Today’s tutorial comes directly from an email I received from my good friend, Frantz.
“I would like to understand the building of major and minor scales in a clear and easy way.”

Scales seem to be a ‘hot topic’ for adult beginners and I think it would be great to produce an clear & easy to understand free tutorial around scales. I’ll be honest, when I first started to play the piano 15 years ago, I hated learning scales. They seemed really difficult and unnecessary at first; I could swear my piano teacher made me practice for her own amusement when I struggled! But, now, 15 years on, I know how important they are!

As a beginner pianist, the first thing you need to know is that your scales are super important for improving your dexterity and ‘hand-eye coordination’. I recommend 10 minutes practice every day and that you first learn each scale hands separately- before putting everything together at a later date.


Major scales are often referred to as the ‘happy sounding scales’ and they contrast ‘sad sounding’ minor scales. Each note has a major and minor alternative, with an additional choice of melodic and harmonic minor choices. But today, I will focus on major and harmonic minor scales.


Before we get started;


  • Tone [T] (whole step)
  • Semi-Tone [s] (half step)


Major Scale = T-T-S-T-T-T-S

Minor Scale = T-S-T-T-T-T-S


Examples of major scales;

C Major


F major


Examples of harmonic minor scales;

E harmonic minor


D harmonic minor


So there it is, a simple lesson on the structure of major and minor scales. I haven't included melodic minor scales today as they are structured differently when ascending compared to descending.

Thank you once again to Frantz for the email and I would like to encourage you to post comment and further questions you have to the comments section below! Let me know what you’re struggling with.