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1 minute reading time (259 words)

Progressive progressions

​Something wonderful happened to me this year: I was assigned a new student, Chris (not his or her real name), who is a very talented pianist, and who studied with a fine teacher. Chris always arrives at every lesson motivated, eager, and excited, but even more fascinating is Chris' desire to start each lesson with scales! Chris asks me for a key, I suggest one, and Chris launches into an exuberant performance, complete with the signature ending of this progression:

​Chris and I decided to tap into some interesting and practical aspects to the practice of scales. In addition to finding more inventive and ever more challenging ways of playing the scales themselves, we decided to alter the I-IV-I-V7-I progression by changing and adding notes and putting the progression into different time signatures. Here's what we came up with (all in the right hand):

Chris loves the challenge, and the new sounds frequently cause this comment: "This is so much fun!" Needless to say, we are exploring all twelve major keys and adding new layers to the adventure:

  • ​Reverse the melody notes: 5-4-5
  • Start on scale degree 5, go up: 5-6-7
  • Start on scale degree 5, go up: 5-7-6
  • Start on scale degree 5, go down: 5-4-3
  • Start on scale degree 5, go down: 5-3-2
  • Start on scale degree 5, go down: 5-2-3
  • Try using different rhythms for these activities, such as

With these activities, Chris' musical mind has been stimulated to explore new ways to use the familiar. These progressions have indeed become progressive! 

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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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