What Order Should You Learn to Play Piano Scales?

Piano Lesson

When it comes to learning how to play the piano, there are several things a beginner is going to have to learn. One of the first things you will learn about is scales.

Most piano teachers will show you how to play the major scales first, and then you’ll move on to the natural minor scales, harmonic minor scales, and melodic minor scales. Then, after you have mastered these scales, you will move onto the chromatic, blues, pentatonic, and whole tone scales. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

First you have to learn what a scale is, and the order in which you should learn the scales, and that is what we are going to discuss today.

What is a Musical Scale?

To put it simply, a scale is a series of musical notes that are played in order of pitch or frequency. Most musical pieces are made up of scales. In fact, the scales are often the backbone of the music, and provide the harmony and melody. A typical scale will span eight keys or notes, and this is known as an octave.

How to Play a C Major Scale?

There are 12 major scales, and upwards of 36 minor scales. Most piano teachers will start students off by learning the C major scale, played on the right hand at first. This is considered to be the easiest scale, and best for beginners.

It consists of all white keys, and there are no sharps or flats. You will start by finding middle C on the keyboard. It is important to learn the proper fingering when playing scales. Basically, you begin with the thumb on middle C, then the next two notes, which are D and E, are played with your second and third fingers.

The next note, F, is played by crossing your thumb under the third finger and hitting the note. Then, you can finish the scale with G, A, B, and C, with the final note being played with your pinky finger.

You will use the same fingering when going back down the scale, only in reverse order. Once you have mastered going up and down the scale with your right hand, it is time to learn to play it with your left hand. Then, once you have that mastered, the next step is to play with both hands at the same time.

Traditional Order of Learning Scales

Now that you have learned how to play a C Major scale with both hands, it is time to start learning the rest of the scales. There is generally an order to learning scales, obviously with the easiest ones being learned first. It is very important to keep practicing, and to learn all of the major scales first before moving on to the minor scales. It is a good idea to start out slowly, and only learn one scale per week in order to keep from getting confused. Practice each scale slowly, and work on building up speed only after you have mastered the fingering.

The major scales you will learn are:

  • C major
  • D major
  • E major
  • F major
  • G major
  • A major
  • B major
  • C sharp/D flat major
  • D sharp/E flat major
  • F sharp/G flat major
  • G sharp/A flat major
  • A sharp/B flat major

These are the most important scales you will learn in the beginning, and it will take many hours of practice to be able to play them simultaneously with both hands and make it sound good. But, the more you practice, the more you will learn, and you will develop muscle memory, so in time your hands will be playing the notes and you won’t even have to think about it.

Once you have mastered the major scales, it is time to move on to the minor scales. There are 12 natural minor scales that you will need to learn.

  • A minor
  • A sharp/B flat minor
  • B minor
  • C minor
  • C sharp/D flat minor
  • D minor
  • D sharp/E flat minor
  • E minor
  • F minor
  • F sharp/G flat minor
  • G minor
  • G sharp/A flat minor


It may seem like there is a lot of things to learn before you can start playing your favorite songs, but if you really want to learn how to play the piano properly, it is imperative that you learn how to play scales. Most piano teachers will show you the scales in the orders that are shown in this article.

***MuzicTribe is supported by readers. If you click one of my links, I may earn commissions. I am also participant in the Amazon affiliate program and I will also make a commission from qualifying purchases.Thank you***

Recent Posts

Why Do Pianos Have 88 Keys?

Why Do Pianos Have 88 Keys?

The piano is a unique and beautiful instrument that contains a lot of parts to it. One of those is its keys. If you have never noticed, a piano has 88 keys. This has been the case since the 1880s, when Steinway first released their line of pianos and continues to be...

Is a Grand Piano Better Than an Upright?

Is a Grand Piano Better Than an Upright?

If you are interested in learning how to play the piano but don’t know where to start, your best bet would be to figure out whether you want to play a grand piano or an upright and go from there. It’s important to know the difference between the two as the...

Seven Tips for Playing Piano with Sweaty Hands

Seven Tips for Playing Piano with Sweaty Hands

If you’re a piano player, practicing is a part of your life, but just like anything else you do that is physical, you can suffer with sweat on your fingers and palms as you practice, which is uncomfortable to say the least. When this happens, it can be difficult to...