Because you're playing for a jury, I assume you have a piano teacher; if that is the case, first make sure (if he/she is a good teacher) that you follow all given advice. All I can say is practice them...A LOT and at least until you can rip up and down the keyboard at 208. (not kidding)
Aside from that, there is a neat fingering pattern that must be recognized, common to certain groups of scales. For example, C, G, D, A, and E major all have the same fingering (rh, 1231234(5/1)) and can therefore be grouped into a single "family" of scales, which we will call "White Key Major Scales." The second group (with the rh fingering, 2312341(2)) comprised of B, F#, C#, and F major shall be called "Black Key Major Scales." (Even though F major is not quite a "black key" scale, the fingering fits.)
If you're unfamiliar with this style of grouping scales into sets determined by their fingering pattern, you're working too hard. Let me know and I can e-mail it to you.
Anyway, that's a pretty major tool I was never able to exploit, I learned all my scales without ever realizing this pattern would've made things so much simpler.
PS: My favorite chromatic scale fingering is, (rh starting on C and ascending) 4-3535-4-353535-(4) I'm sure you can see the fingering is dependent upon where the black keys are. The lh fingering is the same except in mirror image (starting on E and this time, descending) 4-3535-4-353535-(4)
It's great for coordinating the muscles on the outer palm and I practice it once every four days (for about 60 minutes nonstop at varied tempi and loudness) Just be careful, these muscles are easily injured so take it gradually! (Two minutes the first day, three minutes the next, etc...) I can't stress that enough.
Hey Pete! Thanks for you quick and helpful response. I am a piano performance major in college, so my juries are chaired by the entire keyboard faculty seeing me struggle in my attempts at an B Minor scale.
I do have a wonderful teacher, but somehow she always forgets scales two weeks before the actual jury occurs and that week is utter torture for me having hundreds of exams and tests and stuff. My teacher is actually more of the perfect "master class" teacher rather than giving you solid advice on basic skills, so that's why I have to resort to the internet.
For some reason, I have no problem playing sixteenth notes up to 208 or faster in pieces or passages or anything, just when it comes to scales. On scales, it seems my hands can't even coordinate at 100. Do you know of any specific techniques other than the metronome? A friend told me to practice scales the Russian method: very difficult and time consuming.
I did notice the white key scale group, but I had not realized the others. That will certainly help me learn the scales faster.
Thanks for the chromatic scale fingering, it certainly reminds me of the fingering in Chopin's Etude No. 2 Op. 10. I shall try to incorporate it into my daily practice, the outer hands are quite weak.
Also, how do you/how would you incorporate scales into practice sessions? Everyday for 30 min? more? less?
I think you should add the choice (kidding) "I only practice my scales twice a week, because I know my scales like the backs of my hands and play enough technically demanding pieces that I only need to practice them that often; If I practiced my scales more than twice a week, my ears, hands and mind would be over-trained and therefore less able to make music, which is after all the whole point of playing the piano; of course this was not always the case because there was a time where daily scale practice was a requirement but that time is now past because I've known my scales for almost 14 years and am quite secure in my playing (my sight-reading is another matter); I may practice them even less frequently in the future but my technique is insufficiently secure to enable such practicional (I know that's not a word) rarefying.
You know, I was considering that option for the briefest second, but then I realized probably about 150 people in the population would be truly able to select it and about 6 people total with that talent are actually online, so it wouldn't make sense.