GRADE 1

Complete Guide to Major & Minor Scales (Volume 1)


PIANO METHOD (HOME)



TO TEACHERS & STUDENTS: The objective of Grade 1 is to learn all 12 major scales one octave in parallel and contrary motion at a slow tempo. This is spread out over a total of 14 weeks, not including the Exam. Ideally, each Lesson equals one week, but could be extended to two weeks for students who either learn at a slower pace and/or have less time to practice. Conversely, for students who are unusually gifted and/or fast learners, two or perhaps three lessons could be learned in one week. In any case, students should avoid rushing through lessons and skipping steps. The better one can learn these rudimentary lessons, the stronger one’s overall technical and theoretical foundation will become. The average student should spend at least 10-15 minutes daily on each lesson, making the learning of major scales an integral part of their overall daily piano practice. Each lesson corresponds with the numbered and lettered musical systems (lines) in the book. Simply screen-shot or print out each lesson and use the instructions as a guide to help work your way through the book! 

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WEEKLY LESSON PLANS FOR GRADE 1

LESSON 1 (lines 1a – 1b):  C MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with C major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of G major has one sharp, which is F.”
  2. Examine line 1a, C major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together finger 3 plays E and A together.
  3. Examine line 1b, C major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together. 
  4. Review lines 1a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 2 (lines 2a – 2b):  G MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with G major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of G major has one sharp, which is F.”
  2. Examine line 2a, G major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together finger 3 plays B and E together.
  3. Examine line 2b, G major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together. 
  4. Review lines 2a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 3 (lines 3a – 3b):  D MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with D major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of D major has two sharps, which are F-C.”
  2. Examine line 3a, D major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together finger 3 plays F-sharp and B together.
  3. Examine line 3b, D major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together. 
  4. Review lines 3a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 4 (lines 4a – 4b):  A MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with A major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of A major has three sharps, which are F-C-G.”
  2. Examine line 4a, A major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together finger 3 plays C-sharp and F-sharp together.
  3. Examine line 4b, A major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together. 
  4. Review lines 4a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 5 (lines 5a – 5b):  E MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with E major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of E major has four sharps, which are F-C-G-D.”
  2. Examine line 5a, E major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together finger 3 plays G-sharp and C-sharp together.
  3. Examine line 5b, E major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together. 
  4. Review lines 5a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 6 (lines 6a – 6b):  B MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with B major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of E major has five sharps, which are F-C-G-D-A”
  2. Examine line 6a, B major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together both thumbs play E.
  3. Examine line 6b, B major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together. 
  4. Review lines 6a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 7 (lines 7a – 7b):  F MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with F major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of F major has one flat, which is B.”
  2. Examine line 7a, F major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together both thumbs play C.
  3. Examine line 7b, F major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together.
  4. Review lines 2a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 8 (lines 8a – 8b):  B-FLAT MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with B-flat major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of G major has two flats, which are B-E.”
  2. Examine line 8a, B-flat major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together E-flat is played with 4 in the LH and 3 in the RH.
  3. Examine line 8b, B-flat major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together.
  4. Review lines 8a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 9 (lines 9a – 9b):  E-FLAT MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with E-flat major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of E-flat major has three flats, which are B-E-A.”
  2. Examine line 9a, E-flat major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together 2-1 in the LH is played with 1-2 in the RH two times, at F-G and C-D.
  3. Examine line 9b, E-flat major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together. 
  4. Review lines 9a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 10 (lines 10a – 10b):  A-FLAT MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with A-flat major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of G-flat major has four flats, which are B-E-A-D”
  2. Examine line 10a, A-flat major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together both thumbs play C.
  3. Examine line 10b, A-flat major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together.
  4. Review lines 10a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 11 (lines 11a – 11b):  D-FLAT MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with D-flat major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of D-flat major has five flats, which are B-E-A-D-G.”
  2. Examine line 11a, D-flat major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together both thumbs play F and C.
  3. Examine line 11b, D-flat major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together.
  4. Review lines 11a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 12 (lines 12a – 12b):  G-FLAT MAJOR

  1. Let us begin with G-flat major. Repeat this sentence out loud a few times daily:  “The key of G-flat major has one sharp, which are B-E-A-D-G-C-F.”
  2. Examine line 12a, G-flat major in parallel octaves. Play the scale slowly first hands alone then together making sure to play smooth and connected (legato) but with no overlapping of notes. Repeat several times until the fingering becomes natural. Notice with hands together both thumbs play C-flat and F.
  3. Examine line 12b, G-flat major in contrary motion. Play the scales hands alone then together.
  4. Review lines 12a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

EXAM FOR GRADE 1

  1. Play each of the twelve major scales two times in a row in parallel motion with no stopping at a slow tempo with the correct fingering. Now, pause for a few seconds, and do the same for the twelve major scales in contrary motion. No metronome is needed. 
  2. Play them in their correct order of increasing sharps and flats as in Lessons 1-14. 
  3. Before playing each scale, say “This is the __ major scale and it has __ sharps, which are___.” (Name the sharps or flats in the correct order.)
  4. Everything must be memorized.

Once the Exam for Grade 1 has been completed successfully, you are ready to progress to Grade 2!

START GRADE 2

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