This pictorial system was devised, trialled and revised over several years by author and piano teacher Ellie Hallett before arriving at the system you see here.
There are three big asks involved in scale playing:
i) remembering the sharps and flats in each key signature;
ii) simultaneously reading the notation while playing;
iii) applying the correct fingering to the correct notes treble and bass,
sometimes hands separately and sometimes hands together.
As Easy as Pie Piano Scales removes, deletes and eliminates the frustrating and time-consuming first two problems.
The student is therefore able to fully concentrate on point iii) – the notes and fingering, thus streamlining the whole learning and memorisation process.
Other advantages with this method include:
- There are few, if any, time-wasting wrong turns along the way.
- Progress is rapid, more confident and less stressful for teachers and students.
- The learning and then un-learning of errors practised at home is a non-issue.
- The fingers are able to learn the track of each scale much more rapidly because the doubts and hesitations are removed.
- Practice time becomes more efficient and musically satisfying.
- The brain doesn't get tired!
- Scale quality improves because there is time to listen to what is being played.
- The outcomes are a happier student, impressed parents - and a thankful teacher.
As Easy as Pie Piano Scales are in an A4 landscape, wire-bound book designed to open easily so that it sits comfortably on your piano's music rest.
You don't even need a piano to practice!
On the left-hand side page there are two one-octave images of a real-size piano keyboard for desktop 'playing the page' to teach the fingers the feel and choreography of each scale for both left and right hands separately.
(Part of the right hand real-size fingering chart for F Melodoic Minor - Colour Edition)
On the right hand side page of each double spread, the fingering for two hands together is set out with the right-hand side fingers so the right hand finger positions are above and left hand finger positions below. This enables full concentration to be focussed on the actual notes to be played and the fingers that go on those notes, both hands together.
As on a real piano, the descending scale goes from right to left (i.e. backwards), again for easy reading.
For Melodic Minor scales, the reverse version of course requires different notes to be played. This is catered for by having these finger numbers in a pale version and on their new notes to guide the student accurately for the descending journey.
Additional information provided for each scale:
Ellie's book has taken the pain out of learning even complicated scales that I used to struggle over for a very long time. I wish I had had this book years ago.
-- Adult piano student Anne
I can now play my exam scales correctly the first time rather than struggling and making mistakes all over the place. The green and red colours are a huge help puting hands together. Thank you Ellie!
-- Nineteen year old boy, Grade 6 piano student John
I was really worried about my scales because I couldn't learn them no matter how hard I tried. This book made finding each scale easy, and I surprised my mum the first time I sat down and was able to play my hardest scale correctly and with the right fingers.
-- Twelve year old girl, Alex
About the Author
The pictorial system of learning and teaching scales in As Easy as Pie Piano Scales was designed and written by Ellie, the format gradually evolving over several years to become what you see in this book. The struggles unlearning practised-in errors was the catalyst that prompted this system.
Please also see www.musicworks.net.au for a wide range of original and zippy piano pieces and songs, ideas for sight reading excellence, Learn to Read Music by Drawing, My Weekly Lesson and Practice Logbook, plus easy-read articles on teaching and learning based on pedagogical research.