Friday, October 23, 2020

Piano Teaching Tips for the Chromatic Scale

Piano Teaching Tips Chromatic Scales

It's a bit ironic that the word chromatic means colorful, but in piano its all black and white.  These rote piano teaching pieces are a great way to introduce both the layout of the keys and the piano fingering of chromatic skills. 

Chromatic Scale Keyboard Layout

While the chromatic scale is often not addressed until later method books, I strategically introduce this early on in a piano student's journey because of the foundation it provides.  One of the very first rote pieces that my students gain a lot of confidence playing is "I Love Coffee" from Piano Safari.  In lessons I refer to it as the half step song.  Students first learn the piece just use a hopping finger 2 to play the half step passages. This allows them to initially just focus on the the pattern of playing every single key without the complexity of fingering.

Chromatic Scale Fingering 

The finger 3 key black key rule is usually easy for students to grasp but the 1-2 white white key combos, can be a bit trickier. A fun way that really gets the fingering pattern embedded in their mind and muscle memory is to adapt the fingering of  Piano Safari Rote Piece "I Like Bananas".  Although  the original fingering  of this piece uses alternating hands, the repeating half step patterns can be a perfect memory aid for chromatic scale fingering because it is broken down into smaller melodic chunks.  Students could sing "I Like Chromatic...Yes Yes Yes" or for extra reinforcement they could sing the fingering.  For the right hand sing, "1-3-3-1-3;1-3-3-1-3; 1-2-2-1-2-3-3-3."  

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