Scales as propaganda

Elissa Milne

Why do we require our students to learn scales?

It’s heresy, really, to suggest giving piano lessons without teaching students the full range of major, harmonic and melodic minor patterns. Not teaching scales would be seen as gross negligence, in fact; a kind of failure to innoculate, or a musical malnourishment that would only happen in the worst of circumstances; a pedagogical incompetence, perhaps, or a breathtaking breach of duty of care.

But why? What is it that scales (and arpeggios) deliver that simply cannot be gained any other way?

Teachers respond quite naturally with issues such as finger strength and velocity. And scales do focus on these two important skills of execution. But scales are certainly not the sole means available to piano teachers to develop a student’s finger power and speed.

Some teachers might add that scales allow students to develop tonal control and evenness of touch, and…

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10 Things You Should Do BEFORE Your Child Begins Piano Lessons

Elissa Milne

This is a quick checklist of things to do, buy, learn and decide before your child has their very first piano lesson.

Working your way through this checklist will speed up your child’s learning curve, possibly by months (maybe more!), and once you’ve covered every item below you will be a superbly equipped parent entering into the role of nurturing the growth of a new little (or not so little) pianist.

1. Buy a piano. This may or may not seem like a no-brainer to you. In case it’s not, let me explain. Your child will not make progress without a piano at home with which they can practice between lessons. So until you have a piano don’t bother organising to take piano lessons. Unless your goal is to pay for really expensive babysitting.

Ideally you will buy a good quality acoustic piano, but there might be reasons why you…

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