5 Minute Piano Lessons: C Major Scale for the Right Hand

As a teacher of twenty five students, I highly recommend private lessons.  For those on the go, wishing to learn what they can, this is the place for you.

It takes years of study to play the piano correctly.  I will only be touching on the finer points here.  Feel free to post any questions pertaining to this lesson at the bottom.

Learn the basics in fingering here. If you are able to play C, D, E, F, G, without lifting your fingers off the keys while pressing each note down, then you are ready to learn the C Major Scale.   Do not move on until you can do this!  Practice makes everything easier.

Now for something advanced

Say hello to your opposable thumbs.  Not literally now (someone might be watching) but you should at least acknowledge their existence, without which we would all be in a heap of trouble.  Turning door knobs would be a pain.  Try twisting the car key in the ignition without their use.  Worst of all (in my opinion) without these little thumbs, piano songs would just be plain boring!

It is the thumb that allows the pianist to move up and down the keyboard with ease.  This is because the thumb is the most flexible digit you own.  Use them wisely!


How to use them wisely

Place your right hand in C position, with your thumb on the C in middle of the piano (also known as middle C).  This will put all the other fingers on whatever note is before them (D, E, F, G).  If you don’t know how to find any of these notes you should start here.

What is the note to the left of C?

In order to play the B comfortably (and correctly) you will have to anchor your thumb on C.

Play and hold C than pivot your 3 finger over the thumb (moving it left) so that it can play the B.  Practice playing C with your one finger and then B, crossing over the thumb with your 3 finger.

I have a very specific reason for using the 3 finger which you are about to find out.


Learning the C Major scale

Most music scales are eight notes long beginning and ending on the same note.  Remember the white notes on a keyboard repeat themselves every seven note.  The obvious example would be A, B, C, D, E, F, G, then up to the next A.  These are the eight notes of a scale (seven distinctive notes with the eighth one repeating the first).

In the C major scale we will be starting with C and then moving on up D, E, F, G, A, B, and finally back to C.

play all 8 of those notes with your 2 finger.

Playing the R.H. C Major scale with correct fingering

Place your right hand back on C position with the one finger on C.

Play C, D, and E then stop (you should be on your 3 finger).

Now swing the thumb underneath your 2 and 3 finger until it reaches the next note up (F).  After playing F with your thumb, pivot all your other fingers over the 1 finger until they line up on the notes before them.  2 is now on G, 3 is now on A, 4 is now on B, and five is now in the higher C.  Now play the rest of the scale (G, A, B, C).

And so the fingering for the C major scale using the R.H. is: 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5

Practice playing this very slowly.

Try it a little faster now, playing each note at or around the same speed as the tick of a clock.


Try it all in reverse

Place the 5 finger on the higher C.

Play all the notes back (C, B, A, G, F). Stop on the F.

Move your 3 finger over the thumb to play the next not down (E).

The D and C can naturally be played by the 2 and 1 finger.

Fingering going backwards will be: 5-4-3-2-1-3-2-1

Practice going up and down the scale now.

This is how professionals are able to move swiftly up and down the keyboard.  Thumbs are key in playing these keys.

5 Minute Piano Lessons: C Major Scale for the Left Hand

Other piano lessons to peruse at your leisure

Happy piano playing

10 thoughts on “5 Minute Piano Lessons: C Major Scale for the Right Hand

    • My pleasure Jakie:) it really is as simple as it sounds… just take your time and who knows where it can take you.

      One small step doesn’t get you far but 100 over time will move you very far indeed! Each person learns at their own pace. As I tell my students, “I will move you as fast as you move yourself. If that isn’t very fast then don’t worry about it. We’ll take our time and enjoy the ride!”

  1. Hi, thank you for your lesson
    I don’t understand why you ask to move 3 fingers over the thumb when we need only the 2 and 3 and the thumb to play
    Thank you for your answer

    • That’s a good question Sandrine. Are you are referring to the exercise of playing the scale in reverse? If so then What I was saying is to move the “3” finger over your thumb which is the “1” finger. In other words move the middle finger over the thumb. I didn’t mean to imply that you would move literally three fingers over the thumb because you are correct… you only need the 2 and 3 finger and then the thumb again to finish the scale.

      Does this answer your question?

    • Read this post I wrote on the emotion of chords. Playing through the exercises there will help you improve many of the chords that are used for popular music and worship music.


      I’m sure you are already doing this, but singing to your favorite worship songs on iTunes or CDs also helps. Any amount of singing will be a help.

      If you would like more detailed help then learn discern the different intervals, which is the distance between two notes. For example. In a C major scale the first note C to the second note D is the interval of a 2nd. The first not C to the third not E is a 3rd. C to F is a 4th and so fourth with the 5th 6th and 7th until you reach the higher C which is an octave (meaning 8 notes apart). Play each interval and then sing it. Learn to listen to the differences and you will be well on your way to training that ear.

  2. Pingback: 5-Minute Piano Lessons: The Hierarchy of Chords | Deepwell Bridge

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