient and easy, you'd probably come up with the standard fingering. I know a few teachers who give young students some challenges to get them to start thinking that way, and be more than trained seals. So I think the question (but not the mood and tone in which it was given) may be an important one.

When I first joined PW, a teacher here was in mid-dilemma. His or her student had just come up with fingering other than that prescribed in the books, which made total sense for that student's hands, and the issue was that it might lose marks in the exam with a pedantic examiner. Yet, what the student had just done was to use a very important principle "Always aim for greatest ease and efficiency." Does one betray that for exam marks?

Or here is what happened to me while I was still a violin student, where fingering also matters. I had played a new piece with fingering that was different from what was marked in the book. I told this to a student who was much more advanced, who looked at the book and was outraged at the book's fingering and the reason for it. (Reason was: to get practice in a new "position") The outrage was because it violated the principle of "always seek greatest ease and efficiency". I didn't even know of this principle, and think I should have. I'd think these things are important.

Finally, when I joined PW, before I had a teacher, I did a few things with our Betty - some old timers may remember her. She shared with me one thing she taught all her students: the grouping of scales by category, and those categories went together with what fit under the hands, and which ones shared the same patterns. And some of this can be taught to young students. "Why do you think we use this fingering?" "What do you think would happen if you started Db major with the thumb?" (try it, see what happens)

Well anyway, those were the kinds of thoughts that were floating around my head the last couple of days. They may be useless or unwanted, but there they are.
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 05:48 PM
Originally Posted by scirocco
Unfortunately music is not really taught that way (presumably because the teachers all learnt as kids, just teach the way they were taught and see no reason to change.)

You really think there is just ONE way to teach children? A good piano teacher will cater to the needs of the individual student, regardless of age. Right now I'm teaching music theory to a bunch of little kids. I have to revise my tried-and-true methods because these kids are seriously, seriously mentally challenged. The only way some kids learn is rote memorization. They are incapable of seeing patterns of any kind or following a series of steps. The only way they can do math problems is to memorize the answers--forget about the process!!

Originally Posted by scirocco
You might want to google Michael New on Youtube. He has a series of videos for adults where he goes through a lot of the very basic keyboard patterns and rulesets. The comments are full of people saying "why did no-one ever explain this before?"

I get those comments all the time from Transfer Wrecks. The problem is bad teaching. It's everywhere.

It is not an adults vs. children problem. For every god-awful adult student, there are dozens and dozens of god-awful kids. I think some of the problems I'm seeing in children today have been exacerbated by the fact they haven't had actual schooling in six months. It's like rotten brains.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 06:10 PM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
It is not an adults vs. children problem. For every god-awful adult student, there are dozens and dozens of god-awful kids. I think some of the problems I'm seeing in children today have been exacerbated by the fact they haven't had actual schooling in six months. It's like rotten brains.
Thank you for this!
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 08:31 PM
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
It is not an adults vs. children problem. For every god-awful adult student, there are dozens and dozens of god-awful kids. I think some of the problems I'm seeing in children today have been exacerbated by the fact they haven't had actual schooling in six months. It's like rotten brains.
Thank you for this!

I think a lot of adult students are under the impression that, since they are older and "more experienced," their learning process would be faster than children. I had one such adult student. He only wanted to pay for 30 minutes of lessons, every other week. And he cancelled many lessons. Meanwhile, his lessons are loaded with pieces I did not assign. He wanted to venture out on his own and learn the next piece in the book. He thinks this will save him money?

I've seen all sorts of students. Some are massively talented, they can cover four levels in one year. Some are so slow, they took three years to get to book 2A in the method books. The only thing that separates these people is intelligence. More specifically, musical, linguistic, and spatial intelligences. People who are lacking in any of these areas will have to work harder.

It has NOTHING to do with age.
Posted By: rkzhao Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 08:40 PM
Ironically, adults can often display much less maturity than young children. Adults can ignorantly have much more untamed egos and unjustified self confidence.

After all, it's rare to find young children who seriously believe they know better than trained experts in any subject but it's all too common in adults. Who needs dedicated schooling and decades of research/experience when you have 10 minutes on google.
Posted By: bennevis Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 08:52 PM
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Who needs dedicated schooling and decades of research/experience when you have 10 minutes on google.

I've been reliably informed that Dr Google has a century of amazingly diverse medical experience in everything from mad cow disease to Ebola to COVID-19, and has a few hundred medical degrees from all the top medical schools and about a thousand PhDs from all the best universities in the world (from deepest darkest Sahara to deepest coldest Antarctica). thumb

Unfortunately, that good doctor was unable to cure my common cold (caused by a coronavirus)........
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/24/20 09:00 PM
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Ironically, adults can often display much less maturity than young children. Adults can ignorantly have much more untamed egos and unjustified self confidence.

When I was doing my student teaching, my master teacher told me the hardest kids to teach are the children of teachers and school administrators. These adults can find faults in everybody else's children except their own.

My absolute nightmare of nightmare student in my public-school days was the son of a school principal. Her son can do no wrong. He's probably in jail somewhere by now.
Posted By: malkin Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 12:05 AM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Ironically, adults can often display much less maturity than young children. Adults can ignorantly have much more untamed egos and unjustified self confidence.

When I was doing my student teaching, my master teacher told me the hardest kids to teach are the children of teachers and school administrators. These adults can find faults in everybody else's children except their own.

My absolute nightmare of nightmare student in my public-school days was the son of a school principal. Her son can do no wrong. He's probably in jail somewhere by now.

And in my line of work, the hardest adults to teach can be "teachers."
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 02:00 AM
Originally Posted by malkin
And in my line of work, the hardest adults to teach can be "teachers."

Tell me about it!!
Posted By: Candywoman Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 03:11 AM
For me, it's difficult to teach the children of teachers because everything needs to be explained to them. They don't seem to operate on intuition or curiosity.
Posted By: Charles Cohen Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 03:35 AM
Originally Posted by TimR
. . .
At the end of the day I was feeling I must have been doing okay, because she and I were basically in sync with everything, but apparently there was a failure to communicate, or remember, or something.

Most likely, there was a failure to _listen_, on the part of your students, during your regular sessions.<g> (Or maybe I should say, to _hear_.)

Workshops with outside instructors are _special_, and attention is very high.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 03:55 AM
Well, that seems to have been a waste. No interest in scales themselves, it seems. Just which group(s) to bash. Sad.
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 05:01 AM
Originally Posted by keystring
Well, that seems to have been a waste. No interest in scales themselves, it seems. Just which group(s) to bash. Sad.

I think you should start a new thread if you want to discuss scales, but we've done that many times in the past. There's nothing new to say.

Meanwhile, I don't see anything wrong with the bashing.
Posted By: scirocco Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 06:01 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Is there a necessity of memorizing a gazillion fingerings for scales if you look for the FINGERING pattern: thumb never on s flat/sharp and long fingers on flats/sharps. Doesn’t this always work without memorizing?

Exactly. I actually think that this is all that the OP was after. I remember starting to learn scales and being daunted by the triple whammy of scale patterns, fingering sequence and differences between both hands. I would have been greatly less intimidated if someone had simply said to me:

"You're going to learn scales and the fingering layout can seem arbitrary and hard to remember. But most of the beginner scales will start on white notes and for these the pattern is easy. Moving out from the centre of the body in either hand, the pattern is just 123 cross 1234 and repeat. Use the same keys and fingers and crossing points in both ascending and descending directions. If you have reached your final octave moving out from the centre of the body use 5 for the last note. Two exceptions; scales starting on F have a different RH pattern and those starting on B have a different LH pattern. Black note start scales are a bit trickier but don't worry about them for now."

That's the adult way of learning. Understand the big picture, then do, in that order. Understand a pattern, a ruleset and its exceptions and the whole thing immediately simplifies down. In particular, people in the numerate and reasoning professions will have spent thousands of hours thinking in this way in their work, and if they are enabled to learn music like this it will be easier for them than learning by rote.
Posted By: dogperson Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 06:43 AM
Originally Posted by scirocco
Originally Posted by dogperson
Is there a necessity of memorizing a gazillion fingerings for scales if you look for the FINGERING pattern: thumb never on s flat/sharp and long fingers on flats/sharps. Doesn’t this always work without memorizing?

Exactly. I actually think that this is all that the OP was after.... .


No, this was absolutely not the purpose of the OP’s thread. If you think that, go back and read the early parts of this thread.
Posted By: keystring Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 01:05 PM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Well, that seems to have been a waste. No interest in scales themselves, it seems. Just which group(s) to bash. Sad.

I think you should start a new thread if you want to discuss scales, but we've done that many times in the past. There's nothing new to say.

You could also start a new thread if you want to discuss bad students or bad teachers. Same thing. I put something on the table that arises from the original topic, and feel it's useful and might even be interesting. It would be nice to see thoughts on at least some of those ideas.

I do NOT think there is "nothing new to say" btw, because I've been reading this thread for about 11 years, and some of what I've written, I have not seen discussed in my memory. Also, new people always join. For example, the teacher who was in a quandary about the student who found good personal fingering but which might get marked down, that was about 11 years ago. The broader implications that I just mentioned were not discussed at the time.

Anyway, it's out there if anyone is interested.
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 01:11 PM
Returning to the topic I think it's worth mentioning that knowing these fingering patterns is only helpful in the very begininning, when someone just starts to play scales. Later it will still be necessary to memorize which finger plays each degree of each scale. Really good sight reading is impossible without that.

It's somewhat like a circle of fifths - it's good to know about it in the beginning and for theory, but practically it's useless, because practically you need to recall a key much faster, in a split second, and imagining the circle is just a needless step that will slow things down.
This is also why it's best to play scales in the chromatic order and not ordered by a number of sharps/flats.
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 05:43 PM
Originally Posted by scirocco
"You're going to learn scales and the fingering layout can seem arbitrary and hard to remember. But most of the beginner scales will start on white notes and for these the pattern is easy. Moving out from the centre of the body in either hand, the pattern is just 123 cross 1234 and repeat. Use the same keys and fingers and crossing points in both ascending and descending directions. If you have reached your final octave moving out from the centre of the body use 5 for the last note. Two exceptions; scales starting on F have a different RH pattern and those starting on B have a different LH pattern. Black note start scales are a bit trickier but don't worry about them for now."

You seriously think this makes learning easier?

BTW, scales that start on black keys are easy if you know what you are doing. The patterns are much clearer than C Major.

For my advanced, non-testing students, I start with B Major (for teaching movement), then the scales starting on black keys.
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: question on teachers - 09/25/20 05:46 PM
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Returning to the topic I think it's worth mentioning that knowing these fingering patterns is only helpful in the very begininning, when someone just starts to play scales. Later it will still be necessary to memorize which finger plays each degree of each scale. Really good sight reading is impossible without that.

And then, after you get past the intermediate piano repertoire, you have to be able to change the standard scale fingering to suit the context of the passage.
Posted By: terentius Re: question on teachers - 09/26/20 02:48 AM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
And then, after you get past the intermediate piano repertoire, you have to be able to change the standard scale fingering to suit the context of the passage.

Just so. In fact even before then:

I’m playing Scarlatti F minor sonata K481, it’s not an advanced piece but I don’t consciously think of the scale fingering while playing.

I think using standard scale fingering familiarises you with the scales, then you just go ahead and use that familiarity. After all no pieces are in e.g. A melodic minor or C# harmonic minor.
Posted By: joplinlover Re: question on teachers - 09/27/20 07:12 AM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by scirocco
"You're going to learn scales and the fingering layout can seem arbitrary and hard to remember. But most of the beginner scales will start on white notes and for these the pattern is easy. Moving out from the centre of the body in either hand, the pattern is just 123 cross 1234 and repeat. Use the same keys and fingers and crossing points in both ascending and descending directions. If you have reached your final octave moving out from the centre of the body use 5 for the last note. Two exceptions; scales starting on F have a different RH pattern and those starting on B have a different LH pattern. Black note start scales are a bit trickier but don't worry about them for now."

You seriously think this makes learning easier?

BTW, scales that start on black keys are easy if you know what you are doing. The patterns are much clearer than C Major.

For my advanced, non-testing students, I start with B Major (for teaching movement), then the scales starting on black keys.

Agreed. I find some kids struggle with C major because they are used to C-D-E-F-G being 1-2-3-4-5 or 5-4-3-2-1 and so that is what feels intuitive to them. "Flat" keys use a much more intuitive pattern. As a matter of fact, my 8-y-o just the other day figured out D flat major correctly on their own, hands together at a fast tempo, and was playing it for fun - I was surprised because I knew their teacher has only assigned B flat and E flat so far, but they were able to transfer the same pattern to a different black key, finding it obvious where the thumbs went.

This kid learns scales easily because they were part of piano from the very beginning - there wasn't this scary moment of "Now you have to do this hard thing called scales." It was the same for me. I remember doing what they did - C major with the fingering of CDEF in the left hand 5-4-3-2 and then GABC in the right hand 2-3-4-5 all the way up, and then G, F, D the same way. So the kid gets used to quickly moving up and down the keyboard in the correct rhythm and steadiness without the awkwardness of breaking things up with the thumb. Even a raw beginner can do that, and then after a few weeks or months, they can learn the standard fingering.
Posted By: Andamento Re: question on teachers - 09/28/20 12:32 AM
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
The original post sounds like a rant about teachers and their shortcomings veiled in a question about scale fingerings. OP isn’t asking about proper scale fingering. He’s already figured that out on his own, according to his post. He’s asking for agreement that teachers have shortcomings. Why would anyone post something like that in the Teacher’s Forum but to get a (negative) reaction from members/teachers? Even the title of this thread is “question on teachers”, not “question on scale fingerings”.

This. I couldn't agree more that OP's post sounded very much like a rant on teachers.

Now to the OP:

Your post title not only mentions teachers, but this statement of yours stood out:

Quote
Most teachers probably just say that different scales might have different fingerings which is true but they never teach students about the simple patterns.

"Most teachers probably..."

The use of "probably" signals an assumption. You're admitting you don't know.

"...they never teach students about the simple patterns."

Really? Never? You know that, OP?

And in a subsequent post:

Quote
many teachers just never try to understand people at all.

There's that word "never" again, and "many teachers..." That statement is a slur on the teachers who do try to understand their students and teach to their specific musical and other needs. And it's not a few teachers who strive for greater understanding of their students.

You are making unsubstantiated and derogatory claims about "many/most" teachers. The post comes across as more of a fist-shaking against piano teachers than a question or statement about scales.
© Piano World Piano & Digital Piano Forums