I won’t ever give up. I will continue to say scales are important. Forever. Until I leave this dusty planet. Really.

So get used to it.

But, after checking out Chris Foley’s latest blog entry I see I’m not the only one. Go visit his blog and you’ll see.

My students know their scales. The private students I begin at home in my studio can outplay nearly all my university students before I get them to accept the necessary requirement of scale playing. I have middle school students who play chromatic, major, melodic minor and whole tone scales. Really. Once they get those down we move on to thirds. (Everyone hears those awful glitches that oboists have between thirds and I just can’t stand it; having them start thirds early and carefully makes me hopeful they’ll not have those glitches haunt them.)

Eventually we get to all those exercises at the beginning of the Vade Mecum. That adds arpeggios to the mix, along with other patterns that are glitch-prone. It’s about clean playing. It’s about recognizing a key signature and knowing which alternate fingerings will almost certainly be required. It’s about finger agility. And it’s just about following my rules, too. I’m mean that way. ;-)

1 Comment

  1. My clarinet teacher also agrees, has me doing scales, arpeggios,sevenths, different exercises for scales, no reading them! He says the same thing, its about recognizing them because they’re in the music. My previous teacher on the other hand, didn’t place any emphasis on scales. Maybe she thought I would leave if she did .