How to Demolish Your Piano Scales

How to Demolish Your Scales

My piano teacher in college had the same old routine every piano lesson.

He was a busy guy. So as I was warming up with my scales, he’d be checking over his emails, scheduling his appointments – his eyes glued to the computer.

But today would be different. 

He didn’t know it yet – but I was about to blow his mind.

It was my first lesson back after summer vaca, and over the summer I’d figured out the formula to learn scales – Fast.

Don’t worry, I’ll tell you more about the formula later…


Anyways, he’s staring at his computer screen and he recites the same words he does at the beginning of every lesson.

“Scale, please.”

I started playing my scale – fast. Probably about 138 bpm… sixteenth notes.

My fingers smoothly glided up 4 octaves, then back down with speed and perfect accuracy. I finished off the scale with a resounding C#.

I looked back at him.

His jaw was dropped to the floor in shock.

I still remember his face.

He took a few seconds to compose himself then said “Well, looks like you had a productive summer.”

Then I played my Rachmaninoff piece for him. It was a piece he’d given me before summer, and at that point it was WAYYY above my level.

Too many fast runs. Tough fingerings. My technique just wasn’t at that level.

But now I could play it with ease. My training had made the fast runs seem to go in slow motion. My muscle memory was perfectly ingrained in my fingers.

“Well, looks like we have to find you a new piece.” And he pulls out a Liszt piece.

It made me feel reallllly good.


I’m sure he thought I’d been practicing hours a day on my scales. But no. The truth is…

I’d only spent between 5 and 15 minutes a day.

Because I’d figured out the formula. Each minute of practice was meticulously planed out for maximum results.

Maximum efficiency.

No wasted time.

Every week I’d pick a new scale and run it through my gauntlet or exercises and training routines.

And by the end of the week, without fail, my scale would be at a cool 138 bpm (before that my scales were anywhere between 60 and 90 bpm).

Now my scales look like this:

The Truth About Scales

FACT: Scales are the fundamental exercise that leads to EVERY OTHER TECHNIQUE you’ll play.

It’s the one thing that every great pianist agrees on. So you’re going to have to learn them.

But guess what.

Scales aren’t hard. But there are a couple of mistakes every beginner makes. Once you figure out the strategies to overcome those tricky sections, you can easily ramp up your scale speed.

You just have to learn the system.

And I’ve detailed it all in a free webinar called “Dominate Your Piano Scales” Here’s the video:

Just promise me when you watch the lesson, you pick a scale and follow along.

Take a scale you’re having trouble with and follow the plan. I know you’ll see results.

-Zach “Still-Practices-Scales-Every-Day” Evans


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