First, a little background… I remember learning how to play piano as a kid (and later in college when you have to take 2 years of piano as part of a music degree) and one of the things that stuck with me was the Five Note Scale Pattern where you put your thumb on middle C and played the five white notes in a row. Even years later, I’d catch myself going up to a piano and that’s the first thing I would play.
While teaching, I always started with 5 notes. Which 5 notes varied depending on the instrument, but I would always make a game out of it for the kids. For the more advanced kids we would do 5 note patterns in major and minor and work on switching keys quickly and easily. In my own practicing, I eventually expanded it to what I’ll show you in this post.
I like practicing five note patterns because they work on the transition between tetrachords. See my post on tetrachords. Note that even though the exercise is written in 8th notes doesn’t mean it has to be played quickly. Since I primarily use it for warming up, I play it very slow, all slurred, and really focus on air support, smooth fingers, and what each pattern sounds like.
There are five different tonalites: Major, Minor, Diminished (WholeHalf), Super Locrian (7th Mode of Melodic Minor), and Augmented.
I definitely recommend memorizing this as soon as possible. Then you can listen to the color of each five note scale piece and what happens to that color when even just a pitch gets altered. It’s a listening exercise as much as finger practice.
Download Five Note Scale Pattern Warm-up in all 12 keys. 🙂