Daily scales – Chuck Lirette

Scales

Ever
wonder why musicians have to practice scales every day? You might think
that once you’ve learned them you could move on to other music but that
is not the case. I meet my students (at Duquesne) each weekday morning
at 8am and we warm up with long tones and by playing scales. The reason
is electro-chemical. A thought process is an electro-chemical path
through the brain. All of us can recite multiples of 2, 5 or ten very
quickly (you know 2, 4, 6, 8 or 5, 10, 15, 20 or 10, 20, 30 and so on)
because we have done it many times. In other words we have used that
electro-chemical pathway through the brain so often that it’s a smooth
well worn fast passage. Now try counting backwards from 100 by
subtracting 7 at each step as fast as you can – 100, 93, 86, 79 . Not
so fast is it? If you recited this sequence many times each day it
would soon be just as fast as 2, 4, 6, 8 or 5, 10, 15  ect. Soon you
will have worn that electro-chemical pathway through the brain to a
smooth fast process. It is the same with scales and musical phrases in
that much repetition produces smooth fast results. Most music is based
on scales and with lots of practice of these scales sight reading
improves.

 

Chuck

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Apr 23