GRADE 4

Complete Guide to Major & Minor Scales (Volume 1)


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TO TEACHERS & STUDENTS: The objective of Grade 4 is to learn all 12 minor scales (harmonic and melodic) one octave in thirds, sixths, and tenths 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 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 4

LESSON 1 (lines 14c – 14e, 15c – 15e):  A MINOR

  1. Examine line 14c, A harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply A harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the A minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are C. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 14d, A harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply A harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the A minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are C. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 14e, A harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply A harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as A harmonic minor in thirds in line 14c, except the A below and C above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 15c-e, A melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to A harmonic minor in lines 15c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, F-G, are raised to F#-G# when ascending but lowered to G-F when descending. 
  5. Review lines 14c-e and 15c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 2 (lines 17c – 17e, 18c – 18e):  E MINOR

  1. Examine line 17c, E harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply E harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the E minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are G. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 17d, E harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply E harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the E minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are G. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 17e, E harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply E harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as E harmonic minor in thirds in line 17c, except the E below and G above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 18c-e, E melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to E harmonic minor in lines 17c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, C-D, are raised to C#-D# when ascending but lowered to D-C when descending. 
  5. Review lines 18c-e and 19c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 3 (lines 20c – 20e, 21c – 21e):  B MINOR

  1. Examine line 20c, B harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply B harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the B minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are D. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 20d, B harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply B harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the B minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are D. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 20e, B harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply B harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as B harmonic minor in thirds in line 20c, except the B below and D above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 21c-e, B melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to B harmonic minor in lines 20c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, G-A, are raised to G#-A# when ascending but lowered to A-G when descending. 
  5. Review lines 21c-e and 22c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 4 (lines 23c – 23e, 24c – 24e):  F-SHARP MINOR

  1. Examine line 23c, F-sharp harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply F-sharp harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the F-sharp minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are A. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 23d, F-sharp harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply F-sharp harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the F-sharp minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are A. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 23e, F-sharp harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply F-sharp harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as F-sharp harmonic minor in thirds in line 23c, except the F-sharp below and A above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 25c-e, F-sharp melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to F-sharp harmonic minor in lines 24c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, D-E, are raised to D#-E# when ascending but lowered to E-D when descending. 
  5. Review lines 24c-e and 25c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 5 (lines 26c – 26e, 27c – 27e):  C-SHARP MINOR

  1. Examine line 26c, C-sharp harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply C-sharp harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the C-sharp minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are E. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 26d, C-sharp harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply C-sharp harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the C-sharp minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are E. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 26e, C-sharp harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply C-sharp harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as C-sharp harmonic minor in thirds in line 26c, except the C-sharp below and E above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 27c-e, C-sharp melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to C-sharp harmonic minor in lines 26c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, A-B, are raised to A#-B# when ascending but lowered to B-A when descending. 
  5. Review lines 26c-e and 27c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 6 (lines 29c – 29e, 30c – 30e):  G-SHARP MINOR

  1. Examine line 29c, G-sharp harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply G-sharp harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the G-sharp minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are B You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 29d, G-sharp harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply G-sharp harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the G-sharp minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are B. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 29e, G-sharp harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply G-sharp harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as G-sharp harmonic minor in thirds in line 29c, except the G-sharp below and B above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 30c-e, G-sharp melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to G-sharp harmonic minor in lines 29c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, E-F#, are raised to E#-Fx when ascending but lowered to Fx-E when descending. 
  5. Review lines 29c-e and 30c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 7 (lines 32c – 32e, 33c – 33e):  D MINOR

  1. Examine line 32c, D harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply D harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the D minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are F. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 32d, D harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply D harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the D minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are F. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 32e, D harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply D harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as D harmonic minor in thirds in line 32c, except the D below and F above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 33c-e, D melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to D harmonic minor in lines 32c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, Bb-C, are raised to B-C# when ascending but lowered to C-Bb when descending. 
  5. Review lines 33c-e and 34c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 8 (lines 35c – 35e, 36c – 36e):  G MINOR

  1. Examine line 35c, G harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply G harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the G minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are B-flat. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 35d, G harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply G harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the G minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are B-flat. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 35e, G harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply G harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as G harmonic minor in thirds in line 35c, except the G below and B-flat above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 36c-e, G melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to G harmonic minor in lines 35c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, Eb-F, are raised to E-F# when ascending but lowered to F-Eb when descending. 
  5. Review lines 35c-e and 36c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 9 (lines 38c – 38e, 39c – 39e):  C MINOR

  1. Examine line 38c, C harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply C harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the C minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are E-flat. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 38d, C harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply C harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the C minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are E-flat. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 38e, C harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply C harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as C harmonic minor in thirds in line 38c, except the C below and E-flat above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 39c-e, C melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to C harmonic minor in lines 38c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, Ab-Bb, are raised to A-B when ascending but lowered to Bb-Ab when descending. 
  5. Review lines 39c-e and 40c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note

LESSON 10 (lines 41c – 41e, 42c – 42e):  F MINOR

  1. Examine line 41c, F harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply F harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the F minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are A-flat. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 41d, A harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply A harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the F minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are A-flat. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 41e, A harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply A harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as A harmonic minor in thirds in line 41c, except the F below and A-flat above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 42c-e, A melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to F harmonic minor in lines 41c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, Db-Eb, are raised to D-E when ascending but lowered to Eb-Db when descending. 
  5. Review lines 41c-e and 42c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 11 (lines 44c – 44e, 45c – 45e):  B-FLAT MINOR

  1. Examine line 44c, B-flat harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply B-flat harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the B-flat minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are D. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 44d, B-flat harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply B-flat harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the B-flat minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are CD You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 44e, B-flat harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply B-flat harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as B-flat harmonic minor in thirds in line 44c, except the B-flat below and D above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 45c-e, B-flat melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to B-flat harmonic minor in lines 44c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, Gb-Ab, are raised to G-A when ascending but lowered to Ab-Gb when descending. 
  5. Review lines 44c-e and 45c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

LESSON 12 (lines 47c – 47e, 48c – 48e):  E-FLAT MINOR

  1. Examine line 47c, E-flat harmonic harmonized above in thirds or simply E-flat harmonic minor in thirds. This is because the top note is always an interval of a third above the bottom note. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the E-flat minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are G-flat. You already know the LH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.  
  2. Examine line 47d, E-flat harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply E-flat harmonic minor in sixths. This is because the bottom note is always an interval of a sixth below the top note. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Notice that the E-flat minor fingering is retained except its first and last notes are G-flat. You already know the RH scale and fingering. Now, play the scale hands together.
  3. Examine line 47e, E-flat harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply E-flat harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as E-flat harmonic minor in thirds in line 47c, except the E-flat below and G-flat above are separated with an extra octave placing the hands farther apart. Play the scale hands together.
  4. Examine lines 48c-e, E-flat melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths. These scales are identical to E-flat harmonic minor in lines 47c-e except the 6th and 7th degrees, Cb-Db, are raised to C-D when ascending but lowered to Db-Cb when descending. 
  5. Review lines 47c-e and 48c-e each played two consecutive times at 72 bpm with metronome at one tick per eighth note.   

EXAM FOR GRADE 4

  1. Play each of the twelve major scales in thirds, sixths, and tenths each two times in a row with no stopping at a slow tempo with the correct fingering. No metronome is needed. 
  2. Play them in their correct order of increasing sharps and flats as in Lessons 1-12. 
  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. All must be memorized with no sheet music permitted.

Once the Exam for Grade 4 has been completed successfully, you are ready to progress to Grade 5!

START GRADE 5

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