This Article is About
major and minor scales
basic building blocks
c major scale
white keys
half steps
two fingers
playing the piano
memorization
How To Play Piano – Major And Minior Scales
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If you really want to learn how to play piano, not just memorize songs, but actually how to play any song and how to make up your own and play by ear and all the really fun stuff that comes from with playing the piano (because memorization is useful, but not really that fun)... If you want to learn how to fish, instead of just getting a few fish dumped in your lap, you need to learn major and minor scales. And not just memorizing them, but how they work, as well as chords and keys and how it all fits together.

Scales are one of the basic building blocks of music. If you know a scale, plus some chords that fit in the scale, you can play a song. It doesn't have to be complicated at all. You just need to know the patterns.

One of the first things you'll learn as a beginning piano student is how to play a C major scale. It's one of the easiest keys on the piano, because you only use the white keys and it's easy to remember. Once you know how to find middle C, you just play up from there to the next C: middle C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. Start on your thumb and move your thumb to the F when you get to it, passing the thumb under your two fingers, to do the easiest fingering for it. Now you know your first scale.

Look at the keys you played—the white ones—and the keys you skipped—the black ones. Every key on the piano, both white and black, is called a half step. Two half steps make a whole step. In these terms, a major scale is whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. I usually think of the pattern as start-skip-skip-next-skip-skip-skip-next. All you have to do is memorize that pattern, and you can play any major scale. If you want to play an E scale, then, it's E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E.

The pattern for a minor scale is whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole. Or, as I like to think of it, start-skip-next-skip-skip-next-skip-skip. A C minor scale is C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C. This is the natural minor scale. There are two other kinds of minor scales, too: harmonic and melodic. Minor scales are fun to play because they sound different than most of the music we hear, which tends to be based on major scales. Minor scales can sound creepy or sad, but you can play them to be cheerful and interesting, too. It all depended on what you want to do.

Once you're comfortable with the building blocks of music, you'll be able to play piano any way you want. You won't just be following music by rote, but actually understanding it, and that's makes all the difference. Owning your musical education is the most important step is learning how to play piano.


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