Playing around with the F Major Scale


Rethinking how to teach scales. 

This is the second iteration of teaching a full octave scale.

This is for getting the sounds in your ear and the geometry of the scale in the hands.

After going full circle with the full octave scales you (or a student of yours) should have a really solid idea of the difference between half steps and whole steps. 

(A whole step is two keys with a key in between, and a half step is two adjacent keys.)- 

Another takeaway from the videos is the tonic-dominant relationship. While I am not actually saying what they are, I am introducing the vocabulary. This is priming a student for future learning. 

At this point, I don't care if they know scale degrees or their names. I also am not focusing on reading the notes on a staff. The point is to play the scales all over the piano, and not just in one location. 

These are not one hand scales. As a two handed exercise, it is great for getting connections between both halves of the...

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4 note scales


Do you teach 4 note scales? They are often called tetrachords, but I am moving away from the term to make playing and understanding them easier for students.

This summer has been the summer of deconstructing how I teach. I want to make it easier for my students to learn what I am teaching, and I want to increase the efficiency of online teaching.

Once again, I'm  Chicken-and-egging-it to have students learn scales and key signatures. 

For teaching root position triads, it is helpful to have a student learn 5 note scales. 

However, for full octave scales and 7th chords, using the 4 note scales is more useful. And, teaching the 4 octave scales by going around the circle of 5ths backwards seems to be an effective way of reinforcing the relationships between the keys.

All of this seems really complicated in words, but the graphic library for the 4 note scales I'm working on makes it easy for a student to do in a lesson. 

Every online lesson I am now...

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Without a name, a key becomes invisible


Have you ever had a student play a "B flat" when you asked him to play a "C flat?"

Or an "F sharp" instead of an "E sharp?"

Earlier this year I started making mini videos to help my online students (which is all of my students, at the moment) learn 5 note scales and root position triads for all of the keys. 

The video series includes the enharmonic keys like F sharp/G flat. I ended up making 7 1-minute videos for the names of all the keys, including all of the black keys. No musical staff here. That comes later. People learn the names of their friends before they learn to spell them. Right?

The 7 minute mini course is free and you can find it here:

Know the keys of the piano by name

Happy playing!



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Getting Right Hand Right!


Getting left and right confused is a really common problem for piano students (actually, for people in general). 

In this video you will learn a simple exercise that you can teach your students to set them on the path to getting right right. All of the time.

Once you teach it to your students, have them repeat it 20-30 times a day for a few weeks (it only takes 5-10 seconds each time). 

I learned it at Alderwood Vision Therapy when my son was having vision therapy for a learning and processing issue.

Happy Teaching,


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