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After how long should I start learning scales? (Read 1091 times)

Offline iknownothing999

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After how long should I start learning scales?
« on: May 10, 2020, 08:43:19 AM »
Hi guys! Im new on this forum and I thank you in advance to take the time to read.

Im an adult beginner and started to play about 1 month ago (I had played the classical guitar before, studying for 3 years and then I stopped to play non classical styles) .

 I started as self taught and then, as I was feeling frustrated about not knowing whether I was doing things correctly I started to take lessons with a teacher.

Before reaching out I had looked at hand position, reviewed some Piano Adventures methods and the microkosmos method as well, with some hanon practice. Fortunately my prof told me that I didnt mess up and I was doing things correctly.

By now, I am practicing the Bach Prelude in C major with the first Hanon excercise. I was just wondering, what about scales? I started looking at some major scales but my prof would prefer to start studying them later so I stopped.

 What do you think about that? I know I am a bit impatient but just wondering after how long should I start learning scales as I got its really essential.

Thank you in advance for your help :)

Offline brogers70

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #1 on: May 10, 2020, 04:07:51 PM »
If you trust your teacher, then be patient and wait til he puts scales on your menu.

How do you know whether to trust your teacher? One way is to meet their other students, preferably, in your case, other adult students. If your teacher holds group classes or student recitals you can get a chance to meet the other students. If they seem to be doing well, maybe your teacher is OK.

Or just ask your teacher why he wants you to wait on scales. Maybe the reason will make sense to you.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #2 on: May 10, 2020, 05:33:07 PM »
There is no reason why you should not be familiar with all sorts of major scales to begin with and be able to play the hands together and separately one or two octaves. You don't have to obsess about them but you should memorize at least all the major scales and know them well. They are very useful tools for your learning that you can use, it puzzles me why your teacher would avoid them completely.

Scale fingerings themselves starting from the root note are are fairly straight foward and you can easily learn them yourself. You should try to understand the fingerings used rather than merely memorize how to play them, see repetition of patterns and coordination between the hands. It is not a waste of time to determine alternative fingerings within scales when starting from different intervals and/or limiting yourself to parts of the scale but this can take up a lot of time and really only should do if the standard root note fingerings are very well known.
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Offline quantum

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #3 on: May 11, 2020, 04:53:57 AM »
Maybe it has something to do with your previous music experience.  Your teacher might want you to focus on real music rather than doing scales all day. 

I do find perplexing, why you were given Hanon and not scales.  IMO scales have a wider reaching benefit than Hanon. There is little harm you can do by studying scales.  It is something that all students of piano will eventually have to learn. 
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Offline iknownothing999

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #4 on: May 11, 2020, 06:53:30 AM »
Thank you guys for your advice! I will open the discussion again and if he's still reluctant I think I will practice them on my own.🙄 Are there some "pitfalls" I should avoid while practicing? As you suggested, I focused on fingers' patterns :)

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #5 on: May 12, 2020, 07:35:31 AM »
Best to just go ahead and try it out and if you face anything that troubles you ask your teacher or ask here your specific question I am sure there will be members who can help you out.
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Offline compline

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Offline dogperson

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #7 on: May 12, 2020, 02:35:17 PM »

HI, iknowthithing,   I find it extraordinary that your tutor doesn't find scales necessary, as it was the first thing I started on when I embarked on taking piano lessons.   It surely is essential if one is to take exams. Perhaps he knows  you are already proficient  with scales as you play classical guitar,  Or, is it that you may not be thinking of future exams,   Therefore the teacher has put scales on the back burner?


I think the tutor, per the original post, did not state that scales were not important, but that he preferred to wait.  Since the OP has been taking lessons one month, why is that inappropriate? 

Offline v1ct0r

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 07:25:42 PM »
You should only do scale technique 15 minutes at a time or you will risk damage and inflammation to your ligaments. Youíll end up with trigger finger or full blown tendinitis and there goes any playing at all. Scale technique playing is the fastest piano touch to burn out on. Scales practice is about quality not quantity to get finished fast because this is the foundation to help against any technique issues you will face in higher level music and usually pianists that have defectos are this lack of technique. The best way to go about it is this
1. Play a scale in fours, tempo 60, accent each beginning of the four notes and diminuendo after each accent, hands separately first and after the first four quickly put the next finger above the note and hold it then play the next four notes and hold over the next note with your finger and hold again (DO NOT HAVE UR FINGER STRETCHED OUT OVER THE NOTE BUT RATHER HAVING IT READY TO STRIKE), repeat until you have played up and down the whole scale twice perfectly without any mistakes and play the cadences at the end to relax your hands. Then once each hand is good and even put the hands together.
2. Then you play it in eights, try to get to tempo 120 but donít start there, accent beginning of each group of 8 while diminuendo after the accent until the next accent and after you play each 8 like in the fours before hold your finger over the next note after each 8 notes in the striking position. Hands separate first then together once you get it twice perfectly. Cadences at end of each two set to relax the hands.

WHEN PLAYING REMEMBER TO TRY TO PLAY ON THE EDGE OF ALL THE KEYS DO NOT HIT THE MIDDLE OF THE KEY HERE AND THE TOP OF THE KEY THERE AND THE BOTTOM EDGE OF THE KEY HERE BECAUSE THAT LEADS TO INCONSISTENCY AND VERY UNEVEN PLAYING. THIS FINGER HOVERING IS TO ENSURE WHEN YOU GO FAST THE FINGERS KNOW WHERE TO GO AND MOVE TO THE NEXT HAND POSITION EFFICIENTLY TO ALLOW SMOOTHNESS. MY TEACHER HAS BEEN PRAISED FOR THIS AMAZING PRACTICE STYLE AND MANY PIANISTS HE WORKS WITH ARE GRATEFUL BECAUSE VERY QUICKLY THEY FEEL AND HEAR THE BENEFITS IN THEIR MUSIC WITH SUPPORTED TECHNIQUE.  SO AIM FOR THE PART OF THE KEY THAT IS CLOSEST TO YOU THE BOTTOM EDGE OF EACH NOTE FOR A CONSISTENT SOUND.

WATCH OUT FOR WHITE NOTES AFTER OR BEFORE BLACK KEYS ESPECIALLY IN MINOR SCALES BECAUSE IT MAKES IT EASIER FOR YOU TO SLIP UP AND PLAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NEXT KEY BECAUSE OF THE AWKWARD POSITION BUT YOU HAVE TO EXTRA BEND YOUR FINGER TO PLAY THE BOTTOM OF THR NEXT NOTE.


Offline iknownothing999

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #9 on: August 28, 2020, 09:39:31 AM »
thank you all for these super detailed explanations and your opinions!

Update: I changed teacher (for several reasons) and started to practice them.

Offline jlmap

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #10 on: September 01, 2020, 04:29:12 PM »
I'm also an adult learned. I think I never had a real teacher. Nobody tought me scales, arpeggios, ear  training, etc. About 1 or 2 years ago I decided to learn properly. I began with ear training (with cellphone apps) and basic theory, with lectures from youtube (by Seth Monhamn). Soon these studies made imperative that I learned all scales, major and minor. Today I can't think of someone studying piano and not learning all the scales. It seems to me that everything in music happens in scales. You should always know what scale you are in, and which grade of the scale are the notes you play. So, I think you should begin studying scales immediately, as well as ear training and basic theory.

Offline ranjit

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Re: After how long should I start learning scales?
«Reply #11 on: September 04, 2020, 06:03:26 AM »
Playing scales is very important, not just for technique, but also because it makes it far easier to keep track of many important parameters while playing tonal music -- key signature, chords and harmony, how the chords relate to each other, modulations from one key to another, etc. Also, it definitely helps with sight reading. If you know your scales well enough, you can just start reading in any key, and it won't be that much of a grind. Memorization will become easier because you can start thinking in terms of aggregates of notes and higher-level theory concepts. One of the most important things you want to achieve initially is to be able to immediately visualize the scale of any key, an immediate recognition of the scales instead of working them out. The notes of a scale should "stick out" to you if you're playing in that scale. Once that happens, you will find it much easier to play in any key, and it will greatly facilitate many things including improvisation.

It's also necessary to learn a bunch of sweet theory, if that's to your taste. ;)

I don't really see a clear reason to postpone learning scales. A large percentage of scalar passages will benefit from playing scales, because you will instinctively get a better idea of how to position your hands. And since it's the underlying basis for most of tonal music, and especially pretty much all of the music you'll learn in the first few years, you'll get a head-start by being very fluent with them from the get go.