Or are they just silly, time-consuming exercises?
If you have been playing piano for any amount of time, you are aware that a skilled pianist has to go through those exercises in order to reach their level of expertise. At the same time, though, people tend to hate this aspect of their training, and look down on it, as they are really boring and associated with teachers who aren’t any fun.
Worst of all, people can often be spurred to quit the piano completely because they are sick of all the scales. Arpeggios and scales aren’t what get people into piano playing – making and playing beautiful music is; and that is what people are eager to get to when they start this process.
Therefore, do you really have to do those silly exercises that suck all the fun out of piano playing? Might you be able to learn the piano in a way that’s fun and enjoyable?
Rethinking the Use of Scales
If you were to ask me, I would claim that there is a way to incorporate those exercises in a fun way that makes you think you are still doing something creative and enjoyable, instead of slapping them at the end for no apparent reason.
Essentially, you want to find a way to match the scales and arpeggios with the piano sheet music you wish to play, in order to make it more enjoyable. Since chords and scales make up most of our music, we do want to learn how to play them independently, so you have the language and the skills necessary to play that music once you get to it. If you do this right, you can still practice and not feel like it is a mechanical, rote exercise you can hate.
This duty is up to the piano teachers; finding a method of training that involves their love of music and gets them playing while still teaching them the essentials that they need in which to survive in the piano world.
This strategy can be a good way to use scales in an interesting way: Check out a piece that you really want to get good at playing, the harder the better. You might even already know how to play it, but want to get better at performing it for people. Peruse the score in order to find broken chords and scales that already exist within it, as well as their keys. Then, start practicing those particular ones only; this way, you have a specific goal in mind as you work, and you are not needing to feel like you are doing it for no reason. This can make it quite a bit easier to get into playing the scale, as you are on your way to a particular piece you like.
Put as much pep and verve into your playing as you can, even with the exercise. This can have the effect of making it seem much more fun to do, so you are not feeling forced to go through the motions.