Robert Estrin - piano expert

The Best Piano Exercises (Part 2) - Major Scales with C major fingering

Learn how to play all major scales with the same fingering

In this video, Robert shows you how to play all major scales with the same fingerings used in a simple C major scale. Why do this? These exercises may give you the ability to play more complex piano repertoire!

Released on June 25, 2014

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Robert Estrin here at and with another technique video for you. Sometimes, you want to build strength and you don't want to learn a whole bunch of music. Last time, I showed you a triad exercise that, boy, you just go through that, it takes maybe three, four minutes, and you feel it because it strengthens the hands. Well, today, I've got something that is equally important and it's a little bit different. Today's subject is playing all your scales, all your major scales with the C major scale fingering. It sounds crazy, doesn't it? Why would you every want to do a thing like that?

Well, here's the secret. If you've ever played complex counter point like Bach Fugue's and such, sometimes you have to use fingering and it's very non intuitive because normally, you try to find the fingering, that everything lays under the hands. You don't even want to use the thumb on black keys unless you're playing octaves or chords, and there're certain things that just feel good. You don't really want to cross with your fourth and fifth fingers. You try to cross with third and fourth fingers but sometimes in music, it's so complicated that you have to do all kinds of strange reaching.

And boy, if there's any good way to work on the flexibility of your fingering and crossings that are awkward and unusual, try playing for example, a D flat major scale but use the C major scale fingering. That's right. Instead of starting with the third finger in your left hand and the second finger in your right hand with the thumb crossings on the white keys and such. No! You're going to play that with C major scale fingering starting with five in the left hand and one on the right hand, crossing after three notes to the right hand, to the thumb, and etc. And here is what you end up with.

To be able to play it smoothly and with fluidity takes some doing. You'll get used to playing non standard fingering which as I said, in complex music, it's not always exactly what you want, but the music necessitates some awkward types of hand positions. If you can play all your major scales with the C major scale fingering, it's a really wonderful way to work on this and get comfortable playing all the keys with all the different fingers. Try it out. I'm interested in your comments for those of you who try this. Thanks for joining me. Once again, this is Robert Estrin at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Richard P. Blocher on April 15, 2018 @8:19 am PST
Thank you for sharing this information.I am 79 years young, and I appreciate everyone involved in the learning process.I am making the transition from Explosive Ordnance in the Navy to a private citizen learning piano. RichardB
Robert Estrin - host, on April 15, 2018 @12:56 pm PST
That's quite a shift of focus! Hope you enjoy your piano studies.
Richard P. Blocher on April 12, 2018 @1:12 pm PST
I tried the C major finger in all 12 keys, but I am having trouble going more than an octave.What am I doing wrong?
Robert - host, on April 13, 2018 @3:58 pm PST
Each octave starts with the thumb in each hand (except the top and bottom octaves which utilize the 5th finger in one hand). It is quite awkward at first. But it helps to prepare you for complex writing which necessitates unorthodox fingering.
Geri on June 25, 2014 @6:26 am PST
Exactly right, have to adjust fingering to fit the piece (and our individual hands). Never thought of this scale exercise, though - thanks!
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