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The importance and the benefits of the scales

scales classic studies

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#1 Lausax

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:50 PM

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The scales. The terror of musicians! We don't like very much to play them and we always wonder if we really need them. Well, the answer is yes, if we really want a good technique on our instrument and then we want to keep this technique from going rusty. The scales will help you to play in all keys and improve your skills.
 
 
There are a lot of scales, but the three basic are major, minor and melodic. There are also the arpeggios, broken chords that can be major, minor, etc. like the relative scales. We can talk about scales for years, they're a lot! So, let's move directly to the advices that can help you to enjoy your scales and gain the maximum benefit from time spent learning sclaes!

 
 
Use scales as a warm up. Playing sclaes must be the first thing you do after assembling your instrument. This serves to prepare the instrument and make it to do the best and help you to improve your technique and your sound. Pick some easy scales to begin with, like F major or E minor. Start with a slow metronome speed and increase the speed gradually, for example you can start with 60bpms and increase a bit the speed every day, so, at the end of the week, you can play the scales at the speed of 75bpms!
 
When practising a scale, make it sound musical. In this way the scales won't be boring. You can change the rhythm, the expression of the sound or the dynamics. You can play them swing or in triplets with various articulations like slurred or tounged. It's fun! Try it, also with a backing track. You won't be bored anymore!
 
Always play the scales at a speed you can manage accurately. If you are repeatedly making mistakes, you are playing them too fast. Slow down. Playing them fast and wrong means that you are actually learning them wrong!
 
Memorize them as soon as possible. This can help you, for example, to improvise. If you know the scales, it become easier for you to understand quickly what you can play on this or that chord and your solos become more beautiful! You can follow the chords and play the best phrases on them and not after they've passed.

Learn one scale at a time. This is very important. Set yourself a “scale of the week”. Most people, average around a week to consolidate a scale if they practise it daily. Even if you are a quick learner, avoid the temptation to learn too many at once. It’s confusing and you mightn't learn well the scales. In this case, you'll have to do it all over again!
 
Learn and practise the related arpeggios. Arpeggios are broken chords and should be learned along with the scale. Thet're formed by the first, the third and the fifth note of the scale.
 
Play your scales regularly. If you learned them properly, you won't ever completely forget the scales. But, if you don't play them often, they can become very rusty. So, play them regularly as part of your practice routine. Start with those that you know better and finish with the one that you are currently learning.
 
Enjoy playing your scales. Scales need not be boring. The more you play them the easier they become and the easier they become the more you will enjoy playing them. Once a scale is learned in strict time try varying the rhythmic structure. You could apply Latin or funk rhythms, for example.
 
Create an imaginary audience. Perform your scale. Enjoy playing the scale. Play it expressively, and all the while concentrate on the three T’s: Tone, Tuning, and Timing.
 
Recognise the benefits. As you learn more scales you are gradually laying the foundation of a secure technique. Not only are you consolidating finger patterns for all the different keys, you are simultaneously improving your breathing, tone, timing, intonation, articulation and aural skills.


Guys, if you need some help, call me. Call me also if you want a specific article for the "Front Page News".

 

There isn't a best reed in general, but for each of us there is a "special" reed or there ARE some reeds that we love. Sax is a very sensible instrument: the smallest variation is enough to change the sound, for example the position of the reed or the weather.

  • Generally, there isn't a superior reed.
  • We must try different reeds.
  • We must understand by ourselves which reed (or reeds) is the best for us.

#2 bAgO

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:06 PM

very helpful.



#3 astormingus

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 06:01 AM

Hey, guys, these words are the Holy Bible of every musician, especially for a saxophone player!

 

B)



#4 obil

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 11:50 AM

Buenos tips... Gracias¡¡¡¡ 



#5 hrodrigue6

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:44 PM

yo creo que es fundamental saber y practicar escalas, ya que ellas son el germen de toda melodía y te ayuda a conocer y dominar el instrumento.



#6 gdeleon

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:02 PM

I completely agree! There was a time I started to learn the scales for Grades 1 - 3 and always did the scales as practice before playing the songs and I remember not having difficulties playing the notes of the song. But when I started omitting the scales when I played, I realized somehow I was experiencing all sorts of difficulties playing. So I will return to my old regimen of doing the scales, practising vibrato then play some songs



#7 Sulieman_b_maz

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 06:47 AM

thx very much very helpful but i have a question which is out of the topic which is "HOW TO POST??????????????????"



#8 Saxmann1

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 04:49 AM

Thank you for this topic, I am new to the Alto Saxophone this year and very new to this site. I gues because I am older in life in my early 50's I want to play melodies, But really czant till I know my scales.  This just reinforces to me that I am really wasting valable time and energy not to mention not progressing like i can without knowing the scales. I so wish I picked up the Alto 30 plus years ago,   I will print this article and keep it with me.    Vinny 



#9 Chessy

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 10:28 AM

Brilliant stuff

#10 Harry Su

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 05:17 PM

Can't agree with it anymore. :lol:


Harry Su, Taiwan

Carpe Diem!!!


#11 Saxrasta

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 04:30 PM

Rather than memorize 12 major scales, I was taught what all major scales have in common. The intervals. Every major scale uses the same formula. (W= whole step; 1/2= half step) 

Major scales:

W, W, 1/2, W, W, W, 1/2

 

For example G major. The intervals from note to note follow the major scale formula

 

G A B C D E F# G

 

Professor Marcel Mule (when teaching at the Paris Conservatory) used to set a tempo goal for his students of up and down the full range (excluding altissimo) of the horn twice without taking a breath.



#12 Akira

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Posted 26 September 2015 - 06:56 AM

..Thank you sir... im a begginner and im learning the scales... i dream when i can move on...



#13 Alto

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 07:02 PM

very helpful, thanks!



#14 Chacon01

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 05:37 PM

Everything is important, but we need to have clear that if we want improvising the armony is escential



#15 Saxrasta

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:52 AM

Practice with a metronome, always! For scales set a tempo in which you play 16th note scales (4 notes per metronome click), or beginners should start with 8th note scales (2 notes per metronome click). Play scales the full range of the horn. For example C major... start with low C, go all the way up to high F, and back down to low B, then end on low C. If you make any mistake at all, slow your tempo to a point where you can p,ay perfectly every time. Then increase by one notch. Don't teach yourself mistakes because you are in a hurry to play faster tempos. Slow practice is the key to learning quickly.






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