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Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think at least as important(probably much more important) than a discussion of each person's practice routine for scales(I played a few over 60 years ago), is having the correct technical knowledge about playing scales.

In a separate vein, I not at all sure it makes sense for beginners or intermediates to practice endless varieties of each scale, i.e. contrary motion, a third apart, a sixth apart, crescendo, decrescendo, staccato, etc. Perhaps better to work mostly on getting a basic four octave scale even, smooth, appropriately fast for one's level, and with proper technique.


Good.....b/c I have no intention of doing 3rds, 6ths, etc at this time!


That doesn't happen until RCM 10, and 4 octave scales are introduced in 8. I don't mind waiting smile


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FWIW ...

Day 1: C/Am, G/Em, D/Bm
Day 2: A/F#m, E/C#m, B/G#m
Day 3: F/Dm, Bb/Gm, Eb/Cm
Day 4: Ab/Fm, Db/Bbm, Gb/Ebm

I generally practice 5-6 days a week (and I hit the 6 days about 2/3 of the time), so I guess I'm hitting any particular scale about three times every two weeks.


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I practice a scale a week (major and relative minor (harmonic and melodic). I also practice the major arpeggio. This seems to work for me.
The following week I move up the circle of fifths to the next key.

When I had a teacher this is how I was instructed to practice scales and arpeggios.

Good luck!

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think at least as important(probably much more important) than a discussion of each person's practice routine for scales(I played a few over 60 years ago), is having the correct technical knowledge about playing scales.

In a separate vein, I not at all sure it makes sense for beginners or intermediates to practice endless varieties of each scale, i.e. contrary motion, a third apart, a sixth apart, crescendo, decrescendo, staccato, etc. Perhaps better to work mostly on getting a basic four octave scale even, smooth, appropriately fast for one's level, and with proper technique.



I agree. All of this adds up to a lot of used up time at the piano, which should be spent mostly (IMHO) learning repertoire. I warm up by playing all major and harmonic minor scales, then major arpeggios, which takes me about about 15 minutes. I do a few other technical exercises like a few selected triads/inversions, a few scales in octaves, a couple formula pattern, then a quick bit of sight reading. All told, around 35 minutes.

I used to put a ton of time into technical, but found that this routine keeps me supple and it's been tremendously helpful when learning pieces in more challenging keys. That quick arpeggio warm-up made playing Satie's Gnossienne #4 WAY easier than it might have been! I knew where my fingers were going anyway, so the left hand was simple. I'd rather give the bulk of my practice to repertoire, which is where I really need it. Technical improves quickly over time if you keep it up, and you get through things faster as you go along. You get used to it and pretty soon it's turned into a warm-up, so you can then tackle the meat and potatoes of what we're really there for to begin with: the music.


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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think at least as important(probably much more important) than a discussion of each person's practice routine for scales(I played a few over 60 years ago), is having the correct technical knowledge about playing scales.

In a separate vein, I not at all sure it makes sense for beginners or intermediates to practice endless varieties of each scale, i.e. contrary motion, a third apart, a sixth apart, crescendo, decrescendo, staccato, etc. Perhaps better to work mostly on getting a basic four octave scale even, smooth, appropriately fast for one's level, and with proper technique.



I agree. All of this adds up to a lot of used up time at the piano, which should be spent mostly (IMHO) learning repertoire. I warm up by playing all major and harmonic minor scales, then major arpeggios, which takes me about about 15 minutes. I do a few other technical exercises like a few selected triads/inversions, a few scales in octaves, a couple formula pattern, then a quick bit of sight reading. All told, around 35 minutes.

I used to put a ton of time into technical, but found that this routine keeps me supple and it's been tremendously helpful when learning pieces in more challenging keys. That quick arpeggio warm-up made playing Satie's Gnossienne #4 WAY easier than it might have been! I knew where my fingers were going anyway, so the left hand was simple. I'd rather give the bulk of my practice to repertoire, which is where I really need it. Technical improves quickly over time if you keep it up, and you get through things faster as you go along. You get used to it and pretty soon it's turned into a warm-up, so you can then tackle the meat and potatoes of what we're really there for to begin with: the music.

Interesting - I agree with you 100% in principal, but what you are supporting and what you are doing seems incongruous. The 35 min does not sound like a quick warm up. It leads back to my thoughts of using repertoire for warm up as mentioned in this thread. . For instance, using some Bach for warm ups. I still use and plan on continuing scales but I just don’t have time for 35 min of it per day.

Last edited by cmb13; 08/24/19 09:43 AM.

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"Practicing every major scale per day isnt quite working for me."

The procedure is simple, but requires patience; work on one scale at a time until perfected, then move onto the next. Shampoo, lather, rinse, and repeat - until all are perfected.

Some will of course take longer than others to learn, but with practice comes familarity, and with that familiarity comes comfort and ease.

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Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think at least as important(probably much more important) than a discussion of each person's practice routine for scales(I played a few over 60 years ago), is having the correct technical knowledge about playing scales.

In a separate vein, I not at all sure it makes sense for beginners or intermediates to practice endless varieties of each scale, i.e. contrary motion, a third apart, a sixth apart, crescendo, decrescendo, staccato, etc. Perhaps better to work mostly on getting a basic four octave scale even, smooth, appropriately fast for one's level, and with proper technique.



I agree. All of this adds up to a lot of used up time at the piano, which should be spent mostly (IMHO) learning repertoire. I warm up by playing all major and harmonic minor scales, then major arpeggios, which takes me about about 15 minutes. I do a few other technical exercises like a few selected triads/inversions, a few scales in octaves, a couple formula pattern, then a quick bit of sight reading. All told, around 35 minutes.

I used to put a ton of time into technical, but found that this routine keeps me supple and it's been tremendously helpful when learning pieces in more challenging keys. That quick arpeggio warm-up made playing Satie's Gnossienne #4 WAY easier than it might have been! I knew where my fingers were going anyway, so the left hand was simple. I'd rather give the bulk of my practice to repertoire, which is where I really need it. Technical improves quickly over time if you keep it up, and you get through things faster as you go along. You get used to it and pretty soon it's turned into a warm-up, so you can then tackle the meat and potatoes of what we're really there for to begin with: the music.

Interesting - I agree with you 100% in principal, but what you are supporting and what you are doing seems incongruous. The 35 min does not sound like a quick warm up. It leads back to my thoughts of using repertoire for warm up as mentioned in this thread. . For instance, using some Bach for warm ups. I still use and plan on continuing scales but I just don’t have time for 35 min of it per day.


Hmmm, you're right, lol. I guess it's just a "quick" warmup for me, LOL. Sorry about that!


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Originally Posted by DrewBone
"Practicing every major scale per day isnt quite working for me."

The procedure is simple, but requires patience; work on one scale at a time until perfected, then move onto the next. Shampoo, lather, rinse, and repeat - until all are perfected.

Some will of course take longer than others to learn, but with practice comes familarity, and with that familiarity comes comfort and ease.


This is what I meant but couldn't express. Of course, it takes time. I've been doing scales for 25 years (with breaks in my learning, of course). It took me a few months to get all the natural minors, and then another few months again to get proficient in the harmonic minors. But now it's quick and painless. That's all I meant. Once you have them, it takes much less time.


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This post is encouraging me to get back to scales ... it is time. And also much needed music theory. All good.


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Originally Posted by Pianoperformance
This post is encouraging me to get back to scales ... it is time. And also much needed music theory. All good.


I seriously need to dig back into my theory!! I usually do a ton of theory in the summer because I'm a teacher and have the summer off. But this summer was insanely busy and stressful and I literally did NO theory. I'm going to regret that next month. 🙁


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I hope it’s alright for me to use this thread to ask a question.

I am fairly proficient in all of my major scales (and A minor smile ) for one octave.

What would be the next logical step?

Would it be

Carry on practicing the major scales, increasing my speed and proficiency?
Extend the major scales to more than one octave?
Start adding minor scales?
Learn the major scales in different motions?
Add some arpeggios to my routine?
Something else?

Or maybe it doesn’t matter. Is there a particular order that makes learning more productive and smoother?


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Originally Posted by treefrog
Extend the major scales to more than one octave?

Yes, it's the next step. Then add minor scales.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by treefrog
Extend the major scales to more than one octave?

Yes, it's the next step. Then add minor scales.


That'll do me.

Thank you.


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Agreed. Go to 2 octave for majors, then start on minor scales. When you can do all of them in 2 octave, go to 3 and eventually 4 octaves. Then maybe try harmonic minors. Arpeggios at some point, lol. Dominant 7ths.....the list is never ending. 😂😂😂


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I've only been playing a few months, so feel free to take my input with that grain of salt.

I chose to blend a little theory in with my scales work. What I mean is I work on the Majors and relative minors as pairs, and I'm learning them going around the Circle of Fifths.

I started with C Major & A minor, and I work on playing 4 octaves from the start.
I then added G Major and E minor, then went to F Major and D minor, etc.

I'm currently working on A Major and F# minor, and will soon be moving on to Eb Major and C minor.


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