Tag: scales

  • Why you should use a scale sheet

    Why you should use a scale sheet

    My university students take a scale exam covering all the major and 3-forms-of-minor scales, plus arpeggios, in all 12 keys, memorized. In preparation, I provide them with a scale “sheet,” with all of the scales and arpeggios written out note by note. There’s a part of my brain that objects to this, since I don’t …

    Keep reading →

  • Getting the most out of practicing your scales

    Getting the most out of practicing your scales

    When you practice scales (or arpeggios or, really, any other technical material) it’s not really about the scales. Nobody wants to buy tickets to hear you play scales. Scale and technical practice develop the fundamental technique you need for doing more interesting things. You don’t learn multiplication tables or French verb conjugations so you can …

    Keep reading →

  • Thinking through scales

    Thinking through scales

    My university woodwind students have to pass a scale exam as one of the requirements to progress in their degree program. They have to be able to play major scales and three forms of minor scales, plus arpeggios, through the “full range” of the instrument, from memory. Many of my students learned their major scales …

    Keep reading →

  • Why scales?

    I recently asked one of my (woodwind) students why she thinks I make her practice scales. She didn’t have a ready answer, and I realized maybe I hadn’t been clear about the value of scales. Here are some reasons to practice scales (and arpeggios, and other methodical technical materials): To develop good finger movement. Scales provide …

    Keep reading →

  • Memorizing scales

    As I’ve mentioned before, my university students are subject to a scale proficiency exam. Most arrive at the university “knowing” at least some major scales, but most of them will also have to learn at least a few new ones and maybe put some old ones into a new format.  For their exam, the scales …

    Keep reading →

  • Full-range scales and arpeggios

    My students at the university are subject to a department-wide requirement to pass a scale exam, in which they must demonstrate mastery of major and minor scales. The format of the scales, however, is left up to the individual studio professors. Most of the studios require scales to be played in octaves, but I prefer …

    Keep reading →

  • How well do you know your major scales?

    Can you play them… …in all twelve keys, smoothly and evenly, the full range of your instrument(s)? …with a beautiful sound on each and every note, and each note right in tune? …with poised, elegant phrasing?

    Keep reading →