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Are Piano Scales Necessary to Learn?

Updated: Jan 17


a person playing the piano

Practicing piano scales can be tiresome and daunting to some. Most of us piano players would rather play the songs we enjoy rather than practice scales and arpeggios all day long. Yet, at the end of the day, we all know that learning scales will be beneficial in the long run. However, are they absolutely necessary?


The answer to that question - it depends. It all comes down to your goals and what you want to achieve in your musical journey. If you are preparing for an exam, yes - practice the scales. However, if you are just a casual player who enjoys performing a song or two for your friends and family, scales are not necessary in your learning material. So, ask yourself, do you want to achieve a more professional and advanced level of playing or do you just want to keep it as a hobby? If your answer is the former, practicing scales and arpeggios are some of the most important training to commit to. Professional piano players practice their scales for hours. Music has a lot of repetition, and this is why scales come in handy. Practicing scales will make scale passages in music quick to learn.


Below is a video on how to optimise your practice on scales.


Beginners at piano are also highly encouraged to learn foundational scales. The exercises that comes with practicing scales helps in building muscle memory and familiarity with the keyboard geography. They also develop your awareness of tonality and knowledge of all the keys. Learning scales also greatly aid in improvising notes and melodies on the instrument. Once you are familiar with how each note sounds with each other, improvising should come naturally to you.

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