Tuesday, 11 June 2013

How to Learn Scales

Learning scales is boring, lets face it. They are however very important and will help you in the long term. Here are some useful tips and techniques from me to help you learn and develop your scales:

1. Buy a scale book for the grade you are taking. This will help you work out exactly what is expected of you in the exam. It will give you required keys, tempo and articulation.

2. Work on one group of scales at a time. For example Dominant 7ths, Arpeggios and scales. If you need to, split arpeggios down further into majors and minors. Do focused practise on each of these groups until you have mastered them.

3. Work out the required speeds - this is the minimum that will be expected of you, note that is you are looking for a distinction you may have to play them slightly faster. Start each scale slowly and gradually speed up when you become more comfortable.

4. Trumpet players (and horn!) - learn finger patterns. You will gradually develop muscle memory. Piano players - used suggested fingerings and stick to them. They will ensure smooth movements, especially at faster speeds.

5. Use the following technique. I like to write every scale I have to learn down in small bits of paper. I then fold these up and place them in a cup. I pick these out randomly and play the scale written on the paper. If I get it right I place it in a second cup, if not it goes back into the first cup. The aim is end up with all the paper in the second cup in the fastest possible time.

A (slightly!) more entertaining way of learning scales.

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