Dexterity means finger swiftness and accuracy. Good musicians, whether pop, jazz or classical, practice playing up and down the notes of their instruments quickly and evenly so that they can play the notes they want when they want. Playing scales is one way of doing this.
But practicing scales has another benefit.
Playing scales is part of learning the keys. Efficient, conscious scale practice accustoms the musician to the ‘look and feel’ of the advanced keys – and knowing the keys is essential if you want to be a ‘really useful musician'.
Musicarta can show you ways of learning and practicing scales efficiently, so you won’t spend hours slogging mechanically through the scales without getting what’s useful to you as a musician out of it from the word go.
If you are coming back to the piano later in life, Musicarta’s new and scientific approach will show what it was you were learning in your early lessons, and help you reap the benefit of the hours you invested.
If you’re a young(ish) Musicarta fan and either really hate scales or ‘just can’t see the point’, try letting Musicarta’s fresh approach persuade you to look again. Nearly every proficient musician, popular or classical, will admit, in the end, that scale work is an essential part of a rounded musical foundation.
New! Practical and useful ‘key keyboard’ diagrams!
The well-schooled musician sees the key signature in the keyboard and is pre-programmed to play the ‘right’ notes.
The new ‘Key-specific keyboards’ web page presents new and intuitive keyboard diagrams representing what the proficient musician sees in response to the twelve key signatures.
To de-mystify key signatures and give an overview of the logic behind them, the keyboards are arranged in working-through-the-sharps and working-through-the-flats order, with theory notes.
Classical piano pupils spend many hours learning scales for exams, and remembering the fingering of the scales is a large part of their workload.
What is not generally known or taught is that the twelve major scales fall into four distinct fingering groups. Once you understand this, you’re ‘oriented’, and working within a known bigger picture rather than learning fingering in a tedious, scale by scale, way. This is a far more efficient way of working – you end up knowing your scales more quickly and for less effort.
Musicarta scale fingering practice patterns addresses known issues head on and short-circuit hours of trial-and-error frustration.
Teachers and self-directing pupils will both benefit from this focused solution. Try the Musicarta solution and see how quickly it improves your scale performance and knowledge of keys.
Scales are often practiced and played without any rhythm at all, but a rhythm provides great motivation for the player to ‘keep the notes coming'. Practice patterns with specific up-and-down contours have the same effect.
Musicarta offers a collection of Contoured scale practice patterns in D, specifically for keyboard players working through the Musicarta Canon Project - though any learner wanting to get to grips with a good intermediate key signature will find the practice invaluable.
The Rhythmic scale practice patterns page is for the intermediate-on learner who has realised that immersion in conscious, musical scale practise will repay the effort a thousand-fold.
Both these modules coax the learner away from written-out scales by presenting contoured patterns as simple line diagrams to be 'realized' (in any key) by a more conscious and creative, self-directing musician.
Click through and see how Musicarta’s collection of new and challenging scale practice techniques will liven up your practice and double the benefit of time spent on scales.
Pure scale passages almost never appear in popular music. Repeated, overlapping scale fragments are, however, a major component of soloing. Musicarta’s collection of scale practice patterns offers the improvising musician a new approach to dexterity and an introduction to the vital matter of ‘improvisation fingering’.
Pentatonic scales are extremely useful, both for creating melodies and for improvising. Practising pentatonic scales is almost like practising music – blues and heavy metal riffs are drawn almost note for note from the pentatonic minor scale, while the pentatonic major is the rock music jamming scale par excellence.
See the separate ‘PENTATONICS’ navigation bar tab for the Musicarta Pentatonic Scales covering page.
Minor scales (and keys) present distinct challenges. In Western classical music, there are two minor scales, melodic and harmonic, the first used principally in the melody and the second to generate the chords of a minor key. A great deal of minor-feel popular music, however, is modal (you can access Musicarta’s extensive coverage of modal music via the MODES tab on the navbar, left), or is blues-oriented and built on the minor pentatonic scale (see PENTATONICS, left).
We hope you have found your visit to Musicarta's Scales home page interesting.
Scales are underestimated (particularly by pupils!) as a creative building block. If you do no other practice in any one day other than playing scales for a few minutes - consciously, with attention, and in a creative way, you will have kept the spirit alive and banked some 'musical merit' which is sure to mature at a later date.
and keep Musicarta