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The importance of scale fingerings and getting them right

I get a lot of transfer students who come to me at grade 6 to 8. I usually audition these students before I take them on. And one of the items in the audition is scales.  Playing scales at an audition is sort of like the ‘handshake’ that you give your interviewer when you enter the room hoping to be hired by a company. Scales make or break the piano students’ ability to tackle grades 6-8 repertoires and beyond.
I look at the student’s scale fingerings. I listen to the evenness, the grasp of technique, the tone, the dexterity and expressivity. It is also easy to weed out the ones that do not practice scales. The ones that have to start and restart their scales. The ones with faulty scale fingerings. 
I really think the first beginner teacher MUST integrate scale playing into EVERY LESSON. Inspire the child to want to practice the scales. Begin the lesson with scales. Watch videos of music with scales (there are a lot! ). Catch faulty fingerings and nip it in the bud. Why? ABRSM the piano examination board does not penalize faulty scale fingerings as long as the flow of the scale is maintained. But, faulty fingerings might get the students through the lower grades. When it comes to playing scales a 3rd or 6th apart, the faulty scale fingerings really gets in the way. These students have no tactile memory and by the time they are at grades 6-8, they are not able to change the bad habits.
Teachers who teach lower grades should teach every child as though they will proceed to levels beyond grade 8. Short sighted piano teachers who teach the student just to get by with grade 1 or grade 2, thinking that in competitive Singapore, the child is best to focus on excelling in academic subjects and piano lessons can be seen as a ‘standby subject’ (just in case they cannot find a job later on) is really short changing the student. 
Yesterday, I asked my student if the teachers in school still scold them for wrong doings? Some replied yes, some no. But I got a very interesting answer from a student that attends NJC (my alma mattar). “My teacher does not scold. When he gives worksheets, you can choose to do or don’t do. When it comes to passing up homework, he does not go after you if you did not turn in homework.” On one hand, maybe this is just apathy. On the other hand, it is also transferring the responsibility onto the student. Or it is just the clever use of reverse psychology / peer pressure.  “So do you turn in homework?” I asked. “Everyone turns in because they are scared not to”

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