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Piano Instruction: Learning the F# minor scale (video)

I made this video after plunking the “devil” beside Bb Major in my previous blog, so if you review the basic approach in that post, you’ll get my sway about scales in general. It’s always better to think in GROUPS rather than individual notes.

For F# minor in its Natural or PURE form, let’s cut to the chase:

F# G# A B C# D E F# G# A B C# D E F#

It’s related to its daddy or mommy, “A” Major (depending on your gender classification preference) so it contains THREE SHARPS: F#, C# and G#

In all Natural Minors, there are half steps between scale degrees 2 and 3, and 5 and 6.

Note the fingering adjustment at the very beginning in the Right Hand only.

Play the first two notes F# and G# with RH fingers 2 and 3
(In the video, I explain why)

The Left Hand uses fingers 4 and 3 on the same notes (F# and G#)

In every subsequent octave, the sequence of F# to G# will be played as MIRROR fingers (LH: 4,3 RH: 3,4) so it’s a great idea to chunk these groups across the piano, remembering to cap the scale at the top with fingers 3 in both hands on F#.

The chunking should be UP and DOWN to four octaves.

These notes should also be chunked across the keyboard (4 octave model) A, B (LH 2,1 RH 1,2) MIRROR Fingerings


D, E (LH 2,1 RH 1,2 ) MIRROR Fingerings

3’s meet on C# in both hands after the initial intro into the scale with the adjustment fingering previously mentioned.

Pinpoint these 3’s on C# and travel across the keyboard up and down.

The last step is chunking all pertinent note groups with the inserted finger no. 3 points on C#.. Just make sure to cap the scale with 3’s in both hands and to end the scale coming down with the adjusted fingering (RH..3 to 2, G# to F#)

Above and beyond the groupings enumerated, I tend to focus my attention on the F#, G# portions of the scale as these are raised notes in pairs, so I pivot toward them as the
core of this 4-octave step-wise progression.

Finally practice the scale with a Legato touch–smooth, connected at a MF dynamic (Medium Loud)

quarters 2 octaves
8ths 2 octaves
triplets 3 octaves
16ths 4 octaves
Follow with a pair of staccato 16ths to 4 octaves (medium loud MF/mp)

For more advanced students, add 32nd notes, legato/staccato


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