5 Fun Ways to Teach and Practice Scales for Piano

5 Fun Ways to Teach and Practice Scales for Piano

A guide to making scale practice more interesting and engaging for piano students of all ages.

Learning scales is an essential part of piano practice, but it can be easy for students to find it tedious or boring. To make scale practice more fun and engaging, we’ve compiled a list of five creative and enjoyable ways to learn and practice scales.

Teach scales by using improvisation

Learning scales can be a challenging task for piano students, but it doesn’t have to be boring. One of the best ways to make scale practice more engaging is by incorporating improvisation. By providing a context for the scale, improvisation can make learning scales more interesting and relevant for students.

To use improvisation in your lessons, you can start by teaching your student a simple chord progression that they can use as an accompaniment while they improvise with the scale. Encourage your student to experiment with different patterns and articulations while they play. By the end of the exercise, your student will know the scale inside out, while also having fun with it.

Key takeaways:

  • Improvisation can provide a fun and engaging context for learning scales.
  • Using a simple chord progression as an accompaniment is an effective way to support improvisation.

Teach Scales and Chords at the Same Time

Another way to make scale practice more fun and engaging is by allowing your students to accompany themselves playing the scale. This can help students develop their overall musicianship skills, as well as their sense of independence.

To use this method, you can guide your student through the process of creating a simple chord progression and recording it onto their device. This way, they can play along with the backing track and focus on their technique and musicality.

Key takeaways:

  • Allowing students to accompany themselves while playing the scale can be a fun and empowering experience.
  • Creating a simple backing track can help students develop their overall musicianship skills.

Compose a Song by Teaching Scales

Composing with scales can be a great way to help students understand the importance of scales in music. By using a scale as a jumping off point for a new composition, students can see the practical application of scales in music.

To use this method, you can guide your student through the process of creating a bass line using a chord progression in the new key and writing it out on staff paper for the left hand. Then, you can play this new left-hand part for them on repeat while they experiment with the scale to come up with a melodic motif. Show them how to use this motif to create a piece with a simple musical form such as ABA.

Key takeaways:

  • Composing with scales can help students see the practical applications of scales in music.
  • Creating a melody with a scale can be a fun and creative way to explore scales.

Host a Studio-wide Scale Challenge

Introducing a competitive element to scale practice can be a great way to motivate students to practice more regularly and consistently. This can be done through a variety of different challenges, such as point systems and checklists.

To use this method, you can create a studio-wide challenge with points awarded for every scale learned at different tempos. The points can be recorded in the student’s folder or on a wall chart. You can even set up a plastic tube for each student that you fill with tokens as they gain points. This can be a fun and exciting way to get students to practice scales and develop their skills.

Key takeaways:

  • Adding a competitive element to scale practice can motivate students to practice more.
  • Scale challenges can be tailored to fit the needs and interests of individual students.

Teaching Scales Using Musiclock

Another fun and engaging way to practice scales is by using technology. Musiclock is an app that can make scale practice more enjoyable and interactive for students.

This app offers a wide range of scales, including major, major pentatonic, minor pentatonic, natural minor, melodic minor, harmonic minor, blues, and dominant bebop. In addition, it provides various backing tracks in different styles and tempos that match the chosen scale.

To use Musiclock, the student selects a scale and a backing track. The app allows the student to change the key of the backing track and start playing along with it using the on-screen keyboard.

The app also offers a guitar setting that displays guitar fret charts instead of a piano keyboard, making it a versatile tool for students of different instruments.

Using Musiclock during lessons or at home can help students practice scales in a fun and creative way while improving their improvisation skills and ear training.

Key takeaways:

Musiclock is a fun and interactive way to practice scales.

The app offers a wide range of scales and backing tracks in different styles and tempos.

It can help students improve their improvisation skills and ear training.

Using Coloring Sheets to Track Scale Progress

The perfect tool to track piano students’ progress around the circle of fifths for major and minor scales and pentascales.

Not only does this chart provide a structured way to monitor progress, but it also allows students to create a beautiful piece of art as they color in each section they have mastered.

Challenge your students to practice each scale for three consecutive weeks and earn the opportunity to color in a specific section for each scale they master. You can customize the challenge and add your own twist, such as incorporating metronome or backing tracks.

Using coloring charts is an excellent way to motivate students to learn new scales and complete challenges. Keep the pages in your studio to ensure they remain safe and easily accessible for comparison to other students’ progress, which can be a great motivator.

Learning and practicing scales is an essential part of piano education. However, it doesn’t have to be a tedious or boring task. By incorporating creative and engaging methods into scale practice, such as improvisation, alternative accompaniment, composing with scales, scale challenges, and Musiclock, we can make the process more enjoyable and effective for our students.

We hope that these five fun ways to learn and practice scales for piano will inspire you to try out new and exciting methods with your students. Remember to always make scale practice a positive and enjoyable experience, and your students will be more motivated to practice and improve their skills.

Looking for fun and engaging ways to practice scales? Check out our Scale Tracker Coloring Worksheets.

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