Weighing in on the Benefits of EasyScales

March 2nd, 2013 by

Do you keep a box of tools that immediately solve the problem, make things clear, bring on the “aha” moment you always

cherish as a teacher?

My ever-growing stash is stored in my piano bench. I recently added a new tool which will be implemented again and again as mastering scale finger is always a priority but never easy. First, I make sure pianists learn how to construct a scale with whole and half steps (ex: major scale = half steps between scale degrees 3 and 4 and 7 and  8). Thanks to the aid of Susan Paradis printables and nifty idea using erasers, this concept is grasped with ease. All students not only learn the major scale “code” (34-78) but I require it to be encoded in their memory bank –comparable to their zip code.

After the pianist is familiar with these numbers, I encourage them to decipher a fingering plan for a scale beginning with the RH thumb and ending with the RH pinky (until the trickier black key scales come along!). Inevitably, the fingering is uncovered, of course with some gentle, sometimes generous, nudging from the teacher. Once the right hand fingering is

 discovered, the left hand seems to fall in place more easily. Many times it can be taught playing hands together in contrary motion. However, it is not easily memorized.

As you know, the trick about playing scales is not only mastering/memorizing  the finger patterns, but playing hands together in parallel motion. Back to the newly acquired tools I mentioned early. Easy Scales Visual Guides offer the perfect solution. This sleekly packaged set of  20 cards features a template for every major, harmonic and melodic scale. Setting a card or guide behind the black keys by the fall board lines up the correct finger with  the correct key on your piano.  The color-coded cards provide large-sized finger number for the RH in blue and LH in red with no need for conventional notation. Limiting the visual information to keys and finger numbers seems to be just the

concrete information to help scale enthusiasts grab on to the fingering for good.

The pictures demonstrate how to use them much better than I can explain it. What I can tell you with certainty is that my students have found these incredibly helpful as they master scale fingering as they see how third fingers line up together, etc.

Wait! Just had a thought–you could also use the EasyScale templates combined with the “W” and “H” cards and erasers pictured above for some fun off-the-bench activities. Oooh,  I’ll need to include that in my next group lesson agenda!

If you are interested in adding this tool to your treasure chest (or piano bench), you can order them from Jo Tee, the creator of these incredibly simple but effective visual guides. She lives in Singapore–apparently scale fingering is a global issue. :-) Check out the creative ways she suggests using the templates on her facebook page.

I’m always seeking and  thankful for tools that serve a purpose effectively.  Weighing the benefits, the design, the potential and the price tag, my “scale” tips in favor of employing EasyScales again and again.

 

Jo Tee’s EasyScales can be purchased from her website: www.pianoeasyscales.com.  
  • For the month of March she is offering a special deal for MusicTeachersHelper.com.  
  • Readers can receive 10% off the selling price with promo code ” MARCH10 ” 
  • The 10% offer is valid through March, 2013. Don’t miss out!
FYI: Here’s the purchase price in USD:
  • 1 set is USD$24.00 + Subsidised Shipping USD$3.00 = USD 27.00
  • A total of 6 sets or more in a single group order will qualify for our bulk order quantity.
  • Order 6-20 sets and receive 20% discount off regular price (USD 19.20 per set excluding shipping)
  • Order 21 sets onwards, and receive 30% discount off regular price ( USD $16.80 per set excluding shipping)
  • Shipping for bulk order to be advised upon order quantity. We subsidised up to 60% actual shipping cost depending on quantity.

 

 

 

Posted in Practicing, Product Reviews, Teaching Tips

About the Author

Leila Viss
Hi, I'm Leila Viss and enjoy teaching piano to around 45 students ranging in age from 6 to 89. I am drawn to discovering innovative teaching methods and successful practice strategies to encourage the average player stick to the bench for life. Customizing lessons for each student is a priority and therefore I provide "blended" instruction of Classical, Jazz and Pop. The ever-changing tools of tec... [Read more]

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