Hi guys! Today I am going to teach you how to properly play scales. I don’t consider myself as a master of technique (scales/hanon/arpeggios), but I have quite the experience. Now to begin with, practicing technique is not something to get excited about. The only reason why it is important is because this is the only way to train your fingers to be stronger.
Above are a few videos of my idol giving tips on how to play scales and hanon, although I will explain in depth below.
So in music theory, there is something we call the circle of fifths for both major and minor scales. The capital letters represent major scales and the lower case letters represent minor scales.
Let’s use C major for this example. My teacher always make me practice a method called “rhythm”. Use a metronome at speeds of 120 and play 4 notes for every beat. Musicians call that “go by a quarter note”. By playing rhythm, you are slowing that down by a half, so 2 notes per beat. So every time you get used to the old speed, raise the metronome up by increments of 10. Your ending speed should be 230 for a quarter note. An important tip while practicing is to open your arms and raise your fingers. Also it is crucial to keep your wrist low.
Hanon trains your finger muscles. Each exercise consists of different patterns that will help your fingers get stronger.
Looking at the above example, it might look scary to you. To be honest, it is nothing at all. Like scales, practice rhythm and at speeds of 120 for a quarter note. When you play hanon, practice your hands separately, raising each finger. Make sure you practice with a heavy piano and you are practicing loud to increase hand strength. At the end, your speed for hanon should be 192 for a quarter note.
In music theory, there is something called chords. Chords consist of the first, third and fifth notes of the scale. The notes are played all at once, making what we call a chord. An arpeggio is basically just a broken up chord. Arpeggios are beneficial to practice because they practice your ability to jump around on the piano and still hit the correct notes. Like scales and hanon, practice rhythm first at speeds of 120, then increase it until you reach 192. For advanced students, you should take arpeggios up a step. Instead of playing one note, transform it into a whole octave and try to play at speeds of 210 for a quarter note.
If you are lazy, or impatient, you will never perfect the art of finger exercise. Practicing this takes hours and patience, but don’t give up! FIGHTING FOR LIFE!