Thursday, July 21, 2011

Practicing Technique With 12-Sided Dice

When discussing how to practice scales, chords, and arpeggios randomly with a student preparing for her Grade 9 piano exam in a few weeks, an idea suddenly hit me: why not use 12-sided dice? Many of you versed in the ways of Dungeons and Dragons may still have one of these dodecahedronal novelties stashed in a closet somewhere, otherwise you can easily buy one on Amazon for a few dollars or find one online. When randomizing the keys you practice in the lead-up to an exam, all you have to do is roll the dice and when the number shows up, play the corresponding key in the major or minor:

1 = C
2 = C sharp/D flat
3 = D
4 = E flat
5 = E
6 = F
7 = F sharp/G flat
8 = G
9 = G sharp/A flat
10 = A
11 = B flat
12 = B

If you're preparing for an RCM exam, this method should work for most patterns in Grade 9, Grade 10, and ARCT Advanced Practical Piano Pedagogy. For an extra level of randomness, you can toss a coin first to determine whether the key was major or minor, then toss the 12-sided dice to determine the key.


  1. Anonymous1:15 AM

    That's a great idea!

    However, if I was going to do it... I would correspond the numbers to set theory (twelve-tone technique). In case the student continues her music knowledge, she'll learn this technique, and already be familiar with the number system.

    Just a thought!

  2. As long as you can get a 12-sided dice with A and B, or t and e, instead of 11 and 12.