If you are an organist, it’s likely that you understand how important it is to be able to play pedal scales. Since they can help you to enhance your ankle’s flexibility and control, pedal scales are a great way to sharpen your technique and focus less on the pedals when playing and more on the overall performance. However, there are quite a few organists who choose not to put these pedal scales in their practice because they aren’t sure how to most efficiently play the scales. Today, we would like to cover the traditional ways of playing pedal scales.
Keep your knees and heels together.
This is the most traditional way of playing pedals, and we encourage it. This helps both your feet to move as one unit. While this is difficult to do, it can help to focus on at least keeping the heels together while mastering the pedal scales. This is how we, as organists, can personally decide which method of pedaling is going to be the most efficient for us.
Make sure not to allow any breaks in between the notes. While this is a simple task while playing piano, it certainly is not as simple when mastering the church organ. While you may be discouraged at first, even if you can’t make it through a scale your first few times, remain persistent! You will be able to play your scales legato eventually.
Use the toe-toe-heel-heel approach.
This is one the most efficient ways to pedal, so it is very beneficial to learn this technique from the very beginning. It means that you will play your first note with the left toe, then with the right toe. The third note is played with your left heel, and your fourth note will be played with your right heel. After that, repeat with the left toe. This is to ascend the scale. As you descend the scale, practice reversing the pedaling. This technique allows organists to keep their knees and feet together, which keeps them playing with the inside of the feet.
Adjust your pedaling when you need to.
Sometimes, accidentals (like sharps and flats) will require you to adjust your current practice. We can’t play the sharp keys with our heels, so for some keys, you may need to start the key with a heel in order to get the sharp with your toe. In this case, we recommend that you start your pedaling from the middle of the scale.
Contact Whitesel Church Organs.
As you learn how to perfect your scales, do your best to keep the tempo slow. Master one major and one minor scale each week. In about twelve weeks, you should be able to play each scale with ease! Contact our team today if your church organ needs tuning or if you need a new organ for your space. We look forward to helping you and hearing all about your organ practice. We are proud to serve a large region, including Virginia, Connecticut, and New York, so call us today to learn more!