Scales in classical piano
Benefits in piano ?
In classical piano, scale work is a very specific exercise
The essential goal of these exercises is to play quickly. In the search for speed it is indispensable to acquire a good consistency as well as stability of the hand. If you are unable to meet these basics fairly quickly, scales may end up being unconscious mechanical work that serves no other interest besides warming your fingers up. Quite often pianists are disappointed with their results after practicing scales. To know how and when to practice scales, it is important to understand the outcome of this technique.
Scales is definitively not an exercise for piano beginners
The important question is to know at what level of piano should scale work be necessary. Starting from the twentieth century, scales had a major place in teaching beginners and intermediate pianists. That is why beginners have the impression that they miss an important step if they do not work on scales just like their grandparents. However, it has been proved over time, that this exercise does not provide any benefit to the beginner. A student, adult or child, who starts to take piano lessons does not have the need for speed. In the first 2-3 years piano, which correspond generally to a beginners level, it is crucial to have a solid technique of deciphering and sight-reading as well as a good mastery of the keyboard. The groundwork will be practicing slowly so that you are sufficiently engaged with the current piece. The challenge for the intermediate level (3-6 years of piano) will be similar. Once again, there will be a particular demand to work on the piece slowly at first. Of course, at this level there will also be many technical exercises, but they will be very different to scales.
Fingers position is very important
It is only when you start playing at an advanced level that practicing with scales is advantageous. You can not forget the steadiness, attention to the articulation of the fingers and playing sufficiently quickly and energetically. To make substantial progress in scale work, you will need roughly 30 minutes to an hour of daily practice just on scales.