Introduction: How to Play All Major Scales on the Piano With Fingerings

This lesson will teach you how to play all of your Major Scales. We will learn sharp and flat keys.

There is a visual slide for each scale that shows the fingerings for both the left and right hands plus I play through each scale one at a time in the video in the last step with detailed explanations about how each scale works.

The best way to really grasp all of this information is to read through all of the information first and look at each slide. When you are ready to start learning each scale, make sure that you open the video at the same time so you can learn it with me at your piano. This is the benefit of having a "Come Practice With Me" step at the end of each written lesson.

First, let's learn our sharp key scales.

Step 1: Major Scales With Sharps in the Key Signatures

Each image shows the name of the scale, how many sharps it has, the Ascending Fingering, (ascending means going up), the Descending Fingering, (descending means coming down), and the exact fingering for the Right Hand, (R.H.) and the Left Hand, (L.H.).

We'll start with C Major which has no sharps or flats. It's also at the top of our Circle of Fifths and we will learn our scales in the same order that the keys are listed in the Circle of Fifths.

The Circle of Fifths is a chart that lists all of our Major and Minor Key signatures in order of the number of sharps or flats that they have. Thus, C Major is at the top because it has no sharps or flats.

Follow the fingering for this scale for one octave and if you want to play it 2 or more octaves I will show you how to do that in the video portion of this lesson.

For one octave in your right hand, start with your first finger, play 2 & 3, then bring your thumb under 3 to continue with 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 at the top C. Simply reverse your fingering to come back down, even if you're playing it more than one octave. *Your 3rd finger will cross over your thumb coming back down*

With our left hand, we start with 5 on the bottom C, then 4, 3, 2, &1, then cross over our 3rd finger to play 3, 2, &1 on the last 3 notes. Again, simply reverse this fingering coming back down. *Your thumb will cross under your middle finger coming back down*

Next, we move to G Major which has one sharp - F#. For this scale do the exact same as you did for C Major. Notice the fingerings for both your right and left are just the same as they were for your C Major Scale.

Keep moving through each image in the order they are listed to move through your sharp key scales.

Not all of these scales will share the same fingering!

  • F# & C# Major starts with the 2nd finger in your right hand and 4th finger in your left hand.
  • B Major starts with the 4th finger in your left hand.

Now...let's look at our Flat Key scales.

Step 2: Major Scales With Flats in the Key Signatures

The first flat key that we learn is F Major. It has one flat in it - Bb. From this point onward our flat scales progress according to the number of flats that we have, just like our sharp keys. The fingering is much like your major scale fingerings.

  • With your right hand, start with 1, go to 2 & 3, then bring your thumb under your 3rd finger to continue consecutive fingerings until you reach the top F.
  • It's the same with your left hand...meaning it's the same fingering as your C major scale again.

Our next flat scale is Bb which has Bb & Eb in it. These fingerings are different from F.

  • Start on 3rd finger this time with your right hand and then go to 1, 2, & 3. Then bring your thumb under your middle finger to continue with 1, 2, 3 & 4 on the last 4 notes. Notice that you end on 4th finger, not 5th.
  • With your left hand, you will also start with your 3rd finger, next placing 2nd, and 1st fingers down, then crossing your 4th finger over the thumb to play the next 3 notes, and end with 3rd finger on the last Bb.

Continue going through each Flat Scale noting the differences in the number of flats, fingering changes, and their relationship to the sharp scale fingerings.

A big advantage that you have in learning your Major Scale fingerings is that some of them share the exact same fingerings as some of the Flat Scale Keys. Can you figure out which ones they are?

Now let's look at a few tips to help you practice and learn these scales the easiest way.

Step 3: How to Practice Your Scales

Don't be overwhelmed. There are a lot of scales to learn, but once you figure out the basics of how scales work, you'll be able to notice and play the differences between them really easily in no time at all.

The point of this lesson is to give you one resource that is readily available to you, so you can master your Major Scales. Look at this as a resource that you can come back to any time you like or need to!

Try a few of these tips to make the process easier and more successful.

  1. Start at the beginning and learn your scales in order. Don't jump from C Major (no sharps) to C# Major ( all sharps) in one leap.
  2. Practice one hand at a time.
  3. Set a goal to learn one scale a week
  4. Play as slowly as you need to, to play the correct notes in each scale.
  5. Find an easy piece that you already know that is in the same key as your scale that you're working on each week.
  6. Add in more octaves to your scale once you've gotten the first one secure in your fingers.
  7. Practice your scales with me in the next step!

Remember that the more scales you are able to play well, you'll be able to add in harder and more fun repertoire to your piano playing; and if you want to Improv or already do, scales are a must to have in your fingers.

Step 4: Come Practice With Me!

It's one thing to visually read through each of your scales, and it's a totally different thing to play them at your keyboard with me!

I take you through each and every Major Scale you have in this one video lesson. It's a great resource that you'll want to bookmark and have available for your practice time.

One thing I talk about in the video that isn't included in this written lesson is the relationship of your white and black keys to your sharps and flats. That's because it's much easier to simply show you that while I explain listen out for that information when you go through this part of the lesson.

So grab your keyboard and let's get started learning all of your Major Scales!