Beginner How people learn (learning scales)

Hi folks,

Recently I had a one off lesson with a different teacher. I said I was doing the Jazz syllabus and wanted to concentrate on improvisation. I was told you have to know your scales (which I did not).

I have this ABRSM book full of scales... I practice certain ones then I forget them, because I'm reading them from out of a book and I'm extremely forgetful.

So I'm told to play the Fmajor scale then Gmajor etc, I'm now told to try and figure the rest out by ear which simplified things an awlful lot (G, A, B, C, D, E, F) I dont know how affective this method will be with other scales.



old and opinionated
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
The way to learn to play scales is through daily practice and repetition. In time each scale will "get under your fingers" and you will be able to play them by reflex without having to think of each note. A well regarded sequence of learning scales is to follow the circle of 5ths. Going either clockwise (5ths) or counter clockwise (4ths) one adds only one additional sharp or flat for each new scale. In terms of fingerings and finger patterns only one note changes from one scale to the next.

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Burnley bb9 9dn
It's more important imo to get your ear around scales. Doh reh me... etc. That scene in "The Sound of music" may be a little twee but it's sound advice. Don't practice scales by reading them.

Once your ears have it, your fingers will find what your ears are looking for. An unfamiliar or unpracticed scale is simpler to access if the framework is understood by your ears.

The chromatic scale will educate your fingers where each and every note is and should be part of your regime because passing notes and lead notes etc are an integral part of improvisation and may not be part of the scale your piece is rooted in.

There are various exercises in taming the saxophone that are useful and entertaining.

Four hours a day for a decade or two should reveal the beginnings of fluency. ;)
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