Sunday, March 20, 2016

How to Explain Minor Piano Scales & Positions to Kids

Teaching children to understand minor piano scales and fingerings requires explaining the concepts in a logical way that gives them time to absorb each concept. Learning to play scales can be accomplished only after the child has learned the numberings for each finger. The positions for each scale are simply a pattern of finger combinations which, when combined, allow the kids to play minor scales without getting their fingers tangled up into awkward positions. Teaching children piano from a young age provides them with the greatest chance to be a successful pianist.

Step 1 Teach the child the numbers of his fingers. Have him place his hands out in front, with the back of his hand facing his face. Teach him that the thumbs on both hands are numbered one. Then each finger outwards to the pinkie are numbered two through five.

Step 2 Teach the natural minor scales by relating them to major scales. Natural minor scales use the same fingerings as the major scale but are three half steps lower; this relationship between scales is referred to as relative. For instance, A minor and C major have the same key signature, so they are relative to each other. Tell the child to use the fingering for the major scale while playing the notes for the minor scale. The only difference between a C natural minor scale and a C major scale is the natural minor scale has a lowered third, sixth and seventh.

Step 3 Instruct the child to practice the scales very slowly, with one hand at a time. Start with the right hand and use the correct fingering for the scale, then teach the left hand. Start with the A minor scale first, since it is relative to the C major scale.

Step 4 Proceed through all the scales by moving through the circle of fifths, starting with the sharps. For instance, A minor has no sharps, so the next scale will be e minor since it has one sharp. Then, B minor with two sharps. Once all of the sharps have been learned, move on to the flat key signatures, starting with D minor.

Don't worry about teaching fingering position. It is easier for the child to learn the numbers of her fingers and what numbers to use for each note of the scale. The first three finger positions of an A minor scale are 1, 2, 3 followed by 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Have him play the first four notes with the first three fingers, bring the thumb under the hand to play the fourth note, F. Then, continue up the scale using the index finger for G, the middle finger for A, the ring finger for B and finally hitting the octave C with the pinkie. Descend in the same direction.