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Level 1 Scales

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

At level 1 a student is learning the pattern of the thumb turn in a scale. The two scales that are the primary focus are C major and A minor. The first note of these scales is in the name, C major starts on C and A minor starts on A.

When practising these scales start the scale on every possible C on the piano.

When playing A minor start the scale on every possible A.

Make sure you use both hands equally and play the scale forte and piano.

Try so play the scale staccato and legato too.

You can also mix them up and play some notes legato and some notes staccato. See the mixed up worksheet below for some ideas (and to write your own versions).

Junior Muscle Skills

This worksheet introduces the concept of scales using the cluster chords which emphasises the movement of the thumb. The little finger is depressed by itself to allow for the extension into the second octave in Level 2. In the right hand start from C5

  1. Initially depress keys C, D and E with fingers 1, 2 and 3 thumb, pointer finger and middle finger )

  2. Release and curl the thumb under to F, when the thumb touches F allow the rest of the hand to follow over and let the fingers rest on the keys G, A, B and C.

  3. Depress the keys F, G, A and B using fingers 1, 2, 3 and 4 (thumb, pointer finger, middle finger and ring finger) Finally tap the higher C with finger 5 (pinky or little finger) and start the descent, only play the higher C once.

  4. Depress the keys B, A, G and F using fingers 4, 3, 2 and 1

  5. Lift fingers 2 and 3 to pass over the thumb with the the middle finger aiming for E.

  6. Bring the thumb round and rest on the lower C, sound fingers 1, 2 and 3 together.

In the left hand start from C4 or middle C4 and repeat the above. The left hand will descend first followed by the ascent.

Written Skills

Learn to write the notes and fingers used for A minor.


Chris Caton-Greasley LLCM(TD) MA (Mus)(Open)

Ethnographic Musicologist, Teacher, Researcher

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