How to Introduce Piano Scales and Scale Notation

By the time I introduce piano scales, my students take to them pretty easily…at the piano. But writing the scales on the staff? That’s kind of another story.

The combination of these videos and the piano scales game is designed to get your students to connect the page, the keyboard and the key signature when it comes to scales.

Connect the dots for your students and lead them to more concrete understanding.

Flip the Scales

I have two flipped music theory videos for you today, the C major scale and the G major scale. Both of these scales are covered in Thinking Theory Book One which you can take a look at here.

Send these videos home for your students to watch and save time in your lessons so you can play the Signature Sprint game instead of explaining these scales. Plus your student’s learning will be more durable as they’re understanding the concepts in different contexts.

Signature Sprint Keyboard Race

I originally shared this game as part of the podcast interview I did with Tim Topham a few weeks ago. I love this game as it helps students to visualise the scale rather than just playing or reading it.

This game helps not just with scales, but with playing within a key signature. An essential skill for beginners to advance past the beginning reading stages.


  • All players place their game token at the bottom of the keyboard.
  • All players pick a card and place it face up in front of them (or spin the DecideNow app and remember their key signature).
  • The first player rolls the die and moves forward that many keys – in the key signature in front of them. For example, if they had the key of G major and rolled a six, they would move B – C – D – E – F# – G.
  • If the player makes a mistake, she falls back down to the nearest C below.
  • After a successful turn, the player can choose a new key signature herself, or pick a player to choose a new key signature.
  • The winner is the first to reach the top of the keyboard.

Download the Game

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More Flipped Thinking Theory

If you liked the approach of this video, you might also like these others:

Do your students struggle with scales?

Do they find writing scales tricky? Do they have trouble playing in a particular key signature?

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