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Piano Scales (some advice needed please)

(10 Posts)
MissyMew123 Thu 09-Feb-17 13:24:06

Does anyone have any tips or guidance on how to help my daughter play the scales HT (grade 2)? She is pretty reliable HS but gets so annoyed with herself with HT it is becoming a bit of a brick wall. Her teacher has tasked her with getting them better over half term and would appreciate any tips.

Fleurdelise Thu 09-Feb-17 13:51:53

Playing very slowly helps. Also practising playing them slowly and in different rhythms such as staccato, or playing each note twice with the correct fingering.

MissyMew123 Thu 09-Feb-17 14:10:58

Thank you, I will make those suggestions to her. Really like the idea of playing each note twice, correct fingering is another frustration, judging by the teachers comments in her book!

1805 Thu 09-Feb-17 18:04:14

I get mine to practise hands together, starting with the first 3 notes (should be easy) then adding one note at a time until you have reached one octave. e.g., first 3 notes, then first 4 notes in a run, then first 5 notes in a run etc.
Then practise two octaves! Good luck!
Also use different rhythms and styles to make it slightly more interesting!

BeyondThePage Thu 09-Feb-17 20:13:55

My DD is now going for grade 6 and scales are still a sticking point- until 4 weeks before the exam.

Then she will sit and she will play them and play them like an automaton - over and over and over with the metronome clicking up one beat per minute every 4th playthrough. She hates scales, so this is the way she chooses to deal with them, she is successful and not required to play them any other time other than for exams (sight reading in many different keys is much more valuable to her) . Sometimes the "head down and get it done" approach works.

Cantores Thu 09-Feb-17 23:25:11

Is the problem which fingers go over and under where?

If so, on an ascending scale, once she reaches her thumb in the left hand (the turn after the 3rd finger in the right hand is usually easily remembered ime) she needs to look at which finger will be next in the right hand. If it's finger 3 next in the right then finger 3 goes over in the left. If it's finger 2 next in the right, then finger 4 goes over in the left (much easier to demonstrate than describe). Same goes for the descending right hand. I always watch my left hand ascending and the right hand descending. So it's 3 and 3, 2 and 4 if that makes sense.

This technique doesn't solve all the problems but it does help and it only works on the sharp scales - the flat scales have a different pattern (just wait for Bb Major hands together - I'm flapping my hands with excitement at the thought grin )

Grade 2 scales are probably the worst. You suddenly have to do them hands together and 2 octaves. LCM do hands together 1 octave at grade 1, which I find helps when moving on to grade 2. Once you add more black keys at higher grades, you can see the pattern emerge and the fingering start to make sense.

(I've been teaching piano 25 years+ and absolutely love scales. Very therapeutic to sit there and play every single one through in different rhythms and styles - used to hate them as a child though until they "clicked")

MissyMew123 Fri 10-Feb-17 10:57:44

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Not really sure what the sticking point is, grade one scales she had no issues with and did very well in the exam. Her teacher said the HT scales in grade 2 is the hardest thing in grade two. She is making steady progress at it but I think she is a little impatient and gets frustrated so the concentration goes out the window! Sometimes she will do the scale HT to which I exclaim "well done" only to be told "no its not right" cause of the wrong fingering. She is 10 and can be quite hard on herself when somthing is challenging and is just starting to realise that some things just require a bit of hard work.

Cadenza1818 Fri 10-Feb-17 18:22:47

She needs to break it up. First, she needs to play up the first 5 notes, finger over and go back down again. Do this several times up and down. Then take the last few notes (so in cmajor a,b,c) and go from the a and up to d (as if starting a 2d otave and then back from d to a again. Doing this practices the finger turns and should help!

Ferguson Sat 11-Feb-17 20:04:49

Has she got a book of Scales and respective fingerings? And - more importantly - does she UNDERSTAND why scales are constructed in the way they are?

The notes in scales come from the HARMONIC sequence and are a natural property of the Physics of the way sounds are generated by a vibrating string, or a vibrating column of air in wind instruments. Scales are NOT just things invented by composers (to make music difficult for students!)

So - if you understand their origins and underlying Science, it can possibly make learning a little easier.

Film4 recently had the documentary "Seymour Bernstein: An Introduction" showing the famous pianist coaching students, and discussing the philosophy of music. It may be available on 'catch-up' TV, and is also on DVD.

MissyMew123 Mon 13-Feb-17 11:32:30

Yes we have the book of scales.
She has had a bit of a breakthrough over the weekend and can do HT on the Major scales, but has taken a lot of frustration to get the finger patterns correct.
I dont think the problem has been the scales themselves, but learning the correct patten for each hand and then putting them together.
Thanks for the advice, hope she has turned a corner with it.

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