Unfamiliar Scales

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Does it take you a long time to learn a new scale or pattern of notes? Use this method and you will know them in no time at all!

There are 7 steps you need to complete:

1. Sing the scale

Use a good full voice and sing all the notes of your scale. Do this until you can really hear the notes inside your head before you sing them. Aim to sing the precise notes. It can be useful to use a piano to get you started with this.

2. Sing and name the intervals

Having got all the notes into your ears this next step will help make you aware of the gaps between the notes. For each step in your scale sing the two notes and then name the step between them. It could be a major or minor second or a whole or half tone if you prefer. Do this until you are confident of all the intervals up and down your scale.

3. Play notes in pairs

Now’s the time to move to your instrument. Begin by slowly playing the notes of your scale in pairs. First play notes 1 and 2. If they are correct play notes 2 and 3. Again move on when correct to notes 3 and 4. Continue up the scale until you have played all the notes.

4. Play to 5th and back

Now put some of your pairs of notes together by playing the first 5 notes.

5. Up and down, down and up

We’ve now reached playing the whole scale. Make sure to play it from the top down as well as the bottom up. When these patters appear in music they don’t always start at the bottom!

When you do this make sure to play without any mistakes.

6. Play different moods

Choose some different moods and play your scale like that. You might choose sad, in which case your scale might be slow, quiet and lazy. If you chose angry it might be loud, fast and accented. Some other moods you might consider are confused, laughing, cool, happy, amazed, embarrased.

7. Start on different notes

Scales do not always start on the root or first note. To finish and prove to yourself that you really know your scale you must start and end on a note other than the 1st one. Try starting and finishing on the 4th note of your scale.

Once you really know it you will be able to start and finish your scale on any note :)

Download a worksheet

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