Posts Tagged ‘Flute’


So which side of the fence are you on regarding scales?  Personally, I love them.

They are like musical vegetables, you should take in at least 7 a day!

A lot of players see them as a chore and don’t see the benefit of learning them.  I can understand that thought, especially as some students who take grades, don’t have it explained to them what connection they have to the pieces they are learning, so therefore its just another thing to try and learn to help pass their grade.

I did a trial lesson with an adult player a few years ago.  He had been playing for a good few years and played in various groups locally.  I asked him to start off the session with a G scale over one octave, playing nice and slowly as I wanted to listen to his tone.

He made a few attempts and gave up, with the explanation that he was a ‘Jazzman!’ and was used to improvising.  So we tried another scale with the same result and reason.

However I tried to break it down and help him through it, he just came back with the same reason.   Now the reason I find this a bit odd, is because to play Jazz well, you must know your scales, and normally a lot more scales and different ways to play them than a classical musician may do, as this is how you improvise.

What I have worked out over the years is that each piece is written in its own dialect of the same language.  In other words, music is the language and each key is a different dialect.  The notes within that key that make up the scale are really the letters of the alphabet that is used within that dialect.

Learning the alphabet allows us to spell words, learning words allows us to make phrases and sentences, learning sentences allows us to make paragraphs, and learning paragraphs allows us to tell stories.  That is what we try and do when we play music, we tell stories through our instrument.  So most of the good musical story tellers know their scales, because they see the benefit to their art.

I am going to leave this here for now, but I will be coming back to the subject of scales, and looking at how different people remember them and how different people teach them.

 

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