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Scale-tone Practice Patterns
Page One - in C



One of the main motivations for learning and practicing scales is to help the hands become familiar with the 'keyboard feel' of the keys - their unique black key/white key combination.

After all, it's rare to play an actual, unmodified scale in performance. More frequent are 'scale passages' - modified scale-tone patterns.

Here, conventional scale fingering is often inapplicable, and the hand has to 'make a plan'!

These three pages offer three sets of these 'scale-tone practice patterns' (STPPs) - in C, Bb and A (none, two and three accidentals). You will work through these, first in all-white-key C - the easiest as regards fingering, then in B flat and A, where the black keys force you to clarify the fingering.

It is not proposed that you devise one set fingering for the patterns in any of the three keys. It is more useful to find a fingering that works for one particular pattern, perfect the performance, then 'throw it away' and go on to the next pattern.

Over time, you will find that your hands and fingers are more ready to play any sequence of notes, in whatever key.

You should expect to be able to play (transpose) these patterns in all the major keys at will, as a warm-up for improvisation - and playing in general.

The STPPs

STPPs in C

STPPs in Bb

STPPs in A

Download the PDF of these STTPs in C here.

Scale-tone Practice Patterns in C

Plain sailing - no black keys to get in the way, so you can concentrate on orderly, patterned fingering!

You are still playing 'in a key', though - so here's your key-specific keyboard.

Batch One

Here are the first seven patterns.

Devise logical, patterned fingerings that you can describe to yourself and recall at will.


Get used to describing the patterns to yourself - essentially, what the groups of three notes do.

  • Move by step or by skip;
  • Start at the top or the bottom... .

Notice also how the patterns vary the previous one - by swapping the groups of three around, turning them upside down, and so on.

Batch Two

Here are the next six patterns.

This batch introduces repeated notes (Pattern 10 on). Try to follow the classical-piano rule:

  • Always change your finger to play the repeated note.

(Another option would be to learn the Batch 1 patterns in B flat.)


Batch Three

Here are the last six patterns - now in six-eight. Count "One-and-a two-and-a..."


When you have done as much as you can with this page, go on to Page Two - the patterns in B flat.


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