Weighing in the Benefits of Easy Scales

Do you keep a box of tools that immediately solve the problem, make things clear, bring on the “aha” moment you always cherish as a teacher?

My ever-growing stash is stored in my piano bench. I recently added a new tool which will be implemented again and again as mastering scale fingering is always a priority but never easy. First, I make sure pianists learn how to construct a scale with whole and half-steps (ex: major scale = half steps between scale degrees 3 and 4 and 7 and  8). Thanks to the aid of Susan Paradis printables and nifty idea using erasers, this concept is grasped with ease. All students not only learn the major scale “code” (34-78) but I require it to be encoded in their memory bank –comparable to their zip code.

After the pianist is familiar with these numbers, I encourage them to decipher finger numbers for a scale beginning with the RH thumb and ending with the RH pinky (until the trickier black key scales come along!). Inevitably, the fingering is uncovered, of course with some gentle, sometimes generous, nudging from the teacher. Once the right hand fingering is discovered, the left hand seems to fall in place more easily. Many times it can be taught playing hands together in contrary motion. However, it is not easily memorized.

As you know, the trick about playing scales is not only mastering/memorizing  the finger patterns, but playing hands together in parallel motion. Back to the newly acquired tools I mentioned early. Easy Scales Visual Guides offer the perfect solution. This sleekly packaged set of  20 cards features a template for every major, harmonic and melodic scale. Setting a card or guide behind the black keys by the fall board lines up the correct finger with the correct key on your piano.  The color-coded cards provide large-sized finger number for the RH in blue and LH in red with no need for conventional notation. Limiting the visual information to keys and finger numbers seems to be just the concrete information to help scale enthusiasts grab on to the fingering for good.

The pictures demonstrate how to use them much better than I can explain it. What I can tell you with certainty is that my students have found these incredibly helpful as they master scale fingering.

Wait! Just had a thought–you could also use the EasyScale templates combined with the “W” and “H” cards and erasers pictured above for some fun off-the-bench activities. Oooh,  I’ll need to include that in my next group lesson agenda!

If you are interested in adding this tool to your treasure chest (or piano bench), you can order them from Jo Tee, the creator of these incredibly simple but effective visual guides. She lives in Singapore–apparently scale fingering is a global issue. 🙂 Check out the creative ways she suggests using the templates on her facebook page. I’m always seeking and thankful for tools that serve a purpose effectively.  Weighing the benefits, the design, the potential and the price tag, my “scale” tips in favor of employing EasyScales again and again. Jo Tee’s EasyScales can be purchased from her website: www.pianoeasyscales.com.

FYI: Here’s the purchase price in USD:
  • 1 set is USD$24.00 + Subsidised Shipping USD$3.00 = USD 27.00
  • A total of 6 sets or more in a single group order will qualify for our bulk order quantity.
  • Order 6-20 sets and receive 20% discount off regular price (USD 19.20 per set excluding shipping)
  • Order 21 sets onwards, and receive 30% discount off regular price ( USD $16.80 per set excluding shipping)
  • Shipping for bulk order to be advised upon order quantity. We subsidised up to 60% actual shipping cost depending on quantity.

GOOD NEWS! For the month of March Jo Tee is offering a special deal for.88pianokeys.me! Readers can receive 10% off the selling price with promo code ” MARCH10 “

The 10% offer is valid through March, 2013. Don’t miss out.

EVEN BETTER NEWS! Jo Tee has sent me three Easy Scales to give away for free! Sorry, shipping not included.

To be eligible to win, please sign up for the 88pianokeys.me newsletter (if you have not done so already) AND make a comment about how you imagine using EasyScales. Winners will be randomly selected and announced at March 29th!


viss_leila-3465_14ret_cropYou are welcome to SIGN UP FOR THE 88pianokeys.me NEWSLETTER HERE

FYI: Stay tuned for a blog from a NEW contributor to 88CreativeKeys.com, Bradley Sowash and I are thrilled to have him on board!
PS: If you were at the MTNA conference did you happen to see the new Simpletek magazine?
It is a terrific new magazine published by Tom Folenta
which features wonderful articles and even features one by me. Pretty cool…

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Leila Viss

Creative Pianist, Piano Teacher, Organist, Blogger and Author of The iPad Piano Studio

22 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I’d use the scale cards for both my piano & my theory students. They always seem to have trouble remembering where the half-steps are.

  • This looks like a great tool. My visual learners always struggle with reading scale information on the page. I am always on the lookout for tactile tools. Pick me! Pick me!

  • I’ve found the eraser WH step game from Susan Paradis very helpful with my students. I’m sure the Easy Scales would be another great addition to help w/ fingering… especially for the tricky scales w/ unusual fingering! These would be fun to use during our studio “All Star Scales Contest.” Students get to move their baseball player around the bases by playing scales correctly w/ the metronome to try and earn a homerun (Babe Ruth Candy bar).. but 3 strikes(mistakes of any kind) and they’re OUT, until the next lesson. 🙂 It’s great to actually have my students asking if they can play their scales for me at the beginning of the lesson.

  • I can see using this in combination with the Major/ Minor Scales Picture Workbooks. Some students need all the visual help they can get! 🙂 I would love to win this!

  • How I would like to use this in my Community College Beginning Piano Class..Many adult visual learners there who would feel so comfortable using these fantastic visual aids of Easy Scales. Everyone would want a set!

  • Keeping my fingers crossed to win this! Not only do I want to try it out in my personal studio…..I think that this would be something that other teachers in my area would enjoy using. Would like introducing this to the owner of the piano store where I work to carry in her store.

  • I am always looking for a new way to teach scales – they can be so boring for some students! This would be awesome to introduce to my music teacher’s association, too. We are always looking for new ideas!

  • I know my students would love this format; seeing fingerings lined up together would be helpful to them! i would also use a dry erase marker with them to mark half and whole steps; use them to discover key signatures; and use them for scale challenges (pick a card, any card…lol) when a student feels they are ready. Thanks for the opportunity to win the set!

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