C Major Scale - Piano - Two Ways (video)
Updated: Sep 26, 2020
Alright, today we're going to talk about the C major scale and a couple of different approaches to playing that scale. So, just a quick note on fingering here, there's a whole lot of different ways that you can finger scales on the piano, um, but every hand is made differently, so this approach might work really well for you or another one might work better, uh, and we'll be covering different ones later on in other videos.
So just a quick review of what the notes are in the C major scale. We're going to start here, this is C4, this is C5 and we're going to go C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. Remember C major can be an easier one to start with because we're playing all of the white notes and none of the black notes. So, again, that's just going to be C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C and then coming the other direction it's just the opposite: C, B, A, G, F, E, D, C. So let's start by just reviewing the numbers that we assign to our fingers when we're playing the piano. So, here's my right hand and, um, we're going to start with our thumb which is going to be finger number 1, the pointer finger is finger 2, your middle finger is finger 3, your ring finger is finger 4, and your pinky is finger 5. And then, same thing over here on the left hand which looks the mirror of your right hand of course, your thumb is still finger number 1, your pointer is still finger number 2, middle is finger 3, ring is finger 4, and pinky is finger 5.
So we're going to start off with, um, playing the scale with our right hand. We're going to just start with an ascending scale which of course means that we're going to start at the bottom of the scale and go up to the top. And, um, we're going to start with our thumb on middle C here - so you're looking down over my keyboard, this is middle C, C4. And we're going to start with our thumb there so I'm going to show you a method where we're going to cross our thumb under our other fingers and, um, that method's going to look like this.
So let's break that down. We're going to start out by going finger 1, 2, 3, and then we're going to cross the thumb under to F, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. S let's see that again: 1, 2, 3, under with your thumb, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. If you're playing multiple octave scales you might want to cross a second time so that you can keep playing that scale fluidly but for now we're just going to work on a single-octave scale. So, once you've gotten all the way up to the top, we're going to talk about the descending scale which is the one that starts at the top and goes down to the bottom.
And, for the descending scale we're going to do the exact opposite of what we did with the ascending scale. So, you'll start with your, uh, your pinky, your 5th finger and then go down 4, 3, 2, 1. Then you're going to cross over this time with your 3rd finger to E, 3, 2, 1. So let's see that again. We're going to go 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, cross over with your 3rd finger, 3, 2, 1. Alright.
So, there's another method that uses similar fingering to this but doesn't cross the thumb under like this but rather we move our whole hand, and that can work better for some students so let's uh, I'm going to go over this technique here now. So it's going to be the same fingering, that same 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 but instead of doing a cross we're just going to move the hand over. So it's going to look like this. Let's see that again.
And now to break that one down, we've got 1, 2, 3, move your whole hand over, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. And for this and actually similarly when you're crossing your hand, you want to make sure that you're landing with one finger on each note here, so your thumb's going to be hovering over the F, your uh, 2nd finger over G, your 3rd over A, 4th over B, and your pinky over C.
So, that uh, second method for the ascending scale is going to look like this. now, similarly to the thumb crossing method, the hand over method is going to be the opposite in the descending scale that it was from the ascending scale.So you're going to start on your pinky just like you did before, come down to your 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, but instead of crossing we're going to move the whole hand, 3rd, 2nd, 1st. So it's going to go 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1. See that again, a little slower. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1.
So, let's um, do the ascending and descending scales together. I'm going to show you the uh, thumb cross version first and then the hand over version, so this is going to be the crossing version ascending and descending. And then with the hand over.
Alright, so now that we've got the right hand down let's talk about the left hand. So, starting again C4 and we're going to play it with our pinky this time in our left hand. And we're going to do the same thing that we did for, um, the descending scale scale in the right hand. So you're going to start with your 5th, and then 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, and then we're going to cross over with our 3rd, 2nd, 1st. Right, this is of course the crossing method, so you're going to go 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1. So let's show that a little slower, we've got 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, cross over with your 3rd finger, 3, 2, 1. And then the descending scale is going to be the exact opposite just like it was in the right hand. So you're going to go 1, 2, 3, under with your thumb, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.Let's do that again a little slower, 1, 2, 3, under with your thumb, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Now, same thing as with the right hand, the hand over method's got the same fingers, but we're going to move the whole hand instead of crossing the thumb or the 3rd finger. So, we'll have 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, move your whole hand, 3, 2, 1. And similarly the descending scale is just going to be the opposite of the ascending scale so you'll have 1, 2, 3, move your whole hand, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Let's see that a little slower, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Alright, so just to show the ascending and then descending scale together, we're going to do the cross method first here with your left hand. And with the hand over method.
So in terms of practicing scales, there's a lot of different ways that you can do that. Um, I recommend that you work on memorizing the notes, the fingering, note accuracy, you can work on all these things separately, but I also really highly recommend the use of a metronome. Um, I'll be doing another video later on about metronome use in practice, so be sure to check that out and I will link to it in the description once I have that one up. Uh, until then, keep playing!