Hi,

I hope this is not the wrong forum for this kind of question, but I know many people here in the MT forum know their way around a piano so I figured I'd ask this here.

I've been playing guitar for a long time (about 8 years), and recently got interested in the piano/keyboard as well. I know that on guitar, you can learn "box patterns", which you can shift around to get to the same scale in different keys. Now, I know box patterns are a bad habit, and I have already found some ways to break out of them on the guitar and use the whole fretboard. Anyway,
I've noticed that when you search the internet for "learn piano", most sites tell you to learn every scale once per every note in a key. That is, the same scale, twelve times. But, isn't there a better way to play scales on a piano? Something along the lines of guitar, where you learn a simple pattern and shift it around?
Or is learning the interval formulas (in half-steps whole-steps) for every scale the best way?
Interval formulas. Pianos have black notes for #s and bs.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
Quote by AlanHB
Interval formulas. Pianos have black notes for #s and bs.

Then, how do all these keyboard and piano players map out their scales so quickly? They switch between them really fast. Do they just use the interval formulas and map out the scales using them, in their minds, really quickly?
^^^ It probably became natural over time, just like the guitar.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
It's practice. You learn notes and intervals instead of shapes. So if you're doing this super fast c minor run, you just hit a c then a d your brain says "we're in a minor key so the next note is a half step" so you hit the Eb. It just becomes second nature after a while.

Actually, there are "shapes" for the scales. Different finger patterns. But you don't need to follow them exactly to play the piano well.
Originally posted by primusfan
When you crank up the gain to 10 and switch to the lead channel, it actually sounds like you are unjustifiably bombing an innocent foreign land.

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Quote by robbit10
Hi,

I hope this is not the wrong forum for this kind of question, but I know many people here in the MT forum know their way around a piano so I figured I'd ask this here.

I've been playing guitar for a long time (about 8 years), and recently got interested in the piano/keyboard as well. I know that on guitar, you can learn "box patterns", which you can shift around to get to the same scale in different keys. Now, I know box patterns are a bad habit, and I have already found some ways to break out of them on the guitar and use the whole fretboard. Anyway,
I've noticed that when you search the internet for "learn piano", most sites tell you to learn every scale once per every note in a key. That is, the same scale, twelve times. But, isn't there a better way to play scales on a piano? Something along the lines of guitar, where you learn a simple pattern and shift it around?
Or is learning the interval formulas (in half-steps whole-steps) for every scale the best way?

I learned them in all keys. I never thought about interval formulas. You think of it as circle of fifths and usually you work up to more sharps and flats. Most start with C bc of this.
I have fresh experience of this preparing for my grade five piano exam for which ABRSM require you to learn the major and minor scales over three octaves in every key. I definitely don't think about interval patterns anymore. That was helpful when I was starting off learning to play guitar, but the process I'm most conscious of is that of associating the scale I'm about to play with the specific accidentals I'll need to play to pull it off.

Personally I mentally group the different scales into the ones with similar fingering patterns. So C, G, D, A and E major go together. B, F# and Db is the second group of the major scales. And the rest are the ones I had to learn individually and couldn't be gotten down using similar hand movements to other scales - F, Bb, Eb and Ab majors.

Also practice, playing through the scales hands separately and together everyday, and adding new ones slowly over time.
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Last edited by Nietsche at Jun 28, 2013,
Nietsche is right. You do want to learn them in those groups.

If you are learning the piano, you'd be well served by buying Hanon's 40 exercise book. It will show you conventional fingerings for the scales and some finger indepedence exercises. Then after a year, you really don't need them anymore.

To be honest, I never practiced scales that much and I am not sure you need to IF you play a lot of classical repetoire. In time, you will just eventually learn them.

If you aren't reading much sheet music and spend most time improvising, then you'd be better practicing scales more often.