A tip for practicing scales on piano

Full confession: I LOVE to practice scales! (There, I’ve said it. Now we can all get on with our lives.)

Yes, I do love to practice scales, and at certain times in my life I practiced them for 15 minutes – 1 hour daily.  At one point, though, I realized that my hands weren’t 100% in sync with one another. My scales were a little uneven in that sometimes the RH would press the key before the LH and vice versa. It was almost imperceptible, but a big deal since I wanted them to be absolutely clean. The notes in each hand should be played absolutely together.

After some observation,  I realized that I was “leading” with my right hand. By this I mean that my mind was focused almost entirely on my right hand, while my left hand was left to merely follow along. So as an experiment, I tried focusing 90% of my attention on my left hand and letting it “push” my right hand up and down the scale. To my joy, this worked wonders with my scale playing. My scales became much cleaner and “unison,” practically overnight.

I’m not sure if it makes a difference that I’m right-handed. It might simply be that most piano music has the melodic material in the right hand part so we focus more on that than the left hand accompaniment. I don’t know. But I do know that, for me, focusing most of my attention on my LH during unison scalar passages makes a huge difference in how the music sounds. I’m more in control of the notes and I feel like my arms are more “balanced.”

Try this for yourself. I’d be interested to hear how it works for you, or if you have any of your own scale tips to share. Thanks, and good luck with your piano playing!

Here are some fun and creative ways to keep your piano scale practice fresh and interesting: How To Get The Most Out Of Practicing Scales

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