All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Extra scale/arpeggio practice!

Lewis.S

Member
Messages
117
Hello Everybody,

For those of you that love scales (we know there are some;}) I've got some extra scale practice. It involves:

Scales:
Major,
The three minors (natural, harmonic and melodic),
and a thirds patern on the above four scales, for example, here is the patern in C major:
C E D F E G, and so on.

Arpeggios:
Major,
Minor,
Dominant 7th

You play all of these in succesion in one key! So, if you started on all of these in the key of C, the next step is to find the 5th degree of C, which is G, and you repeat the whole process on G, when you have done this, find the fith degree of G, and so on. You are essentially going through the circle of fiths! This is very tricky to do, unless you know your scales very well!

Hope this helps, have fun practising!

Lewis
 

caruso

New Member
Messages
22
I wouldn't say these scales and arpeggios are extra practice I would say they are required learning. Any serious saxophone player needs to be familiar with all of these scales and arpeggios.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
I wouldn't say these scales and arpeggios are extra practice I would say they are required learning. Any serious saxophone player needs to be familiar with all of these scales and arpeggios.

Does this imply that Errol Garner, a non reader, was not a serious musician?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
There's something very satisfying about being able to play exercises such as these with complete fluidity and expression. I'm not there, but I'm working on it. And it does translate into real life playing - I was given a new piece the other day, with a 1,3,5,7 sequence in quavers in a key I hadn't practiced thirds in (Bb). Struggled, but if I'd been keeping up with the exercises it would have been a breeze....

Good one Lewis. I'm going to bash away at the pc and write this lot out.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Good man Lewis, working all this out!

Yes all of this is fine, if you are reading the dots, I haven't needed to since 1957. However, quite a few people prefer to play by ear and develop a natural feel for the instrument, and the pitch of the notes, enabling them to roam freely (improvise), with fantastic satisfaction.
I even know some of them on the forum!

I say good luck to us all!!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

caruso

New Member
Messages
22
Does this imply that Errol Garner, a non reader, was not a serious musician?

No. The guy can obviously play. No one said you had to be able to read music to play scales and arpeggios either. From what I've heard of his playing he knows his stuff.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,421
Good man Lewis, working all this out!

Yes all of this is fine, if you are reading the dots, I haven't needed to since 1957. However, quite a few people prefer to play by ear and develop a natural feel for the instrument, and the pitch of the notes, enabling them to roam freely (improvise), with fantastic satisfaction.
I even know some of them on the forum!

I say good luck to us all!!

Fair comment. Ripping up and down scales and arpeggios will give you the tools of your trade, a bit like giving a stone-mason a good set of chisels. Doesn't make him Michelangelo though.....
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
You'll find that that Nice Mr Thomas' Taming the Saxophone has many exercises that take you round the circle of fifths like that. Just wish I had time, even in retirement, to do it all diligently every day. Having said that, I find Pete's Taming very good for dipping into when needed (eg found blues scales in it the other day in my lesson when doing some impro with my teacher when she couldn't find them anywhere...).
YC
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
Scales practice

Hi Kev

dont write them out, just work them out instead. Yes it will be slower but you will retain them better. You will be practising the process of what is involved rather than practising your reading. All that time writing could be spent blowing. This is a case of no pain no gain.

The exercise that I am working on is arpeggios (1,3,5,8) eg going up C major and coming down C# major, up D down Eb etc but making sure that I start on low Bb and go right up to top F/F#. The hard part is starting at the top and then playing them down, it doesn't flow so easily. This will be a whole new ball game when I try 1,3,5,7.

regards

Dave
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Dave, I've been trying it that way, but not too successfully. I' going to try the written stuff, then move to memorised next.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
Scales practice

fair point Kev, I know that for me I work better if I know the formula of what ever I am trying to learn rather than just learning long lines of notes.

Dave
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
One example - I've been trying to learn Eb without notes. Even after 3 months, I still don't play it cleanly every time. I always mess up around Ab. I either forget it going up, or forget the Bb...
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
Eb Major

Try it like this. First of all spend a week talking it through to yourself both up and down. repeat it at least a dozen times a day, then play it in 2 sections Eb, F, G, Ab and back down again. Then Bb, C , D, Eb (this is the first tetrachord of Bb Major) and back down. then when you can do both comfortably try adding them together very very slowly. So slow that you cannot possibly make a mistake. Best advice is do not rush and you will get there.

good luck Kev

Dave
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,916
You can do a lot of practice on this without even taking the sax out of the case. Go through your scale/apreggio/pattern/whatever in your head, as slowly as you need to get it right (the nice thing about doing it this way is that you can take as long as you like without worrying about breath supply) and move you fingers (preferably when nobody's watching ;}) as if you are forming the notes. If it's something like a major scale whose sound you know, you can also try to imagine hearing it as you play (at least the relative pitches). Seems to work for me, anyway.

Martin
 

caruso

New Member
Messages
22
I agree with all those saying you should practice your scales from memory. It is one thing to play scales when they are written out and a totally different when you play your the scales from memory. I find that learning to play scales from memory internalizes them much better than reading scales does. I also find that I pay attention to the sound of the scale more when I play by memory. When I'm reading scales I tend to focus too much on reading the notes.
 

VirusKiller

Member
Messages
449
When I last played 20 to 30 years ago, I played everything from written music - it was all very mechanistic for me. Now, I'm deliberately playing by ear. I know the sound of a major scale, so that's relatively straightforward. I'm practicing all scales around the circle of fifths and, following the advice of my teacher, I'm practicing horizontal (regular up and down) and vertical (arpeggio) scales. I've combined the two so I do 1-3-5-7-9 and then come down the full scale back to 1. I find that the pattern I'm playing quickly gets committed to memory; if I make a mistake, I simply correct it and carry on.

I'm also familiar with harmonic and melodic minor, so that will help me when I get round to practicing these scales shortly. It might get trickier when I have to learn other scales such as natural minor, Dorian and blues scales. For these, I'll learn the sound of the particular scale in an easy key and then move around the circle again.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Thanks guys. Martin's post reminds me of an old gliding instructor who advised be to practice stick and rudder contol on my own at home, using whatever came to hand. Can't say more, cos Pete'll have to moderate me. But I think you get the picture. Worked, though..

Am going to be working along the lines suggested above. But what's worrying me, and why I'm giog back to notes, is that I'm learning my mistakes.... And I need to break that one, fast.
 

VirusKiller

Member
Messages
449
But what's worrying me, and why I'm giog back to notes, is that I'm learning my mistakes....
Concentrate on the sound of the intervals. I'm sure you know what a C major scale sounds like - all other major scales should "sound" the same, they just start on a different note. You can always return to an easy scale to refresh your memory.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
It's not the sound, it's the fingers. I hear the interval, blow for it and the fingers do something else.... Most fustrating. Happens a lot when I type as well.
 
Top Bottom