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Practicing scales



 
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Dieter Z
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:41 am    Post subject: Practicing scales Reply with quote

Not to long ago I returned to practicing scales. There are 12 exercises per scale on one page per scale.

So I am wondering : What is more beneficial.

Practicing through 3 or 4 scales per session and let the brain be more exposed to the different scales.

OR

Just focus on one scale per session and do more repeats and let it burn more into your brain.

What is your take on this?
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, it was all keys at the same time

Music, even though it may be in a certain key, often modulates all over the place, so you're really not playing in just the original key, but many. Practicing all keys helps you to play these places in the music when the tonality strays into other keys.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on your ultimate objective. Are you just trying to become fluent in playing scales, is this just a flexibility exercise, is your objective to apply this skill to something (such as to jazz improvisation) or is there some other objective?
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khedger
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that practicing all keys is....well, KEY! That's how I recommend practicing the 'all keys' exercises in Arban. Practice the whole page.

One other thing on scale practice that I ran into recently (I guess I'm a comeback player...). Make sure and practice them in BOTH directions. I started doing this and was quite surprised that I was having little brain fart type problems when descending, specifically in my minor scales. I've been practicing these things for 50 years, so one wouldn't expect to run into these kind of stupid issues....but there it was.

keith
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Dieter Z
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The purpose is to become more fluent in all scales, especially the once we don't see too often like 5 or 6 flats or sharps.
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Dieter Z
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ascending the scale seems easier. Make more mistakes what descending.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dieter Z wrote:
The purpose is to become more fluent in all scales, especially the once we don't see too often like 5 or 6 flats or sharps.


I played in disco/pop/soul bands. Can you say "F#" and "B", boys and girls?
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mafields627
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
Dieter Z wrote:
The purpose is to become more fluent in all scales, especially the once we don't see too often like 5 or 6 flats or sharps.


I played in disco/pop/soul bands. Can you say "F#" and "B", boys and girls?


Same with church work.
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Dieter Z
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some scales I can play up and down without even thinking or knowing which note I play.

On others I have to read most notes so play and on the more enshrined once I need to read almost every note.

Hope they start to flow much easier.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dieter Z wrote:
Some scales I can play up and down without even thinking or knowing which note I play.

On others I have to read most notes so play and on the more enshrined once I need to read almost every note.

Hope they start to flow much easier.


Everyone learns differently so I don't think there is a hard and fast rule to how to practice scales. For me, I'd segregate the types of scales (major, minor, etc.) and focus on all 12 of just one type in any one practice session.

What you're trying to do is create muscle memory so that the scales are automatic, that is, your focus is on the pitches rather than the names of the notes and you train your fingers and embouchure to produce those pitches automatically in sequence ascending and descending. It's not the same as "memorizing." This is an automatic thing learned through lots of repetition.
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Jaw04
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recommend playing all 12 major scales every day without looking at the page. Go slow and repeat as many times as you need.
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khedger
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:

I played in disco/pop/soul bands. Can you say "F#" and "B", boys and girls?


and don't forget those trumpet solos on 'Johnny Be Good'! Always fun....

keith
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Beyond16
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a beginner 6+ months in, scales are all I practice (except for occasional harmonic slurs). I really should be (re) learning to read music but I am not motivated enough at this point.

It is surprising to me how long it takes to get muscle memory to its maximum. Once muscle memory works at a certain speed, I need considerable practice for playing faster or slower. For me, learning ascending + descending seems like exactly twice the work of ascending only.

I am focusing on range building, so I play through two octaves instead of one as much as possible. I try to play 1-3 rounds of ascending two octaves then descending two octaves, in one breath without any break between octaves. My lungs aren't great, so 3 sets means playing quickly. That quick ability adds significantly to the muscle memory training for me.

I know only C major and F# major this way. I chose F# major to make 3 octaves an easier goal. At this point, I can play the 2 octave F# all day long. The 2 octave C scale is easy on a good day, after the right amount of warmup. I am starting to work on the third octave of F#. The last 2 or 3 notes are difficult.

My wife is teaching herself piano. The children must think it's strange she can read some music and play songs, while I have spent 6+ months playing 2 scales.
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Eliot
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Practicing scales Reply with quote

Dieter Z wrote:
Not to long ago I returned to practicing scales. There are 12 exercises per scale on one page per scale.

So I am wondering : What is more beneficial.

Practicing through 3 or 4 scales per session and let the brain be more exposed to the different scales.

OR

Just focus on one scale per session and do more repeats and let it burn more into your brain.

What is your take on this?


FWIW a couple of observations from personal experience.

1) I am attempting to get up to a graded level of Australian standard trumpet playing.
2) the graded level exams expect various scales to be performed from memory, sans music.
3) I had been practising all scales as in a "bracket" of music, but was having trouble with both F# and C# major and minor scales.
4) I took them out of the "bracket" of scales and repeated, repeated, repeated.
5) Eventually they are being written somewhere in the old grey matter or where ever automaticity forms.
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Turkle
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I practice scales, I practice them in all keys.

Generally, I pick a mode (Dorian, 5th mode of Melodic Minor, half-whole diminished, etc.) and run them ascending and descending in all keys, with different articulations, gradually increasing the tempo until I'm maxed out. Then I do the same starting with descending.

I also always practice the associated arpeggios in the same way. E.g. if I'm running Mixolidian scales I'll run dominant seventh arpeggios, or if I'm running melodic minor scales I'll run minor-major-seventh arpeggios.

It's best to practice different chord movements as well: Circle of 4ths, chromatic ascending/descending, whole steps, minor thirds, major thirds are all super useful.

The above method is one I adapted from Coker's "Patterns for Jazz," which is still my go-to book for things like this.

I made a super-handy worksheet for scale patterns, which you can download here:

https://bit.ly/3b7TyR2

Cheers.
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Eliot
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Practicing scales Reply with quote

Eliot wrote:


FWIW a couple of observations from personal experience.

1) I am attempting to get up to a graded level of Australian standard trumpet playing.
2) the graded level exams expect various scales to be performed from memory, sans music.
3) I had been practising all scales as in a "bracket" of music, but was having trouble with both F# and C# major and minor scales.
4) I took them out of the "bracket" of scales and repeated, repeated, repeated.
5) Eventually they are being written somewhere in the old grey matter or where ever automaticity forms.


BTW I haven't given up on practising the "bracket" of scales. But I am making a conscious effort of doing the F# and C# scales as a separate and very distinct practise routine atm.
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