Piano Bootcamp | Scales, Technique, Rhythm and Sight Reading

by Ashlee Young Music Studio


I have some somewhat controversial opinions about scales, technical exercises, rhythm and sight-reading. Are you ready for them?




  • Scales should be learned and practiced, but there doesn’t need to be SO MUCH EMPHASIS placed on drilling them over and over and over, especially when that drilling is mindless.


  • Technical exercises have SOME benefits – but I hardly use them in my teaching (Hanon, Czerny, Liszt, etc!


  • Rhythm should be practiced every day.


  • Sight reading should be a part of a well-rounded practice routine and done regularly.


If your a little surprised right now…don’t worry – you’re not the only one. Let me explain.


Don’t get me wrong – scales ARE IMPORTANT. But I often see piano learners struggling with the concept of scales and weighed down by the questions:

  • How many scales should I practice each practice session?

  • How long should I practice scales?

  • Are scales important?

  • Do I need to know all of my scales, NOW?!


And while these questions are important – there is a single question that is WAY MORE IMPORTANT and that question is:


  • HOW should I practice scales to ensure that I’m getting the most out of them as a technical exercise, theory exercise, and addition to my practice routine?


Once THIS question is answered, the answers to the questions I hear all the time become apparent pretty quickly. In this video, I show you EXACTLY how to practice scales AND I answer all of the other questions about scales so that you can make sure that you’re not wasting precious practice time by mindlessly practicing scales or being overwhelmed by scales.


Now let’s talk about technical exercises – Hanon, Czerny, Liszt, etc. In some circles – there is a near obsession with technical exercises. And I totally understand why. If technical exercises could truly make us play faster, have better technique, and learn the piano better, OF COURSE I would have all my students practice them and OF COURSE I would recommend that everyone spend a good chunk of their practice time working on technical exercises.


I have met many people that spend SO MUCH PRACTICE time on technical exercises only to be disappointed when they are not playing faster, better, and with more understanding. In order to truly benefit from technical exercises – we have to ask a few questions:


  1. What is the purpose of the exercises?

  2. How do I practice this exercise to ensure that I'm achieving its purpose?


Go ahead and tune in to today’s video for the answers to these questions.


There is WAY TOO MUCH to write about rhythm and sight reading – but know this:


If you incorporate rhythm and sight reading practice into your regular routine, you will be a better musician within a few weeks. Your rhythm will improve, your musicality will improve, your note reading skills will improve, AND you’ll be able to comprehend more things at the same time in your pieces.





Grab your FREE pdf guide HERE!

Check out the livestream for all the info you need to be a more confident pianist today.




Additional resources I recommend in this video


***2 week piano scale challenge

***Piano technique playlist

***Robert Starer Video

***Rhythm Video with Free PDF

***Other Improve Rhythm Videos

***2 Week sight reading challenge

***helen marlais sight reading video


Things I Recommend in this Video: Sight Reading Books, Scale Books, rhythm book, and Metronome are all on this page of my website: https://www.ashleejyoung.com/resources



***Links are affiliate links, but I will only recommend items I LOVE and have recommend for years! The links have no extra cost to you, and it helps to support the channel! Thank you for your continued support!





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