The Music Corner for Piano Lovers

The Surprising Benefit of Pentascales

28 Sep 2014 News

Students are often taught to play pentascales in the manner described below to achieve a very legato tone. However, I've discovered the same exercise can also help you achieve better tone and sound quality. If you've been told you play tentatively or timidly or that you need to play louder, you'll benefit from this exercise.

Play hands separate first and then hands together. Start on C - or any other note - and play the first five notes of the major scale. Position your hand over the keys, lift and drop, going deep into the bed of the keyboard. Holding the first note down, lift the next finger in preparation to strike the next note. Release the first key only when you've fully depressed the second. Go very slow, listening to each note as you play.

Repeat a half step higher, until you've gone all the way up an octave. The pentascales you play in this manner should sound so beautiful that it's all you want to play.

Start your daily practice session with this exercise, and you'll hear the difference in the repertoire you play. Tailor it to whatever you're practicing. If you're playing a piece in E Major, start on E and work your way up to the next E. You can play minor scales, augmented, or diminished scales as well.

You can also practice this lift-drop exercise when you're not at the piano, although naturally you'll get the most benefit from it when you are at the piano. You'll find this exercise especially useful, too, when you're working to bring out the melody line in a piece.



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