Let`s face it—practicing scales isn`t much fun. Most pianists see scales, along with arpeggios, as a necessary evil on the road to musical dexterity. On the flip side of the coin, those boring exercises are crucial if you want to be a good pianist or instrumentalist.
Whether you`re a singer, saxophonist, guitarist or keyboard player, technique is vital to your craft. You`ll be glad of those hours of practicing scales and arpeggios when you`re playing hard stuff.
Likewise, if you decide to become a pop or jazz performer, you`ll still need the manual dexterity you acquire by leaning your scales.
There`s no way to avoid them if you want to play really well.
There are, however, things you can do to make practicing scales more entertaining. Here are a few tips to make your scale practicing more endurable and even enjoyable:
- Find some imaginative scale studies to work on. You don`t have to do the same scale exercises day in, day out. There are plenty of creative books on the market today that are geared toward making scale practicing more interesting. Visit a music store or go online and find some new exercise books.
- Make it more exciting by taking your scales all the way up and down. You`ll be panting for breath after the first couple of scales and you`ll feel as if you`ve run a marathon, but it`s good for your muscle memory and adds some excitement to your practicing.
* Set some imaginative and creative goals. Try to play a scale perfectly 10 times in a row, or try to play the scale 20 times in three minutes without making a mistake.
- Practice hands separately and then together (pianists), as this creates a little variety. You can also practice your scales in syncopated rhythms, accenting certain notes. This not only adds interest, but it also helps you build your muscle memory.
- Remind yourself how much the scale practicing is going to help you in some of the repertoire pieces you`re working on. For example, if you`re working on a Bach Prelude and Fugue, you can easily see how much your performance is going to benefit from some intensive scale practicing.
- It’s important to find some books that will make scale practicing a more enjoyable activity, instead of the tedious, boring chore that it can be. With the right choice of exercises and a little imagination on your part, you`ll be amazed how quickly the minutes will fly by as you practice your scales. You`ll also be amazed at the improvement in your playing when you`re working on your repertoire.