GRADE 2

Complete Guide to Major & Minor Scales (Volume 1)


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TO TEACHERS & STUDENTS: The objective of Grade 2 is to learn all 12 minor scales (natural, harmonic, melodic) one octave in parallel and contrary motion at a slow tempo. This is spread out over a total of 12 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 2

LESSON 1 (lines 13a-d, 14a-b, 15a-b):  A MINOR

  1. Examine lines 13a-b, C major and its relative minor of A minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (no sharps or flats) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play C major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from C to A and play A natural minor, first hands alone then together. Notice the fingering is the same as C major.
  2. Examine line 13c, A harmonic minor. To create A harmonic minor, play A natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from G to G-sharp. Notice that the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 13d, A melodic minor. To create A melodic minor, play A natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, F-G, a half-step to F#-G# when ascending, but lower them back to G-F when descending. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 14a-b, A harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together.
  5. Examine lines 15a-b, A melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs F#-G# (ascending) and G-F (descending) occur at different times in each hand. Notice the mirror fingering when played in contrary motion.
  6. Review lines 14a-b and 15a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 2 (lines 16a-d, 17a-b, 18a-b):  E MINOR

  1. Examine lines 16a-b, G major and its relative minor of E minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (one sharp) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play G major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from G to E and play E natural minor, first hands alone then together. Notice the fingering is the same as G major.
  2. Examine line 16c, E harmonic minor. To create E harmonic minor, play E natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from D to D-sharp. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 16d, E melodic minor. To create E melodic minor, play E natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, C-D, a half-step to C#-D# when ascending, but lower them back to D-C when descending.  Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 17a-b, E harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together.
  5. Examine lines 18a-b, E melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs C#-D# (ascending) and D-C (descending) occur at different times in each hand. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together.
  6. Review lines 17a-b and 18a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 3 (lines 19a-d, 20a-b, 21a-b):  B MINOR

  1. Examine lines 19a-b, D major and its relative minor of B minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (two sharps) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play D major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from D to B and play B natural minor, first hands alone then together. Notice the fingering in both hands is the same as B major.
  2. Examine line 19c, B harmonic minor. To create B harmonic minor, play B natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from A to A-sharp. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 19d, B melodic minor. To create B melodic minor, play B natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, G-A, a half-step to G#-A# when ascending, but lower them back to A-G when descending. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 20a-b, B harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion.
  5. Examine lines 21a-b, B melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs G#-A# (ascending) and A-G (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  6. Review lines 20a-b and 21a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 4 (lines 22a-d, 23a-b, 24a-b):  F-SHARP MINOR

  1. Examine lines 22a-b, A major and its relative minor of F-sharp minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (three sharps) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play A major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from A to F-sharp and play F-sharp natural minor, first hands alone then together.
  2. Examine line 22c, F-sharp harmonic minor. To create F-sharp harmonic minor, play F-sharp natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from E to E-sharp. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 22d, F-sharp melodic minor. To create F-sharp melodic minor, play F-sharp natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, D-E, a half-step to D#-E# when ascending, but lower them back to E-D when descending. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 23a-b, F-sharp harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion.
  5. Examine lines 24a-b, F-sharp melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs D#-E# (ascending) and E-D (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  6. Review lines 23a-b and 24a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 5 (lines 25a-d, 26a-b, 27a-b):  C-SHARP MINOR

  1. Examine lines 25a-b, E major and its relative minor of C-sharp minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (no sharps or flats) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play E major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from E to C-sharp and play C-sharp natural minor, first hands alone then together. 
  2. Examine line 25c, C-sharp harmonic minor. To create C-sharp harmonic minor, play C-sharp natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from B to B-sharp. Notice that the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 25d, C-sharp melodic minor. To create C-sharp melodic minor, play C-sharp natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, A-B, a half-step to A#-B# when ascending, but lower them back to B-A when descending. Notice that the fingering is modified in the RH because of the extra black key ascending, A-sharp, which becomes a white key, A-natural, when descending. 
  4. Examine lines 26a-b, C-sharp harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion.
  5. Examine lines 27a-b, C-sharp melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs A#-B# (ascending) and B-A (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  6. Review lines 26a-b and 27a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 6 (lines 28a-d, 29a-b, 30a-b):  G-SHARP MINOR

  1. Examine lines 28a-b, B major and its relative minor of G-sharp minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (five sharps) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play B major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from B to G-sharp and play G-sharp natural minor, first hands alone then together.
  2. Examine line 28c, G-sharp harmonic minor. To create G-sharp harmonic minor, play G-sharp natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from F-sharp to F-double sharp (indicated with an “x” sign). The reason it must be F-double sharp and not G is that scales must consist of different letter names for each note, and none may be repeated. Notice the fingering is modified in the LH because the black key ascending, F-sharp, becomes a white key, F-double sharp. 
  3. Examine line 28d, G-sharp melodic minor. To create G-sharp melodic minor, play G-sharp natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, E-F#, a half-step to E#-Fx when ascending, but lower them back to F#-E when descending. Notice the fingering is the same in both hands as the harmonic minor.
  4. Examine lines 29a-b, G-sharp harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion.
  5. Examine lines 30a-b, G-sharp melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs E#-Fx (ascending) and E-F# (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  6. Review lines 29a-b and 30a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 7 (lines 31a-d, 32a-b, 33a-b):  D MINOR

  1. Examine lines 31a-b, F major and its relative minor of D minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (one flat) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play F major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from F to D and play D natural minor, first hands alone then together. Notice the fingering is the same as D major.
  2. Examine line 31c, D harmonic minor. To create D harmonic minor, play D natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from C to C-sharp. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 31d, D melodic minor. To create D melodic minor, play D natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, Bb-C, a half-step to B-C# when ascending, but lower them back to C-Bb when descending.  Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 32a-b, D harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together.
  5. Examine lines 33a-b, D melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs F#-G# (ascending) and G-F (descending) occur at different times in each hand. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together.
  6. Review lines 32a-b and 33a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 8 (lines 34a-d, 35a-b, 36a-b):  G MINOR

  1. Examine lines 34a-b, which shows B-flat major and its relative minor of G minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (two flats) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play B-flat major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from B-flat to G and play G natural minor, first hands alone then together. Notice the fingering is the same as G major.
  2. Examine line 34c, G harmonic minor. To create G harmonic minor, play G natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from F to F-sharp. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 34d, G melodic minor. To create G melodic minor, play G natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, Eb-F, a half-step to E-F# when ascending, but lower them back to F-Eb when descending. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 35a-b, G harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together.
  5. Examine lines 36a-b, G melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs E-F# (ascending) and F-Eb (descending) occur at different times in each hand. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together.
  6. Review lines 35a-b and 36a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 9 (lines 37a-d, 38a-b, 39a-b):  C MINOR

  1. Examine lines 37a-b, E-flat major and its relative minor of C minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (three flats) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play E-flat major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from E-flat to C and play C natural minor, first hands alone then together. Notice the fingering is the same as C major.
  2. Examine line 37c, C harmonic minor. To create C harmonic minor, play C natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from B-flat to B-natural. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 37d, C melodic minor. To create C melodic minor, play C natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, Ab-Bb, a half-step to A-B when ascending, but lower them back to Bb-Ab when descending. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 38a-b, C harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together.
  5. Examine lines 39a-b, C melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs A-B (ascending) and Bb-Ab (descending) occur at different times in each hand. Notice the mirror fingering when played hands together.
  6. Review lines 38a-b and 39a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 10 (lines 40a-d, 41a-b, 42a-b):  F MINOR

  1. Examine lines 40a-b, A-flat major and its relative minor of F minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (four flats) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play A-flat major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from A-flat to F and play F natural minor, first hands alone then together. Notice the fingering is the same as F major.
  2. Examine line 40c, F harmonic minor. To create F harmonic minor, play F natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from E-flat to E-natural. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 40d, F melodic minor. To create F melodic minor, play F natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, Db-Eb, a half-step to D-E when ascending, but lower them back to Eb-Db when descending. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 41a-b, F harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion.
  5. Examine lines 42a-b, F melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs D-E (ascending) and Eb-Db (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  6. Review lines 41a-b and 42a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.    

LESSON 11 (lines 43a-d, 44a-b, 45a-b):  B-FLAT MINOR

  1. Examine lines 43a-b, D-flat major and its relative minor of B-flat minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (five flats) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play D-flat major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from D-flat to B-flat and play B-flat natural minor, first hands alone then together. 
  2. Examine line 43c, B-flat harmonic minor. To create B-flat harmonic minor, play B-flat natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from A-flat to A-natural. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 43d, B-flat melodic minor. To create B-flat melodic minor, play B-flat natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, Gb-Ab, a half-step to G-A when ascending, but lower them back to Ab-Gb when descending. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 44a-b, B-flat harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion.
  5. Examine lines 45a-b, B-flat melodic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs G-A (ascending) and Ab-Gb (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  6. Review lines 44a-b and 45a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.  

LESSON 12 (lines 46a-d, 47a-b, 48a-b):  E-FLAT MINOR

  1. Examine lines 46a-b, G-flat major and its relative minor of E-flat minor. They are related because both have the same key signature (no sharps or flats) and consist of the same notes but have different starting and ending points. Play G-flat major hands together. Now, count down three half steps from G-flat to E-flat and play E-flat natural minor, first hands alone then together.
  2. Examine line 46c, E-flat harmonic minor. To create E-flat harmonic minor, play E-flat natural minor and raise the next to the last note (7th degree) a half-step from D-flat to D-natural. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  3. Examine line 46d, E-flat melodic minor. To create E-flat melodic minor, play E-flat natural minor and raise the 6th and 7th degrees, Cb-Db, a half-step to C-D when ascending, but lower them back to Db-Cb when descending. Notice the fingering has not changed.
  4. Examine lines 47a-b, E-flat harmonic minor in parallel and contrary motion. Practice both forms of the scale hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion.
  5. Examine lines 48a-b, E-flat melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice hands alone then together. Give extra attention to playing the LH descending in contrary motion. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs C-D (ascending) and Db-Cb (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  6. Review lines 47a-b and 48a-b each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.    

EXAM FOR GRADE 2

  1. Play each of the twelve harmonic minor scales two times in a row in parallel motion with no stopping at a slow tempo with the correct fingering. Now, pause for a second, and do the same for the corresponding melodic minor scale. No metronome is needed.
  2. Next, play each of the twelve harmonic minor scales two times in a row in contrary motion with no stopping at a slow tempo with the correct fingering. Now, pause for a second, and do the same for the corresponding melodic minor scale.
  3. Play them in their correct order of increasing sharps and flats as in Lessons 1-12. 
  4. Before playing each scale, say “This is the __ minor scale and it has __ sharps (flats), which are___.” (Name the sharps or flats in the correct order.)
  5. All must be memorized with no sheet music permitted.

Once the Exam for Grade 2 has been completed successfully, you are ready to progress to Grade 3!

START GRADE 3

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