Colorado Power Piano

Music Notes

Fast Scales

November 10th, 2014

One of our international friends wrote to us asking how to play fast scales putting the thumb under.  Here is our answer:

Try this.  Play a 6 note scale up and down.  Finger 123 123 21 321.  Turn your hand inward so that your thumb is closer to your body and your little finger is further away.   Play your thumb.  As soon as you play your second finger, reach your thumb under.  Play your 3rd finger.  Your thumb should then be in position over the note to play.  As soon as you play your thumb on the 4th note, move your arm sideways so that the 2nd and 3rd fingers are in position.  As you come down, as soon as you play your thumb, push your arm to the left so that the 3rd finger goes over.  As soon as you play your 3rd finger, reach your thumb down to the first note.  When you play your 2nd finger, your thumb should already be in position.

Practice SLOW and LOUD and first, making the movement your arm up and down the keyboard as smooth as possible.  Moving sidewards a little bit as you play each note.  Play up and down the six note pattern SLOWLY and LOUDLY 10 times.  This should only take a minute or so even when you are doing it quite slowly.  Then try a little faster.  As you go faster, lighten your touch so that you don’t play so loudly.  Push the speed to where you are going the fastest you can and keeping the notes even.  You will be playing softly at the fastest speed.  You should not spend more than 6 or 8 minutes total on this exercise.

You always vary the tempo between slow and faster.  I think you’ll find that your faster tempo gets gradually faster.  After awhile, add 2 notes at the top of the scale so that you are doing an entire octave up and down.  If you have trouble crossing your thumb under your 4th finger (which will happen when you go more than 1 octave), you might spend some time practicing a 7 note scale, fingered 1234 123.  The important element still remains the same.  As soon as you play your thumb, you reach it under.  When you go faster, your thumb will not so much reach under as glide along beside your hand as you move your arm up the notes of the scale.  That should happen just naturally as you increase the speed.

We’ll post a video of this on YouTube later this week for those of you who are visual learners.

Til next time,

Karen

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