12 major scales and chord groups for piano players: free, printable download. One-octave and two-octave scales, I, IV and V chords, tonic chord inversions and arpeggios, all on one sheet for each key!
And here are the enharmonic keys:
Download enharmonic chart Key of C#
My piano teacher wrote out all 12 major scales, chord progressions, cadences, chord inversions and arpeggios for me when I was a little girl. But she did it by hand! There were no copy machines back then... how spoiled we've become.
As a child, I had no idea how much time the exercises must have taken for her to write -- for all of those keys, too! -- but even then, I appreciated and enjoyed playing these patterns. There seemed something a bit magical and comforting in this routine: playing a pattern in one key, and then repeating it in another key, necessarily adjusting hand position and utilizing different fingering choices, getting the same overall sound, but with a sudden freshness.
I always begin assigning the 12 major scales and chords with the "Key of C" sheet. This won't be until my piano students are able to read the chord notes in the first measure (number 1). We don't move in a hurry -- on their assignment sheet, I will write "Key of C sheet, #1" until they can do it quickly with no prompting.
Soon, their assignment sheet will say, "Key of C sheet, #2, #3, #4." Eventually, they will drop the easiest numbers off their assignment and pick up the harder techniques. My students are always eager to start regular full-octave scales (probably because I don't introduce them early, but spend lots of time on pentatonic scales).
You may wonder why I have written the 2-octave scales in mirror fashion, with the hands moving in contrary motion instead of parallel. Well, using matching fingering "1-2-3, 1-2-3-4, (tuck under) 1-2-3 etc." is a very easy way to learn a hands-together C scale initially. (And the page didn't look as nice with crowded fingering when I initially laid it out with parallel scales!)
With the 1-octave scale, this is how I first approach hands together, so they can have the fun of achieving speed and coordination over the "big stretch" even in the initial stages of learning where to tuck under and cross over.
Of course, this becomes much harder in the later scales, when black notes enter the picture! In fact, once piano students have mastered parallel scales in one key, it becomes much easier to accomplish them in all 12 major scales, and we just go straight to parallel scales.
The idea of the I, IV and V chords seems obvious to piano teachers who've been thinking that way for years, but the connections aren't at all apparent to some young students. I try to keep reinforcing the concept by coming at it from different angles...
My favorite way to talk about "The Three Main Chords" is to play the regular scale slowly with a left-hand finger while making matching chords in the right hand. Both hands move up the octave as I say, "The one chord, the two chord, three chord, four chord..." etc. Then I ask them to do it. (And usually I say nothing about the chord on the seventh step of the scale and how it is different from all the rest; that would be too much information!)
My favorite way to actually drum the 3 main chords into their fingers (and brains) is to take an energetic song -- Boilem' Cabbage Down is my current favorite -- and make them (with my assistance, during lesson time) figure out what the chords will be for the key of the day (we work our way slowly around a Circle of 5ths, hand-drawn by me on their lesson sheet each week, with their assistance).
Then we execute a quick duet, by rote, with me on the melody, and them banging away on chords. First they play open chords, Left Hand, Right Hand, L,R,L,R, etc. Then I ask for a LH single bass note with a RH full triad (3 notes). Then (and this is their favorite!) they must figure out the 3-chord cadence for that key, and use those inversions in the accompaniment.
Students will move on to the other keys before they have finished the full page of C. Two-octave scales, chord inversions and arpeggios will wait until they seem appropriate.
You may not agree with every one of my arpeggio or scale fingerings. I put down the ones I personally use most. Certainly there are times when it is advisable to choose "5, 4, 2, 1" for left-hand arpeggio fingering, but I consider it the exception to the rule. Judith, in Canada, suggests starting with finger 2 when playing all-white note scales:
"Try starting all white note arpeggios with 2nd finger in the right hand instead of 1st finger; This eliminates reaching a 4th when turning 1st finger under and replaces it with a 3rd.
"I always allow my students to experiment to find which fingering fits their hand best.
"For me the basic rule of fingering is that it must be logical and the hand must move smoothly; as long as students follow that guideline, they can use any fingering they wish.
"Just a little note: B Major and B minor are awkward arpeggios, no matter which fingering is used."
Just cross my fingering out if you want something different.
I hope you find these 12 major scales and chords sheets useful in your music studio!
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Dominant Seventh Chords and Inversions
I was very pleased to find your chords and scales some time ago, and have been using them with my piano students. I am wondering if you have dominant …
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These fundamentals are crucial to my success as a pianist. Thank you for posting this resource!
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I am a first-time piano teacher and have been combing the internet for resources. Your wonderful site has been an amazing resource for both my students …
Pray Sing Hymn Not rated yet
Thank you soooooooo much!! This is a wonderful website! I was looking for the perfect kind of scales for my students! It was exactly what I was looking …
THANKS!!!! Not rated yet
I'm a teacher but I was not taught these scales and I had to watch another person play, and when I saw your pdfs, they're really useful to me, everything …
Minor Scales & Cadences Not rated yet
Hello, Do you have the minor scales & cadences written in the same format as the major scales and available for download? Thank you!! Alice Donovan …