Review: Scales the Purrfect Practice; Grade 1

Lesson resources, Reviews

Jackie Sharp, author of Technique Trainer has recently come out with a new scale book (with more on the way). If you haven’t seen the review I did last April, you will want to take a moment to check that book out. (Click here)

Scales- the Purrfect Practice is available an e-book form, either as a single license or unlimited reproduction license. The Grade One book covers the technical requirements of AMEB examinations.

Jingles the musical cat is the book’s mascot who will guide them along their scale journey. The illustrations, which were created by Catlina Dafunchio help provide wonderful tips along the way. I felt the layout wasn’t too busy and I really enjoyed that the scales were color coded both on the staff and the keyboard. Color coding is a great way to re-inforce pattern recognition.

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One of my favorite features of this book is that it is divided into subgroups such as scale “families”. For example the “No-Sharp, No-Flat family is C Major and A minor. Then we move to the 1 Sharp Family which is G Major and E minor and so on…

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After going through the family of scales then the scales are divided into similar motion scales, chromatic scales and contrary motion scales.

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Jackie has divided the scale practice exercises in groupings that prepare for successful and smooth passing. She explains in her note to the teacher that “by dividing the scales into subgroups, students are able to remember notes and fingerings with far greater clarity than by conventional methods. Secondly, the subdivisions allow you, the teacher, to focus on concepts of appropriate technique until the concepts have been internalized by the student.” She continues to give helpful tips for teachers when using the book.

Included this book is also chords and triads which includes exercises to help with voicing. Coming soon to the website, corresponding stickers will be made available.

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Also included inside the book are the standard scales, supplementary exercises and a key signature reference sheet. You can see ALL that is included in Scales- the Purrfect Practice by looking at the table of contents below.

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Scales the Purrfect Practice; Grade 1 is a great resource for students to learn their scales starting on the right foot. Jackie Sharp has done a great job in providing helpful tools that will guide our students in becoming successful pianists.

You can find more information about Scales the Purrfect Practice; Grade 1 here.

Jackie has offered to giveaway a copy of a single license of Scales- the Purrfect Practice; Grade 1 to a lucky teacher. To enter, leave a comment on how you like to teach scales to your students. Deadline to enter is by Wednesday, September 9, 2015 by 10:00pm (MST).


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20 Comments

  1. Lynelle Vogel

    I teach the beginning scales mostly by ear-training as far as which notes are black keys. I also have a rhyme I made up to help the children know the fingering part of the scale when just beginning. I’d love to have this book.

    Reply
  2. barbgrout

    I teach scales in relation to the piece my student is working on so there is a context for the key.

    Reply
  3. Lori Harrison

    I introduce scales using the two tetrachords joined by a whole step. I have students play them using both hands at first and then progressing to using one hand.

    Reply
  4. Kimberly Engel

    I am just now starting to teach in logical groupings and have not yet decided on the best book to help me. I think this could be the one. I am trying to determine though if it is mostly geared to elementary students or if it would appeal to ALL ages. I would love to hear from you or Jackie! Thank you!

    Reply
    • FPSResources

      Kimberly, First keep in mind this is a Grade 1 book which means it’s a starter scale book which is geared towards beginner students. It doesn’t have all the scales as those will come in later editions. Aside from Jingles the Mascot, I could see this working with all ages. And since it’s an ebook, if you have an older beginner that you think might have a problem with the mascot, you can just print out the relevant pages you need with a particular student. As you can see with the example pages, Jingles doesn’t really appear on the scale pages themselves for the most part. He appears mostly on the introduction pages. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  5. Lori

    I like to start my beginners playing all the major and minor pentascales from pictures of the keyboard. To make it more fun, we improvise in many of the keys after they’ve been mastered. This gets them used to scales and leads into teaching 1 octave scales.

    Reply
  6. Emily

    I usually teach scales by rote first, then once the student has a grasp of keys with fewer accidentals, I start introducing the notation. I think that the “rote first” approach means that the students memorize the scales more easily.

    Reply
  7. Betsy

    I teach scales in whatever fashion seems to click for the student. I’d prefer to teach by pattern, but that seldom is the case.

    Reply
  8. Karen

    I teach scales by rote and with pictures of the keys. This looks like a fun book with which to start beginners. Hope I win!

    Reply
  9. Heidi N

    I teach the first major and minor pentascales by rote in the Circle of 5ths order and eventually sing the pattern “Tonic Whole Whole Half Whole and then back home” so students can learn to “build” their own scales in other keys. Later they learn 1 8va scales by joining 2 tetrachords with a whole step (Tonic We Were Happy When We Were Home). I like how the picture scales in the Scales fore Purrfect Practice book show where the finger is placed on the key. It makes the point of finger crossing more salient to the visual learner than the picture scales I have used in the past.

    Reply
  10. Wendy Mahaney

    I start with pentascales that we learn by filling in a grid. We color in which keys are the black. This helps visualize them both at the piano and away from it.

    Reply
  11. Carla

    I start with pentascales then go to one octave scales and move around the circle of 5ths. With some kids I use manipulatives on the piano for visual help and for others I put a picture of the scales in their binders. This new resource looks great and I would love to try it!

    Reply
  12. Geri Miller

    I usually begin teaching the pentascales by rote using the circle of 5ths. I have also used pictures of the scales, manipulatives on the keyboard, and the whole/half step pattern. It is fun to use scale duet books where the student plays the scale with an accompaniment and then improvises using that scale. I have also had students compose a short piece using the scale. This scale book looks like it would be really helpful!

    Reply
  13. Angie Smith

    I usually start scales on the 3rd lesson. Would love to try this new book! It woud be a great addition to my technique time!

    Reply
  14. Robyn Harris

    I’d love to check this out 🙂 I also start with Pentascales, broken and block chords. I give each of my students a key chain, as they learn each key, they add the key to their keychain- they love seeing how many keys each of them have!

    Reply
  15. Brenda Slocum

    I start all my students learning the major/minor tune ups. I then follow with major/minor chords. On to scales…would love to further explore this publication.

    Reply
  16. Susan Hong

    I teach by having students do tetra chords by rote n following pattern. Then later 2 hands tetra chord connected by a whole step. This would be great for beginners !!

    Reply
  17. Bethany Ostler

    I start with major pentascales. Would love to win the book!

    Reply
  18. Melody

    I like to use scales all through their songs as well as a warm up. Would love to have your book!!

    Reply
  19. Saundra

    I teach pentascales first. Then I begin with the scale in a one octave. We work hands alone first as we work on fingering and use it with pieces in that key. Interested in looking into this.

    Reply

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