The Importance of Learning the Minor Scales

Most probably for piano students, scales are part of the daily practice. Learning and practicing scales can be dull or boring, and its goal, although paramount for any piano player, it is somewhat forgotten to transmit for piano teachers. For that reason, I decided to write all about these type of scales, to finally help everyone understand the main ideas and why it is so important for any piano learner. In the link aforementioned, you could find the full article I wrote for WKMT Music Blog.

Why should we study them in the first place?

Very simple. Our fingers get used to the patterns, and consequently, they can respond more effectively when playing the pieces.

But we should consider learning the formula as well. Minor scales differ from the mayor ones as they fall into three categories: Natural, Harmonic and Melodic. The order is not random, but they are presented in the correct chronology, that means that the natural minor is the first one, then the harmonic appeared, and the melodic one is the last one of the three.

The natural minor, as well as the Mayor scale, comes from the Greek modes. They used to be called differently: Aeolian and Ionian, respectively. Greeks took their names from cities! that is an interesting factoid.

Why should we learn them?

Firstly, they are convenient when we sight-read, as the possibilities get reduced from 12 random notes to 7, aiding a quicker “perusal” of the score. 

Another good reason to study them is that it gets much easier to learn a formula to memorize each of them; let’s not forget that we are talking about 12 naturals, 12 harmonic and 12 melodic scales!

If we use our memory, we are taking a considerable risk to forget them in an exam, and that is the last thing we want!

Knowing that the natural minor is the foundation of the next two scales gives us an advantage. Also, to learn that both the mayor and minor scales are connected. For every mayor, we have a relative minor, which simplifies the study of the minor scales and gives us a broader picture of how the scales relate one to another.