Are Piano Scales Important?

Whether you’re an accomplished composer/orchestrator or a newbie who’s just learning the piano, you need to focus your practice on the basics, such as going through your scales.

Many students are dubious. It’s a common reaction to want to get to the “good stuff” and skip over tedious, repetitive exercises. But practicing the scales confers many benefits, some of which are obvious, and some of which are subtle. If you gloss over these exercises, you may wind up building your technique on a bad foundation.

Benefits of Playing Scales Mindfully and Methodically

1. Scales can help you develop a coherent, complete understanding of the various keys.

Increasing your understanding of the keys also hones your intuition for playing in both classical and improvisational styles. For instance, say you complete a Circle of Fifths exercise prior to every practice session. You will develop both an ear and intuitive “hand feel” for which notes belong in which keys.

2. Practicing scales improves your dexterity, technique, and overall mindfulness of playing.

It’s not enough simply to “go through the motions” of playing the scales. You need to put your full attention to the task. This mindfulness will put you in the zone to play better. Proper, methodical technique is what is ultimately going to allow you to play beautiful, complicated pieces by the likes of Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff.

3. The discipline will focus you for further tasks.

We all have only a limited amount of time and energy to practice the piano. Even prodigies who devote 8 or 10 hours a day ultimately must take care of other needs.

To make the most intense use of the time that you have, you must continually refine and make progress on the skills that will give you an incremental advantage. There is something truly wonderful – affirming, encouraging, etc — about slowly, methodically seeing improvement. You won’t see the fruits of your labors immediately! But over the long-term, you will reap rewards by sticking to this basic discipline.

For help purchasing the best piano for practicing, recording or performing, connect with the team here at Pianos Plus. For over four decades, we’ve been assisting students, professionals, and everyone in between with their piano needs.