GRADE 4

Complete Guide to Major & Minor Scales (Volume 1)


PIANO METHOD (HOME)



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 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 4

LESSON 1 (lines 15c – 15e, 16c – 16e):  A MINOR

  1. Examine line 15c. This is A harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply A harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the A minor fingering for the RH, except the third finger begins on C. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 15d. This is an inversion of line 15c, since the A below and C above are exchanged to a C below and A above. This inversion results in A harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply A harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the A minor fingering for the LH, except the third finger begins on C. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 15e. This is 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 15c, except the A below and C above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with A melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 16c-16e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (F#-G#) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (G-F). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs F#-G# (ascending) and G-F (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 15c-15e and 16c-16e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.  

LESSON 2 (lines 18c – 18e, 19c – 19e):  E MINOR

  1. Examine line 18c. This is E harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply E harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the E minor fingering for the RH, except the third finger begins on G. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 18d. This is an inversion of line 18c, since the E below and G above are exchanged to a G below and E above. This inversion results in E harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply E harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the E minor fingering for the LH, except the third finger begins on G. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 18e. This is 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 18c, except the E below and G above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with E melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 19c-19e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (C#-D#) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (D-C). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs C#-D# (ascending) and D-C (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 18c-18e and 19c-19e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.

LESSON 3 (lines 21c – 21e, 22c – 22e):  B MINOR

  1. Examine line 21c. This is B harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply B harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the B minor fingering for the RH, except the third finger begins on D. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 21d. This is an inversion of line 21c, since the B below and D above are exchanged to a D below and B above. This inversion results in B harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply B harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the B minor fingering for the LH, except the second finger begins on D. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 21e. This is B 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 21c, except the B below and D above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with B melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 22c-22e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (G#-A#) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (G-F). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs F#-G# (ascending) and A-G (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 21c-21e and 22c-22e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized. 

LESSON 4 (lines 24c – 24e, 25c – 25e):  F-SHARP MINOR

  1. Examine line 24c. This is F-sharp harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply F-sharp harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the F-sharp minor fingering for the RH, except the thumb begins on A. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 24d. This is an inversion of line 24c, since the F# below and A above are exchanged to an A below and F# above. This inversion results in F-sharp harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply F-sharp harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the F-sharp minor fingering for the LH, except the second finger begins on A. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 24e. This is 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 24c, except the F# below and A above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with F-sharp melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 25c-25e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (D#-E#) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (E-D). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs D#-E# (ascending) and E-D (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 24c-24e and 25c-25e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.   

LESSON 5 (lines 27c – 27e, 28c – 28e):  C-SHARP MINOR

  1. Examine line 27c. This is C-sharp harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply C-sharp harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the C-sharp minor fingering for the RH, except the thumb begins on E. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 27d. This is an inversion of line 27c, since the C# below and E above are exchanged to an E below and C# above. This inversion results in C-sharp harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply C-sharp harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the C-sharp minor fingering for the LH, except the fifth finger begins on E. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 27e. This is 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 27c, except the C# below and E above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with C-sharp melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 28c-28e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (A#-B#) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (B-A). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs A#-B# (ascending) and B-A (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 27c-27e and 28c-28e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.   

LESSON 6 (lines 30c – 30e, 31c – 31e):  G-SHARP MINOR

  1. Examine line 30c. This is G-sharp harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply G-sharp harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the G-sharp minor fingering for the RH, except the thumb begins on B. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 30d. This is an inversion of line 30c, since the G# below and B above are exchanged to a B below and G# above. This inversion results in G-sharp harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply G-sharp harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the G-sharp minor fingering for the LH, except the fifth finger begins on B. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 30e. This is 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 30c, except the G# below and B above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with G-sharp melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 31c-31e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (E#-F##) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (F#-E). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs E#-F## (ascending) and F#-E (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 30c-30e and 31c-31e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.   

LESSON 7 (lines 33c – 33e, 34c – 34e):  D MINOR

  1. Examine line 33c. This is D harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply D harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the D minor fingering for the RH, except the third finger begins on F. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 33d. This is an inversion of line 33c, since the D below and F above are exchanged to an F below and D above. This inversion results in D harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply D harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the D minor fingering for the LH, except the third finger begins on F. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 33e. This is 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 33c, except the D below and F above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with D melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 34c-34e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (B-C#) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (C-Bb). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs B-C# (ascending) and C-Bb (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 33c-33e and 34c-34e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.   

LESSON 8 (lines 36c – 36e, 37c – 37e):  G MINOR

  1. Examine line 36c. This is G harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply G harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the G minor fingering for the RH, except the third finger begins on Bb. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 36d. This is an inversion of line 36c, since the G below and Bb above are exchanged to a Bb below and G above. This inversion results in G harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply G harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the G minor fingering for the LH, except the third finger begins on Bb. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 36e. This is 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 36c, except the G below and Bb above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with G melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 37c-37e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (E-F#) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (F-Eb). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs E-F# (ascending) and F-Eb (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 36c-36e and 37c-37e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.   

LESSON 9 (lines 39c – 39e, 40c – 40e):  C MINOR

  1. Examine line 39c. This is C harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply C harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the C minor fingering for the RH, except the third finger begins on Eb. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 39d. This is an inversion of line 39c, since the G below and Bb above are exchanged to a Bb below and G above. This inversion results in G harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply G harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the C minor fingering for the LH, except the third finger begins on Eb. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 39e. This is 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 39c, except the G below and Bb above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with C melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 40c-40e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (A-B) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (Bb-Ab). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs A-B (ascending) and Bb-Ab (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 39c-39e and 40c-40e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.   

LESSON 10 (lines 42c – 42e, 43c – 43e):  F MINOR

  1. Examine line 42c. This is F harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply F harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the F minor fingering for the RH, except the third finger begins on Ab. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 42d. This is an inversion of line 42c, since the F below and Ab above are exchanged to a Ab below and F above. This inversion results in F harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply F harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the F minor fingering for the LH, except the third finger begins on Ab. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 42e. This is F harmonic minor harmonized above in tenths or simply F harmonic minor in tenths. It is the same as F harmonic minor in thirds in line 42c, except the F below and Ab above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with F melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 43c-43e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (D-E) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (F-Eb). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs D-E (ascending) and F-Eb (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 42c-42e and 43c-43e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.   

LESSON 11 (lines 45c – 45e, 46c – 46e):  B-FLAT MINOR

  1. Examine line 45c. This is B-flat harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply B-flat harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the B-flat minor fingering for the RH, except the second finger begins on Db. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 45d. This is an inversion of line 45c, since the Bb below and Db above are exchanged to a Db below and Bb above. This inversion results in B-flat harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply B-flat harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the B-flat minor fingering for the LH, except the third finger begins on Db. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 45e. This is 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 45c, except the Bb below and Db above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with B-flat melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 46c-46e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (G-A) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (Ab-Gb). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs G-A (ascending) and Ab-Gb (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 45c-45e and 46c-46e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.   

LESSON 12 (lines 48c – 48e, 49c – 49e):  E-FLAT MINOR

  1. Examine line 48c. This is E-flat harmonic minor harmonized above in thirds or simply E-flat harmonic minor in thirds. Play the LH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the RH. Notice that the RH fingering is the same as the E-flat minor fingering for the RH, except the second finger begins on Gb. Finally, play the scale with hands together.  
  2. Examine line 48d. This is an inversion of line 48c, since the Eb below and Gb above are exchanged to a Gb below and Eb above. This inversion results in E-flat harmonic minor harmonized below in sixths or simply E-flat harmonic minor in sixths. Play the RH alone ascending and descending a few times slowly. Now do the same with the LH. Notice that the LH fingering is the same as the E-flat minor fingering for the RH, except the fourth finger begins on Gb. Finally, play the scale with hands together. 
  3. Examine line 48e. This is 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 48c, except the Eb below and Gb above are separated with an extra octave. The fingering is the same for both variations of the scale.
  4. Now, repeat steps 1-3 with E-flat melodic minor in thirds, sixths, tenths in lines 49c-49e. Everything is the same here, except the 6th and 7th tones (C-D) are raised when ascending but lowered when descending (Db-Cb). Take extra caution that the two successive note pairs C-D (ascending) and Db-Cb (descending) occur at different times in each hand.
  5. For lines 48c-48e and 49c-49e, aim for a metronome speed of 84 bpm for each eighth note. Practice these six lines one after another memorized.   

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. Everything must be memorized.

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

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