Piano Scales for Modern Music

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

2,855 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Suzanna Sifter

Instructor: Suzanna Sifter

Intermediate level

Recommended experience

12 hours to complete
3 weeks at 4 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Construct and play a variety of scales used in contemporary music

  • Identify scales in multi-genre melodies and harmonies

  • Compose and improvise melodies using scales

  • Utilize effective practice routines to quickly improve your piano playing

Details to know

Shareable certificate

Add to your LinkedIn profile


9 quizzes

See how employees at top companies are mastering in-demand skills


Earn a career certificate

Add this credential to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV

Share it on social media and in your performance review


There are 5 modules in this course

Welcome to Piano Scales for Modern Music! Before you begin, we will cover all the details about the course and what you'll need to know to get the most out of your experience.

What's included

1 video4 readings1 quiz

In this first lesson, we will begin by discussing the structure of the major and natural minor scales and identifying the fingering used to play these scales. We will learn how to make the most of our practice time by including a short warm up, practicing with proper posture, and creating daily practice goals. We will then identify how to use the major and natural minor scales in a jazz style and to improvise.

What's included

7 videos4 readings2 quizzes2 discussion prompts

In lesson two, we will switch over to major and minor pentatonic scales. You will learn how to notate and play these scales and we will cover a very simple practice tip that will simply how you memorize scale fingerings. We will then identify the major and minor pentatonic scale in various popular musical settings and learn to play pentatonic melody over a funky groove. Finally, we will practice improvising using a new chord progression.

What's included

6 videos5 readings2 quizzes2 discussion prompts

In lesson three, we will move on to something that might be a little less familiar but is widely used in all styles of music. We will take a look at the modes that can be created using a major scale and then focus in on a few that are most commonly used in popular music. We will talk about playing with different dynamics and how to develop an even playing tone on the piano. We will also play and improvise a melody in a jazz setting.

What's included

6 videos4 readings2 quizzes2 discussion prompts

It's time for our final lesson and we are going to focus on playing the Blues. We will learn how to build the minor and major blues scales before practicing them. We will also identify how common it is to hear Blues notes in popular music. We will then combine all of our practicing so far to compose your own melody using a Blues scale before our final improvisation practice over a 12-bar Blues.

What's included

7 videos5 readings2 quizzes2 discussion prompts


Suzanna Sifter
1 Course2,855 learners

Offered by


Recommended if you're interested in Music and Art

Why people choose Coursera for their career

Felipe M.
Learner since 2018
"To be able to take courses at my own pace and rhythm has been an amazing experience. I can learn whenever it fits my schedule and mood."
Jennifer J.
Learner since 2020
"I directly applied the concepts and skills I learned from my courses to an exciting new project at work."
Larry W.
Learner since 2021
"When I need courses on topics that my university doesn't offer, Coursera is one of the best places to go."
Chaitanya A.
"Learning isn't just about being better at your job: it's so much more than that. Coursera allows me to learn without limits."

Open new doors with Coursera Plus

Unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs - all included in your subscription

Advance your career with an online degree

Earn a degree from world-class universities - 100% online

Join over 3,400 global companies that choose Coursera for Business

Upskill your employees to excel in the digital economy

Frequently asked questions