How to Play the G Major Scale on the Piano

The G Major scale is usually the second major scale that we learn in our piano studies. It's important to learn all of our scales because all of the music that we play on the piano is based upon these scales.

You should have already learned the C Major scale by now (the first scale that we usually learn) or at least have become familiar with it. If you need to review the C Major scale, go back to this lesson and make sure you go through all of the steps and the video as that will help a lot when learning the next scale that we'll cover in this lesson.

  • We will be setting our hand up in the same position that we did for the C Major scale and will be using the same fingerings as well.

There is one major difference between the C Major and the G Major scales, and that is the Key Signature.

Let's see what the difference is and learn what the Key Signature for G Major is before we start working on the scale itself.

Step 1: Key Signature for G Major

If you remember back to the Key Signature of C Major, you'll recall that we don't have any sharps or flats to play in that key.

In G Major, however, we do in fact have one sharp, and that sharp is F#.

This means that in both hands/clefs, you will play F# instead of F natural anytime you play the note F on the piano. F# is a black key and is a 1/2 step higher than F natural, and a 1/2 step lower than G natural.

Notice in the image where you find the F# notated in your music.

  • Key Signatures will always be found in this same place no matter how many sharps or flats you have in the key that the piece is in.

All other notes in this scale are naturals and will be played with white keys.

Next, let's see what the fingerings are for the G Major scale.

Step 2: Playing the G Major Scale on the Keyboard

Let's take each hand separately to see how we play this scale on the piano.

As with all scales, we will start and end on the note that is the name of the scale; in this case G.

Place your right hand over the keyboard with your thumb on the G right above Middle C.

  • Hopefully, you did a quick review of the C Major Scale lesson and remember the fingerings for that scale. You're going to do those same fingerings in this scale too, so it will be a lot easier to master because you're already familiar with that finger pattern.

As you can see in the image - the fingerings for the right hand are as follows:

  • G = 1st/thumb
  • A = 2nd/index finger
  • B = 3rd/middle finger
  • C = 1st/thumb again - cross your thumb under your 3rd finger that you just used to place it on this C
  • D = 2nd/index finger
  • E = 3rd/middle finger
  • F# = 4th/ring finger
  • G = 5th/pinky finger

The fingerings are the same going up and coming back down.

  • The only difference is that you cross your 3rd/middle finger over your 1st/thumb instead of crossing under like you did going up the scale when you come to the note B.

Now, bring your left hand over the piano keyboard and give your right hand a rest.

The fingerings for the left hand are as follows:

  • G = 5th/pinky finger
  • A = 4th/ring finger
  • B = 3rd/middle finger
  • C = 2nd/index finger
  • D = 1st/thumb
  • E = 3rd/middle - cross your 3rd finger over your thumb to play this note E
  • F# = 2nd/index finger
  • G = 1st/thumb

The fingerings will be the same going up and coming down just like in our right hand.

  • The same difference exists in the left hand though when we cross our fingers over. Going up we cross our 3rd finger over to play the E, and coming down, we cross our 1st/thumb under the 3rd finger to play the note D.

It's important to remember that you are going to be reaching an extra 1/2 step whenever you have to play an F#. In C Major, F natural is right next to the note E and there isn't that extra reach.

Now that we know the fingerings in each hand for the G Major Scale, let's look at the best ways to practice it on your own before we go to the piano to practice together.

Step 3: How to Best Practice the G Major Scale

The most important things that you can do to practice this scale successfully are to play each hand separately until you feel very comfortable with them and to practice them slowly.

Once you have learned each hand separately you'll be much more successful at playing them together. A lot of times we seem to lose what we've learned once we bring both hands together, but remember that this is normal and temporary! If you go slow enough you'll be able to play each hand together, one note at a time.

The key is to go slowly! Always, find a slow enough tempo that you can play with well, and then go up from there a bit at a time.

Now, let's go over the fingerings in this scale, where F# is on your piano in your right and left hands, and play through this scale a few times together so you can really get it. Ready to practice with me?

Step 4: Come Practice With Me!

This video reinforces what we've gone over in the written portion of this lesson.

When you review the C Major Scale lesson, go through that video as well just to help you be properly set up to play the G Major Scale in this lesson.

It will be really helpful for you to see where F# is on your keyboard as I show you here and we'll look at the distance of 1/2 steps and whole steps on the piano.

Once you've mastered this scale you'll be able to start playing music that is written in the Key of G Major which will open up a whole new door in terms of how much more fun music you'll be able to play!

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