GRADE 2

Complete Guide to Major & Minor Scales (Volume 1)


PIANO METHOD (HOME)



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 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 CURRICULUM FOR GRADE 2

LESSON 1 (lines 14a-d, 15a-b, 16a-b):  A MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the C major scale in line 14a. Now, count down three half steps to A and play all the notes that occur in C major from A to A. This is A natural minor (see line 14b). Notice that the fingering is the same as C major.
  2. Play A natural minor and change G to G# as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is A harmonic minor (see line 14c). Notice that the fingering has not changed. 
  3. Play A natural minor and raise F-G to F#-G# when ascending but lower them back to G-F when descending. This is A melodic minor (see line 14d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 15a. You already know this scale, A harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 14. Now, examine line 15b. This is A harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. 
  5. Examine line 16a. You already know this scale, A melodic minor, as it was learned on page 14. Now, examine line 16b. This is A melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like A harmonic minor in line 15b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs F#-G# (ascending) and G-F (descending) occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 2 (lines 17a-d, 18a-b, 19a-b):  E MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the G major scale in line 17a. Now, count down three half steps to E and play all the notes that occur in G major from E to E. This is E natural minor (see line 17b). Notice that the fingering is the same as G major.
  2. Play E natural minor and change D to D# as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is E harmonic minor (see line 17c). Notice that the fingering has not changed. 
  3. Play E natural minor and raise C and D to C# and D# when ascending but lower them back to D and C when descending. This is E melodic minor (see line 17d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 18a. You already know this scale, E harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 17. Now, examine line 18b. This is E harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror.
  5. Examine line 19a. You already know this scale, E melodic minor, as it was learned on page 17. Now, examine line 19b. This is E melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like E harmonic minor in line 18b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs C#-D# (ascending) and D-C (descending) occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 3 (lines 20a-d, 21a-b, 22a-b):  B MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the D major scale in line 20a. Now, count down three half steps to B and play all the notes that occur in D major from B to B. This is B natural minor (see line 20b). Notice that the thumbs in both hands play B and E (except for the lowest note in the LH and highest note in the RH).
  2. Play B natural minor and change A to A# as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is B harmonic minor (see line 20c). Notice that the fingering is the same as B natural minor.
  3. Play B natural minor and raise G and A to G# and A# when ascending but lower them back to A and G when descending. This is B melodic minor (see line 20d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 21a. You already know this scale, B harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 20. Now, examine line 21b. This is B harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice, like in B natural minor, that the thumbs in both hands play B and E (except for the lowest note in the LH and highest note in the RH).
  5. Examine line 22a. You already know this scale, B melodic minor, as it was learned on page 20. Now, examine line 22b. This is B melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together the fingering is the same as B harmonic minor in line 21b. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs G#-A# (ascending) and A-G (descending) occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 4 (lines 23a-d, 24a-b, 25a-b):  F-SHARP MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the A major scale in line 23a. Now, count down three half steps to F# and play all the notes that occur in A major from F# to F#. This is F-sharp natural minor (see line 23b). Notice that the third fingers in both hands play G-sharp and C-sharp.
  2. Play F# natural minor and change E to E# as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is F-sharp harmonic minor (see line 23c). Notice that the fingering is the same as F# natural minor
  3. Play F# natural minor and raise D and E to D# and E# when ascending but lower them back to E and D when descending. This is F-sharp melodic minor (see line 23d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 24a. You already know this scale, F# harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 23. Now, examine line 24b. This is F-sharp harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that only the first, second, and third fingers are the only fingers played in both hands
  5. Examine line 25a. You already know this scale, F# melodic minor, as it was learned on page 23. Now, examine line 25b. This is F-sharp melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like F# harmonic minor in Line 24b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs C#-D# (ascending) and D-C (descending) and occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 5 (lines 26a-d, 27a-b, 28a-b):  C-SHARP MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the E major scale in line 26a. Now, count down three half steps to C# and play all the notes that occur in E major from C# to C#. This is C-sharp natural minor (see line 17b). Notice that the fingering is the same as G major.
  2. Play C-sharp natural minor and change B to B# as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is C-sharp harmonic minor (see line 26c). Notice that the fingering has not changed. 
  3. Play C-sharp natural minor and raise A and B to A# and B# when ascending but lower them back to B and A when descending. This is C-sharp melodic minor (see line 26d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 27a. You already know this scale, E harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 26. Now, examine line 27b. This is C-sharp harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. 
  5. Examine line 28a. You already know this scale, C-sharp melodic minor, as it was learned on page 26. Now, examine line 19b. This is C-sharp melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like E harmonic minor in line 27b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs C#-D# (ascending) and D-C (descending) and occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 6 (lines 29a-d, 30a-b, 31a-b):  G-SHARP MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the B major scale in line 29a. Now, count down three half steps to G# and play all the notes that occur in B major from G# to G#. This is G-sharp natural minor (see line 29b). Notice that the fingering is the same as G major.
  2. Play G-sharp natural minor and change F to Fx (F double sharp) as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale. This is G-sharp harmonic minor (see line 29c). The reason the altered note here must be spelled as “F double sharp” is that the letters in major and minor scales by rule must consecutive letters in the alphabet and no letter may be skipped. Thus, what is actually played is the white key “G”, although it is indicated as “F double sharp” in the sheet music. Fingering?
  3. Play G-sharp natural minor and raise E and F to E# and Fx when ascending but lower them back to F and E when descending. This is G-sharp melodic minor (see line 29d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 30a. You already know this scale, G-sharp harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 29. Now, examine line 30b. This is G-sharp harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. 
  5. Examine line 31a. You already know this scale, G-sharp melodic minor, as it was learned on page 29. Now, examine line 31b. This is G-sharp melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like G-sharp harmonic minor in Line 30b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs C#-D# (ascending) and D-C (descending) and occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 7 (lines 32a-d, 33a-b, 34a-b):  D MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the F major scale in line 32a. Now, count down three half steps to D and play all the notes that occur in F major from D to D. This is D natural minor (see line 32b). Notice that the fingering is the same as D major.
  2. Play D natural minor and change C to C# as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is D harmonic minor (see line 32c). Notice that the fingering has not changed. 
  3. Play D natural minor and raise Bb and C to B and C# when ascending but lower them back to C and Bb when descending. This is D melodic minor (see line 32d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 33a. You already know this scale, D harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 32. Now, examine Line 33b. This is D harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. 
  5. Examine line 34a. You already know this scale, D melodic minor, as it was learned on page 32. Now, examine line 34b. This is D melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like D harmonic minor in line 33b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs B-C# (ascending) and C-Bb (descending) and occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 8 (lines 35a-d, 36a-b, 37a-b):  G MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the B-flat major scale in line 35a. Now, count down three half steps to G and play all the notes that occur in B-flat major from G to G. This is G natural minor (see line 35b). Notice that the fingering is the same as G major.
  2. Play G natural minor and change F to F# as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is G harmonic minor (see line 35c). Notice that the fingering has not changed. 
  3. Play G natural minor and raise Eb and F to E and F# when ascending but lower them back to F and Eb when descending. This is G melodic minor (see line 17d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 18a. You already know this scale, G harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 35. Now, examine line 36b. This is G harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. 
  5. Examine line 37a. You already know this scale, G melodic minor, as it was learned on page 35. Now, examine line 37b. This is G melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like E harmonic minor in line 18b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs E-F# (ascending) and F-Eb (descending) and occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 9 (lines 38a-d, 39a-b, 40a-b):  C MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the E-flat major scale in line 38a. Now, count down three half steps to C and play all the notes that occur in E-flat major from C to C. This is C natural minor (see line 38b). Notice that the fingering is the same as C major.
  2. Play C natural minor and change B to B# as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is C harmonic minor (see line 38c). Notice that the fingering has not changed. 
  3. Play C natural minor and raise Ab and Bb to A and B when ascending but lower them back to Bb and Ab when descending. This is C melodic minor (see line 38d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 39a. You already know this scale, C harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 38. Now, examine line 39b. This is E harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. 
  5. Examine line 40a. You already know this scale, C melodic minor, as it was learned on page 22. Now, examine line 40b. This is C melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like E harmonic minor in line 39b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs A-B (ascending) and Bb-Ab (descending) and occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 10 (lines 41a-d, 42a-b, 43a-b):  F MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the A-flat major scale in line 41a. Now, count down three half steps to F and play all the notes that occur in A-flat major from F to F. This is F natural minor (see line 41b). Notice that the fingering is the same as G major.
  2. Play F natural minor and change Eb to E as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is F harmonic minor (see line 41c). Notice that the fingering has not changed. 
  3. Play F natural minor and raise Db and D to Eb and E when ascending but lower them back to Eb and Db when descending. This is F melodic minor (see line 17d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 42a. You already know this scale, F harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 41. Now, examine line 42b. This is F harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. 
  5. Examine line 43a. You already know this scale, F melodic minor, as it was learned on page 41. Now, examine line 43b. This is F melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like F harmonic minor in line 18b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs D-E (ascending) and Eb-Db (descending) and occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 11 (lines 44a-d, 45a-b, 46a-b):  B-FLAT MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the D-flat major scale in line 44a. Now, count down three half steps to Bb and play all the notes that occur in D-flat major from Bb to Bb. This is B-flat natural minor (see line 44b). Notice that the fingering is the same as G major.
  2. Play B-flat natural minor and change Ab to A as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is B-flat harmonic minor (see line 41c). Notice that the fingering has not changed. 
  3. Play B-flat natural minor and raise Gb-Ab  to G-A when ascending but lower them back to Gb-Ab when descending. This is B-flat melodic minor (see line 44d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 45a. You already know this scale, B-flat harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 44. Now, examine line 45b. This is B-flat harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. 
  5. Examine line 46a. You already know this scale, B-flat melodic minor, as it was learned on page 44. Now, examine line 46b. This is B-flat melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like B-flat harmonic minor in line 45b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs G-A (ascending) and Ab-Gb (descending) and occur at different times in each hand.    

LESSON 12 (lines 47a-d, 48a-b, 49a-b):  E-FLAT MINOR

The following scales shall be played first hands alone, then together.

  1. Play the G-flat major scale in line 47a. Now, count down three half steps to Eb and play all the notes that occur in G-flat major from Eb to Eb. This is E-flat natural minor (see line 47b). Notice that the fingering is the same as G major.
  2. Play E-flat natural minor and change Db to D as the next to the last note (7th degree) of the scale.  This is E-flat harmonic minor (see line 47c). Notice that the fingering has not changed. 
  3. Play E-flat natural minor and raise Cb-Db to C-D when ascending but lower them back to Db-Cb when descending. This is E-flat melodic minor (see line 47d). Notice once again that the fingering has not changed. Remember that the melodic minor scale has the 6th and 7th steps raised a half step when ascending but lowered to their original notes when descending.
  4. Examine line 48a. You already know this scale, E-flat harmonic minor, as it was learned on page 47. Now, examine Line 48b. This is E-flat harmonic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. 
  5. Examine line 49a. You already know this scale, E-flat melodic minor, as it was learned on page 47. Now, examine line 49b. This is E-flat melodic minor in contrary motion. Practice the LH alone, then the RH alone, then play hands together. Notice that when played hands together, like E-flat harmonic minor in line 48b, that the fingering between the hands is a mirror. Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs C-D (ascending) and Db-Cb (descending) and occur at different times in each hand.    

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 minorscale. 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.)

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

START GRADE 3

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