Music Scales Practice Technique of Grouping Notes


in Methods

Practicing or playing music scales can be a boring task for many music students. This is because the practice of grouping notes is not well communicated to the student.

Improved Practicing Music Scales Method

In first learning a scale the issue is with learning the notes and fingerings. The best method for starting a scale depends upon the instrument you are learning. Here are some guidelines that apply to all instruments.

  1. Start slowly by fingering and playing each note of the scale.
  2. Repeat the process 10 times (for piano players, each hand separately then together)
  3. Speed up the process until this fingering and playing feels smooth.
  4. Play with a metronome and increase the speed a couple of beats per minute. (don’t move up the speed until you can comfortably play the scale smoothly)

Now this is a rote method of simply playing a scale over and over and quickly becomes boring. So to make the scale more interesting and to improve your playing ability you will want to add groupings to the notes.

Grouping Notes

Grouping of notes will play a part in your ability to emphasize the phrases of a song. It helps in providing control, dexterity, and finesse, so practicing them in combination with scales is a great way to develop this skill.

What do we mean by grouping the notes?

This is the act of accenting a note and then playing other notes soft working louder up to a new accent note. This like a wave that crashes then builds again to the next big crash.

In scale practice this becomes grouping notes in this fashion. Accenting the downbeat and then playing the next notes soft, medium, medium loud, and loud.

Practice Scales Sound Level

The group is in four and the graphic here illustrates the process.

This grouping of fours could be done with sixteenth notes so every beat gets accented or with quarter notes to accent every measure. Often this meter can be revised so that the third beat is even a little weaker on the loud scale.

Practicing the groupings and applying the accents now provides for a deeper and less boring practice.

For the Keyboard or Piano

For the keyboard and piano player this grouping technique and accents can be heard very clearly on both the acoustic and digital piano.

Also the fingering of scales when played across four octaves requires that each finger learns to play the accented note somewhere in that practice. Because the thumb is such a dominate player this technique helps improve the skill and control of all fingers.

Check it out on your keyboard. Playing a C major Scale the pattern of the right hand is 3 and 4. As you cross the thumb under it will be just before the next accent and the index finger will get the accent two times in a round then it will move to the middle finger and so forth.

At the end of the four octaves you will accent with the fifth finger before coming back down the scale.


Adding the grouping concept to any instrument will improve your control and skill in emphasizing your melody or rhythm finesse. Incorporate this concept into your practice session and see if it doesn’t give you a new outlook on your music scale practice.

Reference lessons:

Scales page or Scale and Key Workshop

LILIAN G. February 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

ur website is cool self explanatory.thanks

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